Dr. Donald J. Ralston

Significant Words

(Prov. 12:18; 17:27;18:21)

I. We saw last Sunday that we must give spoken words of blessing to our loved ones

A. Those words must have great value attached to them

1. To value something means to attach great importance to it

2. This is at the very heart of the concept of blessing

3. Anytime we bless someone we are attaching high value to them

B. Every person needs to feel they are of value - we sometimes call this self esteem

1. We need to be blessed to feel truly loved to be secure about ourselves

2. In the Old Testament the fathers blessing gave the feeling of worth (Gen. 27:27-28)

C. Consider the words that Isaac spoke to Jacob

1. The smell of my son is like the smell of a field

2. Let peoples serve you and nations bow to you

3. Isaac was picturing his son as a person of prominence someone others would respect

4. He attached words of significance and great value to his son

5. What a contrast to modern words - hey bone head, knucklehead, meathead, you are good for nothing and will amount to nothing

6. We can use words of blessing or words of cursing - do you see the difference

I. Words of praise should not be limited to performance

A. Some children hear an occasional word of praise but only if they perform well on a certain task

1. If words of praise are only linked to a child performance they lose much of their impact

2. Try to find some picturesque words to describe their value to you. Throughout the Scriptures, word pictures are used to describe that valued person

B. Jacob used these verbal pictures to describe each son.

1. Jacob is a lions cub (Gen. 49:9), a lion portrays strength and is also a symbol of royalty in the near East

2. The leadership qualities of strength and dignity were illustrated in this picture of a lion

C. Naphatali is a doe let loose. A doe is a picture of grace and beauty. It was also a gentile animal.

1. Jacob wanted to show the artistic qualities his son possessed

2. He was probably a person who spoke and wrote beautiful words. He might have been an excellent athlete

D. Joseph is like a fruitful bough

1. He became a refuge for his family, the lived because of his provision

2. Indeed Joseph was a fruitful bough, he saved the entire section of his world from starvation.

II. The Song of Solomon is filled with word pictures

A. In that book, a loving couple praise each other using word pictures; do you know how many times they use these word pictures in just 8 short chapters - over 80 times

1. They both wanted to communicate the value and importance of the other

2. On their wedding night, seven times Solomon extols the beauty of his bride

3. Just to use one of 4:1 he begins to praise her by saying, "Behold, you are fair my love, you have dove=s eyes behind your veil."

B. Solomon seeks to capture some character trait physical attribute by using some everyday object

1. Doves eyes would picture to her mind the tenderness and gentleness of this lovely bird

2. Every time she would see a dove it would remind her of how her husband viewed her and valued her

C. Let me illustrate how one family used objects and pictures to describe their love for their daughter.

1. Nancy was born near Christmas day. As she grew up her parents told her as this time of the year approached that she was God's special gift to them.

2. Each Christmas for now over 30 years they sent her a small package addressed from Jesus to Nancy=s parent

3. Each year, Nancy would open that small package inside was Nancy=s baby picture, she was Jesus special gift

D. Here is Nancy's feelings about that yearly gift.

1. She says, "Once on my 30th birthday I was really struggling with getting older and I didn't feel very special

2. When I was at my lowest, I received a package from my parents. Inside was my baby picture with a note as to how special I am.

3. I always knew that I was special to them but that day I really needed to know I was special for I certainly didn't feel special

4. It wasn't even Christmas but reading again that I was special, even on my 30th birthday filled my heart with love and warmth."

III. Finally, word pictures point out a person=s potential

A. Proper word pictures can help develop good traits in people

1. Poor word pictures produce the opposite

2. To illustrate, we should nickname people in a proper fashion. Nicknames like Buster, Terror, Iron Head, Cross eyed and the like produce qualities that are detrimental to proper emotional balance

3. Nicknames can produce insecurity and hostility or they can produce character and strength

B. People tend to become what we say they are

1. Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter (a rock)

2. Before Jesus exercised faith in him, Peter was anything but a rock

3. He didn't act like a rock of stability and strength when he denied Jesus on three separate occasions

4. But Jesus believed in him and he became a person of great strength and character

C. A lady who was divorced and seeking to rear two young children sought to get her college degree, she found herself ready to give up

1. But her dad would say, "Jenny, you are a rock of Gibraltar

2. You'll make it, don't give up, I know you will succeed."

3. She said, "I didn't feel like a rock at that time, my whole world seemed to be caving in

4. But it helped me so much to know that he pictured me as a rock, it gave me the hope that I could make it."

D. We can give this hope to our sons and daughters, to our wives and husbands. Remember, a picture is worth 1,000 words