Proverbs 20:19-22 – Wagging tongues and worthless sons

gossippingToday’s proverbs address two very different themes, but both impart a wisdom that are truths if heeded can spare a man or woman a life of heartache.

Proverbs 20:19 – “He that goeth about [walk; behave] as a talebearer [slanderer] revealeth [uncover; discloses; publishes] secrets [counsel; confidential plans; a conversation among friends]: therefore meddle [intermix; engage; become surety] not with him that flattereth [persuade; entice; deceive] with his lips [language; speech].”

Proverbs 20:10 is a warning concerning a cancer that destroys families, friendships, churches and institutions—that cancer is the sins of gossip, slander and flattery.  Talebearers are alive and active in our churches and some reading today’s devotion are guilty of this sin while many others have violated Solomon’s admonition to his son—“meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips”!

There are many who win friendships with flatteries, but are also busy with their lips destroying good men and women by breaking the trust and confidentiality of others.  After 36 years of ministry I am certain I can number on one hand those Christians who had enough integrity to confess they had failed my trust and violated God’s Law: Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people…” (Leviticus 19:16). Gossip hurts the church Too many Christians live like the young women Paul challenged Timothy to confront in the church in Ephesus: “…they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle [inactive; lazy], but tattlers [idle talkers; babblers] also and busybodies [meddling in another’s affairs], speaking things which they ought not [should not; unnecessarily said].”

Consider this thought: How much have you said or listened to that were things that should have never been spoken?

Proverbs 20:20-21 returns to a familiar theme concerning the foolishness of rebellious sons and daughters and the calamity that marks the life of a fool.

Proverbs 20:20 – “Whoso curseth [slight; despise; dishonor] his father or his mother, his lamp [light; fire] shall be put out [extinguished; quenches; consumed] in obscure [black; i.e. pupil of eye] darkness [misery; destruction].”

The youth of our day are pictured in this proverb.  It is my opinion that the majority of 21st century parents are failing to instruct, correct and impart to their sons and daughters moral values that will serve as spiritual guideposts in life.  Too many parents indulge their children’s every whim and fail to instill in them spiritual principles that can set their course and affections on the eternal.

rebel daughterParents who choose to serve as their children’s enablers will, rather than be the object of their affection, inevitably suffer the curses and rejection of spoiled brats.  Rather than value all they were given, those sons and daughters often die young and in obscurity.

Exodus 21:17“And he that curseth [trifle; treat lightly; despise] his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”

Leviticus 20:9“For every one that curseth [trifle; treat lightly; despise] his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.”

Our third proverb addresses those who, in their youth, have the “misfortune” of coming into a fortune before they have the character or maturity to manage what they were given.

Proverbs 20:21 – “An inheritance may be gotten hastily [gotten by greed] at the beginning [first; early]; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.”

I have seen too many parents become victims of a foolish son or daughter’s greed.  Like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11), there are sons and daughters who are ruled by greed and covetousness.  Lacking the character and wisdom to value the blessing and responsibility of riches, they waste what they were given and it eventually belongs to others.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith