Having lived in Florida nearly 30 years, I have learned a lot about sunshine, clouds, wind and rain. Living near the coast, clouds often approach our home from the Gulf of Mexico and the promise of rain usually follows. There are times; however, when dark, foreboding clouds approach only to dissipate with ne’er a drop of rain.
In Proverbs 25:14, Solomon uses clouds and wind that fail to deliver rain as an analogy for self-promoters.
Proverbs 25:14 – “Whoso boasteth [praise; commend; celebrates] himself of a false [lie; deceit] gift [unable to deliver or make good on a promise] is like clouds and wind without rain.”
The lives of many men and women are like “clouds and wind without rain”. They are “empty drums”— making a lot of noise, but their lives are a vacuum between two skins. Social media sites have given a lot of “empty drums” a platform to boast and invite others to “like” their assertions. I sometimes wonder the amount of time Facebook enthusiasts spend posting “selfies”, announcing plans and boasting accomplishments, only to wait and see how many “likes” they will achieve that day! The truth be told, a lot of Christians are living for the “likes” of their friends and have forgotten Paul’s admonition to the Christians in Corinth:
2 Corinthians 10:12 – “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
Addressing the tongue, Solomon reminds us that the same tongue that can injure and maim can also entreat and encourage.
Proverbs 25:15 – “By long forbearing [slow to anger; exercising grace] is a prince persuaded, and a soft [tender] tongue [word] breaketh the bone [lit. break or shatter self or strength].”
This proverb is a classic reminder that we would do well to learn the art of “biting the tongue”. Too many Christians “wag their tongues” and are equal opportunist when it comes to injuring and destroying others. Solomon invites us to consider the tongue’s powerful influence when employed to entreat an authority. He reminds us that tender words are powerful enough to break a heart and break down a wall of pride.