In English idioms, we say “too many cooks spoil the broth” and “many hands make light work”. They are opposites that are nonetheless both true in different contexts. Similarly, this proverb is just as true as the one that says that even a fool is considered wise if he holds his tongue!
Some people are naturally very chatty. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but “when words are many, transgression isn’t lacking”. In other words, the more you speak, the more likely you are to “put your foot in it” so to speak.
We talk about “digging holes for ourselves” if we speak badly. People may challenge us to “put our money where our mouths are” if we make empty boasts. So our tongues can get us into all sorts of trouble. “Wars of words” can spill out into physical violence.
So Solomon urges restraint, not necessarily silence. He would only have us speak to deconstruct negativity and to build up positively. And what is positive and negative is defined by God.
“God Almighty, may we speak only with positivity as our aim, even if we’re seeking to be negative about negativity. May our mouths and hearts be defined by You and Your words, for Your glory, amen”
The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.
Shamefully, this proverb seems to describe British cultural traits. Brits may be renowned for being polite, but that often masks a bad attitude. We might be nice to your face, but nasty behind your back.
As far as Solomon is concerned, if we’re insincere in our niceness and are nasty at heart, we have lying lips. We are guilty of breaking the law of God. We deserve the punishment of God for our hateful hearts and lying lips.
Slander is spreading bad rumours about someone, which may or may not be true, but which shouldn’t be shared. It is what the tabloid press in the UK is built upon. Gossip sells newspapers, magazines, and clicks on Internet sites.
But as Solomon says, whoever utters slander is a fool. From a purely utilitarian point of view, slanderers often get a taste of their own medicine and get slandered themselves. But even if that’s not the case, it’s still foolish and wrong to slander.
Dear Lord, please forgive us for hateful hearts, lying lips, slanderous tongues and foolish heads. May we be washed in the blood of Christ from these things, in His name, amen”
Heeding instruction is easier said than done. It’s hard to admit that we need instruction. We’d much rather be self taught than to have to be taught ourselves.
If we are teachable though, we’re on the path to life. If you are going to end up in heaven, you’re going to have to learn. Know-it-alls aren’t going to make it into the new creation.
If you reject reproof, it’s not just you that suffers. It’s very hard to admit fault and to take even constructive criticism. But it’s essential in order to keep on the right track to react well to rebukes.
If we refuse to acknowledge our flaws, other people think they can deny and get away with their own transgressions. If we stray from the right path, others are going to assume they can do the same. It’s like a vicious circle.
“Yahweh, help us to pay attention to Your word’s teaching and rebuke. Don’t let us be so precious that we can’t take advice. Please keep us on the right track, in Jesus’ name”
Originally posted at http://www.roberlain.wordpress.com – Watching Daily At Wisdom’s Gates
The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.
This verse is like an old testament shadow of Romans 6:23. That verse says that the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It’s Jesus whose righteous life earns eternal life for us.
The only wages we earn is death for the sin that defines our lives. But because Christ is free from sin, in Him we too are freed from eternal death and gain eternal life instead. He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree. He died so that we might live.
The wicked might gain by swindling and cheating their way into a fortune, or a comfortable life without working for it. But ultimately, they will be judged and condemned to hell if they don’t repent. It’s too much of a gamble to selfishly try and have an easy life.
The righteous on the other hand do have a reward. Those who trust in the righteousness of Christ are rewarded with eternal life, and when we are judged, we will be commended for seeking to honour our Lord in our lives. It’s worth the hardship of this life for an eternity of bliss.
“Lord, help us to trust in You for our righteousness, and so to recieve eternal life. Forgive us for our sins which would only lead to death if we didn’t repent. In Christ’s name, amen”
Originally posted at http://www.roberlain.wordpress.com – Watching Daily At Wisdom’s Gates
A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
This proverb is a truism, something that’s so obvious that unless it was written here, it would almost go unsaid. The wealth of a rich man is like a strong, fortified city. They say there’s safety in numbers, and it applies to currency as well as people.
There is a measure of security in a big bank balance. But elsewhere in the Bible we’re told not to put our confidence in riches, instead to trust in the Lord. Riches can be lost, the Lord never can.
It goes without saying, but the poverty of the poor is their ruin. Elsewhere, Solomon comments that while the rich have plenty of fairweather friends, the poor are left to fend for themselves. However, Jesus said that spiritually, the poor are blessed, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We need to acknowledge our spiritual poverty, and the ruin of condemnation that we deserve first of all. Only then can we come to know the riches of spiritual blessings that God lavishes upon those who trust in Him. God doesn’t promise health, wealth and happiness to His faithful, but He does promise Himself, a far richer inheritance that never spoils or fades.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of coming to realise our spiritual poverty, because only then can we inherit the perfection of Your heavenly kingdom. Please help us to trust in You rather than wealth, in Christ’s name, amen”
The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
By laying up knowledge, the wise aren’t hording or bring greedy for knowledge. Instead they’re collecting the building materials for a dwelling place for wisdom. Being knowledgeable doesn’t necessarily make one wise, but knowledge provides the building blocks of wisdom.
Knowledge, Paul says, puffs up (but love builds up). So knowledge alone is not enough. In fact, being wise isn’t so much about how much truth we know, as about what we do with the knowledge we have. Two men might invest their knowledge and become twice as wise and knowledgeable, but if their wisdom and knowledge weren’t the same in the first place, neither will be the end result. One might end up in a mansion of wisdom, and another in a house.
On the other hand, fools mess things up. They might have as much knowledge as a wise man, but they only ruin those building materials of wisdom, and end up showing themselves up as full of folly. Sometimes knowledge is best stored up.
Mary laid aside in her heart what she came to know about her son Jesus, if she’d have blurted it out at the time, she could have put His life in danger from the hands of envious and evil men. Fools on the other hand betray confidences and ruin reputations with their verbal diarrhoea of gossip.
“Lord our God, You promise wisdom to those who believing ask, so we pray that we would become so. Please help us to wisely invest what knowledge we have, and not to foolishly invalidate it in our lives. In Christ’s name, amen”
Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense.
What does it mean to be wise and discerning? Solomon isn’t on about worldly wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The fool says in his heart that there is no God. Wisdom begins and ends with God. In other words it’s unfathomable!
Discernment isn’t just about being perceptive or observant. Plenty of the world’s analysts are good at watching the wind and predicting the ebbs and flows of public opinion. But discernment isn’t swayed by a politically correct agenda or even a self proclaimed anti establishment bias. Discernment transcends humanity and gives the wise a heavenly perspective.
Senseless people on the other hand pander to popularity. The problem is that the public are fickle, and who may be one day’s political messiah is the next day’s has been. Fools play to the crowd like Canute tried to play to the tides: he became so caught up with his own transient greatness that he tried to turn back the tide. Of course he ended up paddling in the shallows of his own folly.
The masses are like the tides: fickle, foolish, volatile and potentially deadly. I was in New Zealand when the latest earthquake hit. Thankfully I was far from the tremors, but the scenes of devastation were awesome in the proper sense of the word. The main highway split in two, the train line was wrecked, and six foot of volcanic rock sea bed is now exposed on the beach. The fate of fools is worse than a beating or a natural disaster, but an eternity in hell.
“Lord God Almighty, give me the wisdom to fear you properly. Help me to be discerning as to what is right, rather than to be swayed by the tides of this fallen world’s folly. Forgive me my own folly. Please discipline me as your adopted son, and deliver me from the evil I deserve. In Jesus’ name, amen”