“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear. Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters.” (Proverbs 25:11-13)
We often hear that “words have power.” Here we see Solomon reflecting differently that “words have effect” and are valuable and refreshing. Perhaps we should see that both are true but the differences in application mean something…
Apples of gold in settings of silver; gold rings or ornaments—precious, valuable, treasured, appreciated—wise and fitly spoken words are like gold and valuable treasures. This kind of speaking is not inherent nor is it instinctive in me—I have to be deliberate in my practice of being a wise speaker, a wise commentator, a wise reprover, a refreshing fountain. Many times I talk to hear myself talk. This kind of attitude doesn’t help anyone. So, how do I become skilled in being a refreshing fountain, a purveyor of fit words? 1) Confess your desire to be a wise speaker to God. Note: This is a prayer that God is very pleased with and will enthusiastically start to work on with you. 2) Commit yourself to be a skilled listener. “Quick to hear, slow to speak…” Not every situation that comes your way needs a comment. Sometimes the only council available is the tried and true theological answer “I don’t know” and “Let’s pray together.” Note: Have you ever caught yourself “preaching” to the one you are praying over? We might consider changing our ways about this and lifting our voices to God for our friend. 3) Determine to experience our study and devotion to the Word of God for ourselves first: The man in the mirror. Determine not to read the Scriptures for another (“Hah! Joe needs to read this—it will convict him plenty…”) but to pray “Show me what You want me to see, O God. I rend my heart before you…” We can store up the Word in our heart in either of two ways: We can commit ourselves to memorize (but sometimes this is like stenciling over our heart—just superficial) or we can ask the Master Builder to hammer His Word into us. Both are valid; both are needed; neither are “just exercises.” Lastly: 4) Commit yourself to the long haul; persevering in preparation to be a “wise reprover.” Wisdom does not come overnight, it is not a class to ace; but it is a Gift from God. It is ok to fail—repent, get up, and go again in the fear of God; learn.
Father. This journaling ends up me preaching to myself. It causes me to remember Your Goodness in my life—Your faithfulness is sobering because I think that I would have given up on me a long time ago. But You are going to finish what You started in me to conform me to the Image of my Lord, Your Son. Please help me to listen well. Not just listen more than talk but to be an avid listener. Help me to not formulate an answer while someone else is talking. But, also work in me an ability to be able to speak of the “hope that is in me” in every circumstance You bring before me. I need to hear You most of all, your whisper to my soul—and when a situation screams for an answer I can give, help me to keep my mouth shut until You direct me to speak. AMEN.