Hearts and Mouths
Gracious Lord, You are all wisdom. Teach me the ways of holiness, compassion, and love. Teach me the way of Christ.
Read PROVERBS 21:1-31
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
A wise person once observed: “It has been said it takes two years to learn to talk and seventy years to learn to keep your mouth shut” (Unknown).
There’s no escaping the wisdom of God. Hearts, homes, law courts and banks are spheres of his concern. No one can live as if they could not benefit from what he thinks.
Who’s in charge? Kings and ordinary mortals rightly plan ahead. Our capacity to prepare for what we can see coming is part of our reflection of the Father’s providing care. But just because my electronic organizer has an entry for a meeting or a holiday, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. It’s not just circumstances that are beyond my control; my very intentions are themselves under God’s power, to shape and direct. He can irrigate the lives of others by his work in my heart; for it is God who works in us “to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13). Our chapter today is topped and tailed with this fact (1,2; 30,31). Your heart is under God’s power; and so is the outflow. Some of that outflow is verbal.
Your mouth matters. The lack of mention of husbands’ defects in vs. 9 and 19 doesn’t invalidate their message. It would indeed be better to live in a corner of your flat roof (no, don’t picture a Western pitched roof!), cramped, outside and cold at night, than have the whole house and a quarrelsome wife. The potential for the heart to spill destructive speech out of the mouth pollutes commerce as well as marriages (6). As ill-gotten gains evaporate they leave the fraudster trapped by, say, the law or the IRS. Lies even corrupt the law courts (28). The perjurer perishes and the lives he has touched are ruined. What a liability the mouth is! Better for everyone’s sake to guard it (23). James issues similarly strong and wise warnings (1:19-21, 3:1-12).
God will accomplish his purposes, but maybe not through us if we can’t do our part by being well prepared. Is there some call from God being negated because you are not doing your part?
Lord, whose every word is good and true, let my mouth be the overflow from a good and true heart, a heart surrendered to Your will.
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