By Norma Sarvis in Jerusalem
A Decade for Declaration
As we are approaching Rosh Hashanah at the end of September, I began to think about the new decade. During the past ten years (5770-5779 in the Hebrew calendar), the number for each of the years ended in the 70’s. In the Hebrew letter-number system, “70” is represented by the letter ע. This letter is called ayin, and it is one of several letters in the Hebrew alphabet whose spelling and pronunciation happen also to correspond to a Hebrew word. Besides spelling the 17thletter of the Hebrew alphabet, Ayin also spells the Hebrew word for ‘eye.’ And so, throughout the past ten years our minds have been repeatedly reminded, continually drawn to the importance, the necessity, of seeing—of looking with heavenly vision. “In Your Light, we see light” (Psalm 36:9).
Now, remarkably, we find ourselves on the brink of a new decade whose number also happens to spell a word! On the last day of September we will shift into the Hebrew year 5780, beginning a “decade of 80’s.” The Hebrew letter for “80” is פ – pronounced peh. Besides spelling the 18th letter of the alphabet, peh is also the Hebrew word for mouth! And so, in just over a month, we will move from a decade which drew attention to the eye, into ten years of awakening an awareness of the mouth!
I felt the Lord saying that this will be a decade of ‘declaration’: Declaration over ourselves, over our families, our churches, our nations, our neighbors. What we declare with our mouths, what we speak, what we say, will be key for victory and for advancing the Kingdom.
Here are some ways that these declarations may work:
YOUR MOUTH, YOUR DECLARATIONS HELP YOU RECEIVE YOUR INHERITANCE FROM THE LORD
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
The Hebrew word used here for “meditate” is hagah, which means literally, “to utter— to murmur, mutter, to make a sound (it can even mean “to moan” or “to growl”!). Joshua was instructed to implement non-stop speaking (declaring) of truth as he prepared to possess what God had already given through promise. God told Joshua that the Word should not depart from his mouth—not only his heart, his peh—his mouth! Joshua’s mouth must continually be speaking or murmuring the word of the Torah—divine instruction! For then would his way be prosperous, and then he would have success!
Psalm 1:2 uses this word in the same way regarding the man who walks in God’s blessing: “But his delight is in the law (Hebrew: torah—“instruction”) of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season…whatever he does, he prospers.” The righteous man or woman speaks God’s law night and day. He does not just read it or study it. He speaks it aloud! There is power in this! Our declarations help secure our inheritance. *
DECLARATION CAN SHIFT OUR EMOTIONS
Whether we are aware of it or not, we do self-talk in our heads almost continually. Even secular psychology notes that self-talk impacts our emotions. As Elizabeth Scott, a wellness coach, recently wrote, “Negative self-talk can affect us in some pretty damaging ways. Studies have linked negative self-talk with higher levels of stress and lower levels of self-esteem. This can lead to decreased motivation as well as greater feelings of helplessness. This type of critical inner dialogue has even been linked to depression, so it’s definitely something to fix.” (verywellmind.com , June 23, 2019)
Have you ever woken up and said to yourself: “Oh I am so tired, I am not sure I can make it today.” Or, “Oh, I do not want to go to work today!”; or perhaps, “I have so much to do. I don’t know what to focus on!” The Word of God says this: “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25) And Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our spoken prayers, salted with thanksgiving guard, not only our hearts, but our minds. We need to discipline ourselves so that our self-talk is filled with the Word of God. In this season of peh, pay attention to all that you are speaking over yourself. Declare His love and goodness and hope over your life as you walk through each day!
DECLARATION CAN LITERALLY HAVE POWER FOR LIFE OR DEATH.
“From the fruit of the mouth one’s stomach is satisfied; the yield of the lips brings satisfaction. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:20-21 NRSV).
Our tongue has power to release God’s life wherever we are. Whether conscious declaration of His Word of truth, or through words issuing forth as expressions of your hearts, as God’s children, we have the capacity to “speak” life! Even our actions have the power to combine with our words in speaking His life!
A number of years ago, Martin and I took in a troubled Israeli youth. God led us in walking with him through a difficult, sometimes very dangerous season in his life, one which on occasion involved accompanying him to court. He is now walking in the light and victory of Yeshua! After my first Bat Tzion women’s conference in 2017, I received an email from the woman who had been his lawyer during those difficult years. She also happened to be a Messianic Believer. She wrote that for years, because of wounds and hurt, she had distanced herself from the Body of Messiah in the Land. But when she had read the flyer advertising the conference, and saw that I was the organizer, she felt to go—because she had watched me and listened through the years with this young man, whenever we went to court, and when we interacted about his life. I had never spoken to her specifically about faith or Yeshua. We had only conversed with and about him in practical and legal ways. Yet my actions with my mouth had ‘spoken’ to her very loudly, and she came to the conference and her heart shifted!
I love Psalm 40:3: “He has put a new song in my mouth; praise to our God, many will see it and fear and trust the Lord.”
Many will SEE our praise and fear and trust the Lord. Our mouth reflects our heart. Therefore, our mouth brings life to those around us!
In this decade of peh, let us pay attention to our mouths and receive our inheritance, shift our emotions and bring life to those around us!
“Also my tongue shall utter your righteousness all day long…”
*It is worth noticing that the same word hagah is used a few verses later in Psalm 2:1, which addresses nations being in an uproar, and
“the peoples imagine (KJV); plot (ESV, NIV, NRSV); devise (NASB); a vain thing.” Our enemy is also meditating on, murmuring, speaking forth his plans for evil. But they are ultimately based on emptiness. The words of the Lord are substance!
Note: Perhaps the two Biblical books which have most to say about guarding our Mouth are Proverbs and the New Covenant letter of James. It is interesting that while, as mentioned above, the verb form of the Hebrew root hagah mentioned above means “to meditate”, “to audibly murmer”, etc., the noun form of this word may refer to the rudder of a ship. In James 3:4-5, the tongue also is likened to the rudder on a ship!