Scripture reading – Proverbs 18; Proverbs 19
Our chronological journey through the Word of God continues with today’s Scripture reading, Proverbs 18 and 19. Once again, I will limit my focus to one or two proverbs from each chapter.
Proverbs 18 – “Be Careful with Your Words, You Don’t Want to Eat Crow!”
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 as “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 proverb that the tongue has the potential to bless and destroy.
Proverbs 18:20 – “A man’s belly [body; bosom; stomach] shall be satisfied [filled; nourished] with the fruit [reward] 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 words and acts of kindness also have the mutual benefit of resonating in the heart of the one who speaks them (Proverbs 18:20). What a delight to know that comforting, reassuring words inevitably nourish and satisfy the soul of the one who expresses them!
In contrast with the delight of kind and encouraging words (Proverbs 18:20) are words that discourage and wreak havoc in another’s life (Proverbs 18:21). Solomon warned his son:
Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power [hand; authority] of the tongue [speech; communication]: and they that love it [threatening, angry words] 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 (Proverbs 18:21).
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.” I like that last thought, don’t you?
Jesus warned His disciples, “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.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
Life would be better if we learned that sometimes it’s better not to speak at all!
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
Proverbs 19 – A Call for Restraint in a Day of Road Rage
I will limit our Bible study in Proverbs 19 to verses 11-12.
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] a transgression [another man’s sin, trespass].”
Proverbs 19:11 runs contrary to our day’s conventional wisdom and practice, 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 by another’s angry response.
In other words, a wise man will follow the policy, “Act, Don’t React.” He will reign in his emotions and bridle his tongue! I have learned that rather than appeasing anger, untimely words often inflame an already volatile, combative individual (Proverbs 17:20; Proverbs 21:23; James 3:5-6).
A person of wisdom and goodwill does not respond in kind or manner when provoked. It is indeed the honor and glory of good men to overlook the sinful ways and words of another (Proverbs 19:11b).
Continuing the lesson on deflecting an angry man’s propensity, we close with a consideration of how wise men approach and court the favor of a leader.
Proverbs 19:12 – “The king’s wrath [rage; indignation] is as the roaring [growl] of a lion; but his [the king’s] favour [goodwill] is as dew upon the grass.”
Like the roaring of a lion, the wrath of a king provokes fear and anxiety; however, his pleasure refreshes and encourages the soul like the morning dew on the grass (Proverbs 19:12). Understanding the power of executing judgment or the pleasure of extending a blessing, rests in the hands of a leader. The wise approach leaders with humility and exercise discretion.
Paul’s counsel to believers was for them to “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (Romans 13:7).
Closing thoughts –
Perhaps today’s Bible study can be summed up in this:
Bite your tongue when tempted to be hasty with your words; knowing a little discretion can save you from a lot of heartache.
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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