The Importance of Words (Proverbs 18) (Part 2)

The Gossiper

Proverbs 18:8 (NIV) “The words of the gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s innermost parts.” Gossipers is worse than the Fool because he does not blunder into trouble with his eyes shut, he really means to cause it.

  • Gossip is forbidden by the Law – Leviticus 19:16 (NIV) “Do not go about spreading slander among the people.”
  • Gossip divides friendship – Proverbs 16:28 (NIV) “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separate close friends.”
  • The Listener to malicious gossip is as “wicked” as the person who speaks – Proverbs 17:4 (NIV) “A wicked man listens to evil lips; a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.

The way rumours are received is graphically described in Proverbs 18:8 – they are like “choice morsels,” those titbits which do not need chewing or stick in the throat but slip easily “down into a man’s innermost parts” (“inner room”). A person finds no difficulty in concentrating on the gossip’s tale, he laps it up. Nor the person finds it hard to remember indeed the term (literally) “inner rooms” has the sense of storeroom where things are retained to be brought out later. In this way the Listener to gossip assists the Gossiper in carrying out his “trade.”

A Wise Man

Proverbs 18:4 (NIV) “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” The two parts of Proverbs 18:4, as often with Book of Proverbs, are parallel, so that it is “the words of……wisdom” that are here in view throughout:

Verse 4a Speaks of the Source – It comes from the Depth of the Person’s heart and is therefore like “deep waters” – Proverbs 20:5a (NIV) “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters.” Wisdom is Deep (Job 28), it is what God is (Romans 11:33).The Person who is taught by God’s Word is admitted into His (God’s) Counsel which “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,” but which “God has revealed….to us by His Spirit” (1Corinthians 2:9).

Verse 4b Describes the “Communication” of this Wisdom, which is compared not to an Ocean or well but “the Fountain” from which flows a “bubbling brook.” This is how others come to benefit from “the Depth of the Wisdom and Knowledge” of God that the Wise Person has. This brings refreshing and revive those he speaks to:

  • Proverbs 10:11a (NIV) “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.”
  • Proverbs 13:14a (NIV) “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.”

Apostle Paul exhorts: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” – meditate deeply upon it – then, “Let your conversation be always full of grace” (Colossians 3:16; 4:6).

The Wise Person Acquires WisdomProverbs 18:15 (NIV) “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” Proverbs 18:15 tells us how this ability to speak wisely is acquired. It takes us back to the First Nine Chapters of Book of Proverbs, which are chiefly an encouragement to cultivate Wisdom. Proverbs 18:15 is the good summary of the teaching and exhortation of Proverbs Chapters 1 to 9:

  • Cultivates a discerning heart by appreciating the Value of Knowledge. This is what the Parents try to cultivate by their patient instruction, part of which is to praise wisdom above all else (Proverbs 3:13-18; Proverbs 4:5-7; Proverbs 7:21-27; 8; Proverbs 9:10).
  • Approaches it with earnestness, “seek it out,” do not wait for it to come to us. Knowledge lies deep down in the heart of the people and has to be carefully “surfaced” by being a Good Listener – “Ears of the wise seek it out.”
  • Gives it rapt attention – the heart will not acquire it unless the ears listen to it with concentration in order to understand and retain it.

Final Words…… Power of Words

Power of WordsProverbs 18:20-21 (NIV) “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips, he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” The Power of Words for good or evil has already been illustrated in the above Verses. Here it is shown forth as “the Fruit.” A person must realise the consequence (fruit) of his words. There is great satisfaction in speaking what is true, edifying, informative, understanding, instructive, sympathetic, comforting and even rebuking that brings forth life. Whereas lies, misinformation, cursing, boasting, vilifying (defamatory) beings forth death. Each person must give an account for every careless word spoken – Matthew 12:36 “But I say to you that for every idle word men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement.”

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