Right words, right time

OPENING PRAYER

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord” (Psa. 19:14).

 

Read: PROVERBS 25:1-28

[1] These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:  [2] It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.  [3] As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.  [4] Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel;  [5]remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.  [6] Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men;  [7] it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before his nobles. What you have seen with your eyes  [8] do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?  [9] If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another’s confidence,  [10] or the one who hears it may shame you and the charge against you will stand.  [11] Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given.  [12] Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.  [13] Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.  [14] Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of gifts never given.  [15] Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.  [16] If you find honey, eat just enough- too much of it, and you will vomit.  [17] Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house- too much of you, and they will hate you.  [18] Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.  [19] Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.  [20] Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.  [21] If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.  [22] In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.  [23] Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue-which provokes a horrified look.  [24] Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.  [25] Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.  [26]Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.  [27] It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.  [28] Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Reflect: WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THE TONGUE IS COMPARED TO?

 Much of today’s reading is about speaking appropriately. A king has the right to speak with confidence and authority, but a man who speaks presumptuously humiliates himself (6,7). Boasting, arguing aggressively for one’s rights and false witness are examples of unprofitable speech (8–10,14,18). A quarrelsome wife comes in for wry censure (24), as well as one who is irritatingly cheerful, insensitively singing when someone is heavy-hearted (20)! A bad tooth, a lame foot or stinging vinegar all describe insensitive and inappropriate speech (19,20). On the other hand, the right word can be soothing and refreshing, like cold water to a thirsty soul (13,25). This passage is also about the dangers of excess: too much honey, too much visiting, too much talking! I am one of those people known as “external processors,” i.e., I tend to arrive at decisions by doing my thinking in conversation, rather than by carefully considering. It’s not always bad, but it can betray a lack of discernment and quietness of mind. “Empty vessels make the most noise!” my teacher used to say. “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45). What is in your heart? If it is full of God’s Word, then what you say will be wise and profitable.

 

APPLY

The tongue is dangerous! Read James 3:3–12 and consider how you are doing.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Father of life, may I speak life or stay silent.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.