My wife and I try to read through the Bible each year, a practice that has deepened our faith and helped us understand the Bible better. Right now we are reading through the book of Proverbs.
We were chatting about what we have been learning during our reading last night and she reminded me that there is a great divide between the language of the unrighteous and that of the one who fears God. I would says she is right!
> “mouth” is used 44 times <
> “tongue” is used 19 times <
> “lips” is used 33 times <
Proverbs 12.18 – There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
10.21 – The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.
15.4 – A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
18.21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
21.23 – Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
10.11 – The moth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
13.3 – Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
18-4 – The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook
Webster defines “rash” as “acting too hastily or without due consideration; made or done with reckless or ill-considered haste. The picture painted in 12.18 is like that of a man with a sword jabbing into the dark, not knowing what he is stabbing – could be an intruder or his child. However, the lips of the righteous will bring healing because of what the source of his words are – righteousness.
There is another picture of fruit (18.21). Words spring from some source. That is, they do not exist in and of themselves but depend on something else. This is what Jesus and James are referring to when they speak of the heart being the source for these words.
Finally, notice the huge divide that separates the righteous from the unrighteous. The unrighteous speak rashly and hurt people with their words. The righteous bring healing and life and build up the person. 18.4 fills the image that James is speaking about. Everyone has deep waters from which they pull their water (that is, words). The water that we pull from our wells will have effects on our hearers. Now the question for us is what kind of water source do we have. A Christian, by necessity of who he is, has a fresh spring water source. The wicked only bring more thirst when they pour out their treasures.