by Jerry Gentry
"For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent" (Zeph. 3:9).
It is a touching story. Two educated and older Englishmen, both linguists, take an insignificant lower class flower girl and do an experiment. One bets against the other that he can train this low bred guttersnipe, who speaks with an awful, crude drawl, to speak with such high bred grace and purity so as to pass her off as nobility among attendees of a royal ball.
The bet is on, and hours of grueling work begin. The delightful story is portrayed in the classic musical entitled, My Fair Lady. Audrey Hepburn portrays the lowly flower girl. The setting in the late Victorian period. The linguist Henry Higgins puts this crude speaking girl through hour after hour, day after day, week after week, and month after month of grueling training. She speaks into an early recording device with a bell horn, so her words can be replayed for her training. Every technique is tried, even having her talk with her mouth crammed full of marbles. Nothing seems to work. Her ugly sounding twang will not go away. It appears that the experiment will be a failure. . . until, all at once, she catches on to her new language.
"The rain in Spain is mainly in the plain," she repeats over and over into the microphone. When she finally learns her new speech, her coach and his friend rejoice. The experiment proves successful. Even her poor, wretched low bred father ultimately concedes, and gives his permission, with the aid of a small bribe!
A formal ball is coming up, but she must be tested in the real world of high society by attending an afternoon tea. The proper attire is found. She practices her speech incessantly, having been coached on various questions and their proper answers. Soon the day arrives, and this humble flower girl turned nobility dons her lovely formal attire. She is escorted to the afternoon gathering. Her linguist coach and his friend also attend the party and keep close by just in case she gets into trouble.
She speaks with great poise and passes this afternoon test of her linguistic skills. She so captivates her audience that even her mistakes leave her listeners awestruck with her poise and grace. "The rain in Spain is mainly in the plain," she proclaims, to a question about the weather. The party folk laugh in questioned disbelief, wonderment and admiration.
After she returns to the linguist's home, and receives a bit more practice, the formal ball is announced. There she will meet and converse with genuine European royalty. She will be in the presence of the most discerning of ears. If she passes this test, she will, for all practical purposes, be accepted as having a noble birth. Yes, this guttersnipe turned sophisticate will be passed off as a genuine countess without a flaw, all by the application of a new language. The experiment is completely successful. All return home from the ball. The linguist and his friend have a good laugh at what they consider an elaborate and successful caper. By now the lowly flower girl has learned to like her new role of nobility much better than that of low bred flower girl. She has even developed a fondness for her linguistic coach, Henry himself, who is a bachelor, though she is quite offended at his manner. And he is too embarrassed and bashful to admit he has also grown fond of the flower girl. A tiff develops, and the girl runs out, back to the flower market, back to her low bred roots, back to the gutter, but later moves in with her suitor's mother. The romance continues.
It is a touching story, with a happy ending. The educated bachelor linguist and lowly flower girl turned countess, fall in love and marry. But what in the world does this story have to do with what the Bible calls, "a pure language?" Friend, this story illustrates a great Bible truth. This story sums up and illustrates what God, the Master Linguist, is doing among his lowly "guttersnipe" people, Israel, who eventually leave the gutter forever, through learning and application of a pure language.
Without such a language, natural man knows no pure words: "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell" (James 3:6). That is the language of the the lowest gutter, the language of lost Israel, the language of death and hell.
When God found Israel, she was lower than the lowest flower girl, lying in the dirtiest gutter: "And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood" (Ezek. 16:22). Yes, Israel was found as a wretched guttersnipe, without poise, class or noble spirit, with no pure words. From thence, God took her, cleaned her up, clothed her, and as a Master Linguist, He is training her to speak His own pure language. He is teaching her that "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Ps. 12:6). Through application of this pure language, He is training Israel to fulfill a noble, even royal, heritage. He is teaching Israel to "know the certainty of the words of truth" (Prov. 22:21), and that "the words of the pure are pleasant words" (Prov. 15:26). Through grueling hours and days and weeks, months and years, down through time, the LORD God is training this poor wretched sinful guttersnipe people in poise and grace and a pure language, to become the wife of a King, nobility in the truest sense. What a story! What a marvellous picture!
He says: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1Pet. 2:9).
There is a great royal wedding feast coming up, called in Scripture "the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:9). It is only for those who have learned and applied the pure language of the Word of God.
He says: "And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people" (Isa. 51:16).
God, the greatest Master Linguist of all, is putting words of a pure language into the mouths of His disobedient backslidden people Israel. God is teaching Israel to speak the words of a pure language, through conversion of their hearts. And after repentance and genuine conversion of the heart, no person ever speaks the same again. Whatever the dialect, whatever the tongue, it is all the same. That language is the word of God, spoken from the converted heart, as Jesus said, in the pure language of his day, "It is written. . ."
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
"The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
"The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether." (Ps. 19:7-9).
Yes, "the word of God [the only pure language] is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebr. 4:12).
God is working with his lowly people and training us to speak His pure language, the Words of God. These words, for the English speaking world, are found in the King James Bible. When we take His words into our lips, in whatever tongue, we are speaking a pure language. How beautiful! How wonderful! And how awesome, that God, who found His people in the lowest gutter of sin, would patiently work with us and teach us to speak the pure language of His Holy Word, the Holy Bible. As the linguist Henry Higgins patiently taught the lowly flower girl to speak in a noble tongue, thus transforming her life, God is teaching his lowly people Israel to speak in the noble and royal language of the Word of God, thus transforming our lives from the depraved gutter of sin, into royalty: "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father" (Rev. 1:6).
He tells us: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (1Cor. 1:26). Yes, the Israel of God is generally found to be the poor and humble of the world, mostly unschooled in the ways of nobility and royalty. The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God's pure language is true light: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20).
Once we, the Israel of God, are properly cleaned up and schooled in the linguistics of the Word of God, our heritage is awesome, much like that of the lowly guttersnipe flower girl who was transformed into nobility through application of a new language: "And [He] hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:10). Future kings of old were required as part of their training to make their own personal copy of the Holy Law of God. This was part of their training in the Words of God, the only truly pure language that exists. Wise Solomon wrote: "My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments" (Prov. 3:1).
We too today, to fulfill our future role as kings and priests, must be familiar with the law/word of God. It must become our second nature. Holy Scripture must become so readily available to our hearts and lips that in every situation we make immediate application of such pure language, even as Jesus often stated, "It is written. . . " As the lowly flower girl learned to speak in a noble tongue, we too must learn to frame our thoughts into words, through the Word of God. We must learn to be "swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19) in our daily speech.
Will you, brother and sister, learn to speak a pure language? If so, you will read and heed, imbibe and memorize, speak and apply the words of the King James Bible (or its equivalent in a language besides English). "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matt 12:24). You will remove from your lips the words of humanism and vanity. Anyone can speak the natural language of the world. But if you will memorize and speak the Words of God as found in the Holy Bible, you will thereby learn and apply a pure language.