Journal Proverbs 21 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” Prov 21:23
Observation: Proverbs can be soooo blunt, right?
Analysis: Proverbs is a challenging book. Sometimes it is talking about me; other times it is talking about someone close or that I know; still other times it is talking about “people” in general.
I continually shift between the pronouns to figure out what or who God is referring to.
In the above scripture there is no doubt: It is talking about me…or you. It is a universal statement for any who read it.
A few chapters ago was this verse: “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Prov 18:2) I can be a person just like this.
Why is this important to me? Because I have found myself in positions where I am waiting for an opening in a conversation to “reveal my own mind” and not listening at all—either to the person(s) in front of me NOR to the Holy Spirit that I desperately want to guide my words and control my mouth.
Before I was married, I spoke to my wife that my desire is for my words to be as the Scripture says: “Apples of gold in settings of silver.” (re: Prov 25:11) My mental picture is one that my words could be considered valuable. All too often they are the opposite: misunderstood meddling, puffing up of my self-importance, broad strokes of pride and demonstrating foolishness. A Proverb coming up: “Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” (Prov 26:7) Even if I am reciting (not speaking but reciting) the Word of God, unless there are ears to hear, can hang useless and reveal myself as a fool.
I have caused so much trouble speaking out of turn it isn’t funny. This is not to say that silence is better than sound (talking)—it isn’t. However, how much more desirable is a “word fitly spoken to a listening ear.”
That is my longing, to be that kind of mouth for others. I suppose that is why I write more than talk these days….
Prayer: Father, keep me in wisdom and away from foolishness. Allow me to look deep into Your Word and extract useful jewels; not just pretty, little baubles of sparkling attractiveness, but Jewels that are worthy of the King. AMEN