Empty Words

Exodus 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

On the surface this seems to be very elementary – don’t give a false report against anyone. However, if we consider who is speaking and who is spoken to, it leads us to something a little more profound. The speaker is Moses. And, of course, we understand that he is speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. So, we can actually say that it is God speaking. Next, we consider to whom God is speaking. He is speaking to the children of Israel, and they are a covenant people. God made a covenant with Abraham and it was renewed with Isaac and Jacob and continued down upon the children of Israel as the seed of Abraham. So they are a covenant people in covenant with God. Also, they are a redeemed people because God redeemed them by bringing them out from under the bondage of Egypt. They are, in fact, the people of God - the Old Testament Church. Now, we could understand why it might be necessary to tell the Canaanites not to give a false report against anyone, but God’s people should already understand that.

Next, we want to consider this Word from God a little further. Since it is God’s Word, that which is spoken carries His nature and is eternal. Since it is eternal, it is a true Word for God’s people in any age. Therefore, this verse of Scripture can be transferred to the age of the New Testament and the Kingdom of God. This means there is New Testament and Kingdom teaching in it. In fact, every passage of Scripture in the Old Testament has hidden within it a Word for New Testament Christians. Think about it! The Bible is God’s book for all of His people in every age. It is an eternal Word that never dies.

With all that being said we accept the fact that there is some New Testament truth or Kingdom principle hidden in this first verse of Exodus chapter 23. Hidden truth is often found by checking the original language of the Hebrew; understanding Bible symbolism is also very important. But whatever method you take it has to be under the direction of the Holy Spirit – He is the Teacher. It is His responsibility to lead us into all truth (John 16:12-15). That is not as simple as it may sound, though. First, you have to receive the Holy Spirit into your spirit. Then you have to learn how to be led and taught by the Spirit. And that means you have to learn how to receive with your spirit. He doesn’t communicate to your physical body or your soul. He communicates to your spirit.

As I look at our verse of Scripture, the first thing that is highlighted to me is the term “false report.” Looking up the Hebrew word for “false,” I find that it more literally means “empty.” So, God is saying that we should not give an “empty report.” An empty report is made up of empty words. The Holy Spirit has taught us that empty words do not remain empty; they are carriers of spirit – good or bad. That is why God chose the “foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Corinthians 1:21). His Word carries His nature. Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4). When we speak the Word we are transferring the presence of the Lord to those who are able to hear and receive. Jesus spoke about this principle of words as carriers in the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks – What is in the heart rides on the words spoken. Words are carriers!

Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

The Lord Jesus speaks here of a good man and an evil man. Let’s first look at the good man: Matthew 19:17 says that there is none good but One, that is, God. So, we understand that the “good man” is the godly man – the one who has Christ in his heart. Christ is the good treasure in his heart, and when the good man speaks his words are freighted with the good things of Christ. The evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and when he speaks his words are freighted with evil things.

Matthew 12:36-37 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.

Is it possible for a person to not have a good (godly) treasure or an evil treasure in his heart? Obviously so, for now the Lord speaks of idle words. The Greek word for “idle” is argos, which means “inactive” or “unemployed.” In other words, the words are empty; they are not actively carrying a load of any kind. Yet, Jesus says that men will give an account for every idle or empty word. Why is that? It is because empty words do not remain empty. Empty words can be filled quite rapidly. Demonic spirits are constantly looking for empty words that can carry them to their desired destination. Jesus told the story of how an unclean spirit, after being cast out, wandered about looking for a place of rest. When he found his previous house empty, he immediately went in and took others with him (Matthew 12:43-45). Empty words like the empty house will not remain empty. Now, we can understand why Moses told the children of Israel to not give a false (empty) report.

Exodus 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

Romans 3:10 says, There is none righteous, no, not one. The Lord Himself is our righteousness. The good treasure of His presence in our hearts is our righteousness. A report freighted with His presence is a righteous witness. One who gives an empty report is an unrighteous witness. If one speaks empty words, then he puts his hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. The hand represents ministry. The empty words do not remain empty. They become carriers of demonic spirits and the result is an unrighteous witness. The empty words provided a ministry of wickedness. Thus, we see how a verse of Scripture from the Old Testament that seems quite elementary on the surface holds an important principle for us in this day. Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

Copyright © 2002 by Henry DuBose