Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 10:20 “Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say.”
“A little bird told me,” is usually the bearer of good news when this expression is used today. A little bird often tells of exciting news, birthdays or anniversaries. But for Siegfried’s second act, a little bird tells the main character to steal. And a Norse legend recounts how Sigurd was able to understand what birds were saying. Their message was a warning. Perhaps this expression referred to the use of carrier pigeons bringing messages. I can just imagine the confusion of a non-English speaker learning this phrase!
In our verse for today, there is a negative reference to a bird that overhears and reports your words. How thankful I am to live in a country that protects the right of free speech. But for the believer, free speech needs to be words that one would not mind being repeated in public. Our speech is to be seasoned as it were with salt and full of grace (Col. 4:6). If that were always the case, I would not be ashamed or troubled if overheard.
Our tongues are so difficult to control. James tells us the tongue cannot be tamed without the help of its Creator (James 3:8). What we think about eventually finds its way to our mouths where words do such harm. But if I make the habit of asking the Lord to put a watch over my lips (Ps. 141:3), then I do not have to worry about being overheard. With the Spirit’s control, the words overheard will be gracious and kind, soft and forgiving. Let the birds come and listen!