Monday, January 23
In/Out, Hot/Cold, Wet/Dry, Over/Under, Near/Far. Beginning at a very young age opposites are a great learning tool. Toddlers learn what wet is because it is the absence of what dry is, and vice versa. Wise Solomon similarly employed the power of opposites throughout the book of Proverbs. Wise/Foolish is the ultimate lesson of contrasts. But in teaching the multitude of differences between wise and foolish numerous pairs of opposing opposites are introduced: joy/grief, diligent/lazy, wealth/poor, love/hatred, nourish/die, choice silver/little value, length to life/years cut short, refuge/ruin, and righteous/wicked. A very clear picture emerges of what is indeed wise and what is not. And with the picture comes a strong desire to find myself more and more camped out on the side of the wise. But how do I do that?
Mouth, lips, words, tongue – it becomes obvious that wisdom is not just for the mind and following God is not just for the heart. Our mouths must play the part, too. Some great verses in Chapter 10 are aimed at the use of the mouth.
10:11 – The mouth of the RIGHTEOUS is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the WICKED.
10:21 – The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.
10:31 – The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out.
10:32 – The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.
And, we not only read of how to use our mouth – there is a helpful reminder when NOT to use it as well . . .
10:19 – When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Dear God – May I use my mouth as a fountain of life that nourishes many – those in my house and in my church, neighborhood, school, social media and employment. May the words I speak (as well as those I chose not to say) give life and point others to you. Help me know when to keep my mouth shut – putting an end to useless arguments, pride, put-downs, harmful dissension, potty mouth, “little white lies”, and big black ones, too. Help me be more intentional about how and when I use my words – that they might draw me closer to you and to becoming what you desire for me.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
God Bless Your Reading,
(Photo credit: http://www.verseoftheday.com/en/09102013/)