July 05, 2020 | Books of the Bible | Proverbs by Jamie O'Brien
"The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook" (Proverbs 18:4, NASB).
In this passage, Solomon echoes the teaching of his father David, "Set a watch, O LORD, over my mouth; keep the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3). It also brings to mind the words of Jesus as He rebuked the Pharisees: "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt. 12:34). Centuries after Proverbs, James also would write about the power of our words (James 3:1-18). Some things don't change. Our words and actions demonstrate what's going on inside. Our hearts are laid bare by our actions and the words we speak.
Our words have the power to build up or tear down (Eph. 4:29). The mouth and the heart are connected (Matt. 12:34). Before salvation, we lived in spiritual death (Eph. 2:1-3), and our speech was worthless. But as Christians, our speech should change. The apostle Paul certainly knew the difference, for when he was an unsaved rabbi, he was "breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1); but when he trusted in Christ, a change took place: "And he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God" (Acts 9:20).
Proverbs 18 continues to draw a sharp contrast between the righteous and the wicked. In verses 1-13, Solomon describes the speech of the foolish as bringing strife, ruin, a snare, folly, and shame. To remedy this, we fill our hearts with Christ's love so that our speech is filled with His purity, truth, and blessing. Paul tells us, "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one" (Col. 4:6).
- In verse 4, to what does Solomon compare our speech and wisdom? Explain.
- According to verses 6-7, what errors does the fool make with his speech? Why is this true? What are the consequences?
- Pray that our actions and words would always administer grace and help draw others to Christ.
- Pray that God would grant us wisdom so that we would sow in peace the fruit of righteousness.