v. 5 – A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.
v. 9 – If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
v. 11 – A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man holds back.
v. 20- Do you see a man who is hasty with words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
In this chapter it seems Solomon has a lot to say about how much & how we use our words. (I catch the irony as I write this.)
For a man who wrote & spoke a lot, he often comes back to the theme is restraint or patience with our words.
The wise “hold back”. The fool is “hasty”.
But he isn’t just telling us about the quickness or quantity of our words.
He is also concerned about the quality of our words.
No doubt he saw many lives damaged by the words people used.
Even flattery, usually thought of in positive terms, can be a trap people fall for.
This is one of those every day subjects.
There is not a day that will go by that I don’t use words.
Every single day of my life, even most hours of my life, I will have the opportunity to “flatter”, “argue”, “rage”, “vent”, and be “hasty”.
But I’ll also have the choice to experience one of the rarest of commodities in today’s world: quiet.
Even as I write this, the house is empty, but next door there are two macaws battling to see who can out-screech the other.
The world is full of those battling to “out-screech” each other.
To get in the last word.
To be heard.
To be right.
Maybe what the world could use, what our lives could use, is more quiet.
Certainly what we all could use is more experiences with God.
And how do we hear God? 1 Kings tells us God wasn’t in the earthquake or the fire. God was in the gentle whisper.
Even Job tells us his ears “caught a whisper”.
I know God is Emmanuel … He is “with us”.
When I don’t hear Him, perhaps I need to make sure my words aren’t creating the rumble of an earthquake or the roar of a fire.
Father in Heaven, help me know you are not far. You are here. Help me hear your words more clearly than noise around me.
Help me when I speak to echo you, and to not just add to the noise.
Make my words be ones of hope, of love.
God, give me your wisdom on when to speak & when to hold back.
God, give me your wisdom on the quickness, quantity, and quality of my words.