“Be Careful, You Don’t Want to Eat Crow!” (Proverbs 18:20-21)
The tongue, that little member in your mouth, is an instrument few men or women can harness and control (James 3:3-5). James observed, “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity” (James 3:6). David described the tongue “like a sharp razor” (Psalm 52:2-4), “a serpent” (Psalm 140:3) and “a sharp sword” (Psalm 57:4). Such is the power and influence of the tongue; its utterances have the power of life and death, blessing and cursing!
Perhaps reflecting on his father’s wisdom, Solomon states in his own proverb the fact that the tongue has the power to bless and destroy.
Proverbs 18:20 – “A man’s belly [body; bosom; stomach] shall be satisfied [filled; nourished] with the fruit [reward; earnings] of his mouth [speech]; and with the increase [gain; produce] of his lips shall he be filled [satisfied; nourished].”
When words are used righteously, they affirm, express love, edify, and comfort. Those same words, and acts of kindness, have the mutual benefit of resonating in the heart of the one who expresses them (18:20). What a delight, to know comforting, reassuring words will inevitably nourish and satisfy the soul of the one who expresses them.
Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power [hand; authority] of the tongue [speech; verbal communication]: and they that love [like; having a strong emotional attachment] it [tongue] shall eat [devour; consume] the fruit [reward; price] thereof.”
It is sport for the wicked to slander and malign a good man’s character.; however, be forewarned: The wicked eventually eat the “fruit,” and bear the consequences of their own words (18:21).
Closing thoughts – Someone has said, “A bit of love is the only bit that will put a bridle on the tongue.” Another has observed, “Some people speak from experience. Others, from experience, don’t speak.”
Matthew 12:36-37 – “But I say unto you, That every idle [useless; unfruitful] word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith
“A Call for Restraint in a Day of Road Rage” (Proverbs 19:11)
Proverbs 19:11 – “The discretion [prudence; wisdom; discernment] of a man deferreth [i.e., patience; prolong; outlive] his anger [wrath]; and it is his [the patient man’s] glory [honor; beauty; pride] to pass over [overlook; pass on] a transgression [another man’s sin, trespass, rebellion].”
Proverbs 19:11 certainly runs contrary to the conventional wisdom of our day that is characterized by road rage, unprovoked attacks, and the ruthless demand for revenge and “a pound of flesh.” Solomon challenged his son to exercise discretion when provoked, and to show restraint when challenged with an angry reaction.
A wise man follows the policy, “Act, Don’t React,” and that is especially true when it comes to reining in one’s emotions, and bridling the tongue! Rather than appeasing anger, words often inflame an already volatile, combative situation (Proverbs 17:20; 21:23; James 3:5-6).
Wisdom and goodwill do not respond in kind, or manner when provoked. It is the honor and glory of good men to overlook the sinful ways of another (19:11b).
Proverbs 19:12 – “The king’s wrath [rage; indignation] is as the roaring [growl] of a lion; but his [the king’s] favour [delight; goodwill; pleasure] is as dew upon the grass.”
Like the roaring of a lion, the wrath of a king will provoke fear and anxiety; however, his pleasure refreshes and encourages the soul like the morning dew on the grass (19:12). Knowing the power of executing a judgment or the pleasure of extending a blessing, rests in the hands of a leader, the wise approach them with humility, and discretion.
Romans 13:7 – Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith