Some of Solomon’s proverbs seem obvious to me: “A true witness never lies, but a false witness makes a business of it.” I wonder if perhaps I’m missing something – a covert message, a cultural context.
However, many others, while not requiring much effort to unpack them, are powerful in their very simplicity. While the verses are clear and concise in their general message, when we engage with the Living Word, God often has a personal message to us. I’ve heard a few this month through these short, straightforward sentences. I’ve spent the past week in Proverbs 13-15.
“An appetite for good brings much satisfaction, but the belly of the wicked always wants more.” ~Proverbs 13:25
This verse would have come with a very different message to me a year or two ago. It would have been about people and relationships and time. It was a different season in my life. The Word is Living! The Spirit communicates something new through the same words and truths.
Here is the current message to me about this verse: Recognize the abundant goodness in my life, especially in this holiday season when we court perfect moments. Be deeply aware and thankful. Pray diligently for good things for those in our country and around the world who are surrounded by wickedness. Don’t give into greed and selfishness and discontent – recognize this is wicked.
“Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile; wise speech invokes nothing but respect.” ~Proverbs 14:3
Snarky speech or gossip is not really my struggle (I struggle with PLENTY of other things) and sometimes I just breeze past these verses. But there are so many verses on how we speak – in Proverbs and various other books of the Bible. I’m pretty sure this is more of struggle for me than I realize; clearly God wants us ALL to meditate on our words and the way we use them.
Current message to me: Just hold my tongue. Everybody, just hold our tongues. Don’t try to be right, to be funny or clever, to make yourself look good (sometimes by speaking harshly of others), be careful when you fill the silence. So much doesn’t need to be said. Speak words full of salt and love. I occasionally read things written by people who profess to know Christ that are full of so much derision – ridicule and disdain. It’s painful. If Christ in is our hearts- His love should flow out of our mouths. “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) If anger, contempt, and self-righteousness come out our mouths, they fill our hearts. Let it not be!
Praise God for a new day each morning to heed His good, good Word! We can still tame our tongues and practice contentment! And we don’t have to (and can’t) do it on our own:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6