The phrase “purified seven times” struck a chord.
The psalmist felt himself to be on the receiving end of someone’s lies or flattery, or someone’s deception or their boasting. People around him were using words to twist the truth a little. God’s words stood in stark contrast – flawless, like silver refined…purified seven times.
I cannot claim that my words are like God’s words. I might give them a cursory thought to make sure they were not dishonest or hurtful (most of the time), but “seven times purified” they are not.
A number of years ago, Joe and I went to Ireland for a week’s holiday. We split our time between Dublin on one side of the country and Galway on the west coast. I enjoy a wee dram of whisky so I made it a point to go on a whisky tasting tour. Joe, being more of a beer man, opted to visit the Guinness distillery.
I wouldn’t say that there is a pleasant haze about that afternoon, but I remember smiling a lot as the afternoon went on. I might have been a little less upright and a little less uptight!
The difference between Scottish and Irish whiskies is in the amount of distilling. Scots distil twice where the Irish distil three times. It all makes for a lighter end result. At the time I hadn’t really put enough work into developing my whisky tongue and training my taste buds so I have to confess that the distinction was lost on me. I know what whiskies I like and which ones I don’t.
There was, apparently, a difference between the twice distilled and the three times distilled.
I wonder whether, just as the trained tongue can tell the differences in the whiskies, whether the ear can tell the difference when it comes to words.
We can, for the most part, distinguish the obvious lies from the less obvious. We can, perhaps tell when we are being flattered and that what is being said to us is not sincere. Most of us know when the wool is being pulled over our eyes.
How many of us seek out “seven times purified” words to share with others? Words without any side, or hidden agenda or strings attached.
When I have the opportunity to use such words, too often I opt for something diluted rather than distilled. I may not cause harm by what I say, neither do I do the good that God intends.
Holy Spirit, distil Your word in me, seven times purified, that the words I speak transform lives – my own, as I speak faith to myself – and the lives of others, as I declare what I know to be true.