Read: Proverbs 12-15
Four chapters in Proverbs — that’s a lot of content! Half of the 111 verses center on the themes of those who are wicked, foolish or those that lie or use their words recklessly. In at least 24 verses righteousness is compared to wickedness; foolish vs wise accounts for another 22 verses and the deceitful, lying, reckless, unkind, perverse or harsh words from the mouth appear 13 times.
So, if I’m wondering if I am acting like a fool, wicked or my words have turned evil, these are the verses to test my heart.
One thought occurs to me as I read this morning: Have I become so accustom to the wisdom of proverbs that I believe everyone agrees with this as wisdom? Those who have not been raised on biblical truths may not agree, but not because they are evil; rather, they have simply not been taught. It’s been years since prayer was erased from schools and the Ten Commandments removed from walls of justice in many places. Many have not heard the Gospel, that is true. How many have created their own set of proverbs?
The importance of internalizing these truths cannot be understated, yet at the same time we cannot expect those who are far from God to appreciate these as absolute truth. Does that make sense? Our language, our lexicon, is different from the world’s. Lord help me to fully understand your words here and give me wisdom to see how to move those outside the faith toward Your truth.
A corollary thought is interesting as well: many who are not Christians would agree with these words, so they can become a solid bridge to build a relationship with. For example,
Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
You don’t have to be a Christ-follower to agree with that statement. There are many proverbs that fall into this category and there are many societal norms that do not! Lord, sharpen my mind and ears to know and hear the difference between your words of wisdom and that of the world that leads people astray.
I’m not going to exposit each of the thematic verses on wicked, fools and the tongue here, they are plain to see. Take note of these prevailing thoughts as you read these chapters and look for ways to use this wisdom as a witness for the Gospel, as ambassadors of Christ in a world that has created its own standards.
What verses speak to you today? Holy Spirit, highlight the words I need to hear.
Better a little with the fear of the Lord
than great wealth with turmoil.
Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred.
Lord, make me content with what is before me. Keep reckless words far from my thoughts and completely out of my mouth! May my words be gentle, yet truthful; full of knowledge and kind; soothing and warm. This world is so full of the opposite. Let us be a people of remarkable kindness and genuine love.