A 19th century childhood rhyme goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That rhyme puts a brave face on a false hope—that name-calling does not hurt! Words do hurt, perhaps not giving rise to physical retaliation; however, name-calling and taunts do leave scars that can last a lifetime. Words are powerful tools for good and evil.
Our devotional today gives us a contrast between the words and ways of the wicked contrasted with those of the righteous.
Proverbs 12:6-7 – “The words of the wicked[lawless] are to lie in wait for blood[the lawless seek to ambush the innocent; set a trap]: but the mouth[words; counsel] of the upright shall deliver them[rescue the innocent from trouble].7 The wicked[lawless] are overthrown, and are not [wiped away; wiped out; cut off]: but the house [household] of the righteous shall stand.”
Proverbs 12:6 exposes the force of words that hurt and maim the soul. The wicked employ words that are vindictive and provoking or subtle and charming; however, their end is the same—“to lie in wait for blood” (12:7). The wicked employ words that slander and libel a good man’s reputation. They can, with cunning and flattering lips, draw the innocent into their confidence only to spring a trap that hurts and maims ones life and testimony.
The upright are without guile; with their words they offer counsel and exhortations that, if heeded, can deliver the innocent from trouble.
Proverbs 12:7 continues the contrast of the wicked and the upright by noting the effect their life has on their family and loved ones. The household of the wicked is soon cut off—their bloodline and lineage often coming to a swift and bitter end. The righteous has built his life and established his household on a sure foundation—that Rock is Jesus Christ.
Jesus taught His disciples that a foolish man hears God’s Truth and refuses to heed it; but the wise man hears God’s Truth and obeys it (Matthew 7:24-27). The foolish man builds his life on the unstable sands of human reasoning and worldly philosophy; the wise man builds his life on the sure foundation that is God’s Word.
Are you numbered among the wicked whose words are provocative and full of hate and bitterness? Or are your words and conversation sincere, full of wisdom and truth?
Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”