READING: Proverbs 25-26
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: These chapters of Proverbs, like so many others, cover multiple issues. Because I live in a ministry world where speech is so important, I am captured by these reminders of the power of the tongue, both positively and negatively:
1. The right word at the right time makes a difference. Using the imagery of a decorative tray or jewelry, the writer of Proverbs says that a right word is valuable and glorious. It is not only that we are to speak the right word; we are also to speak it at the right time. That combination takes wisdom and discernment.
Prov. 25:11 A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.
2. Gentle and patient speech can break down resistance. Learning to speak softly but wisely can be a great tool in persuading others. In the picture of Proverbs 25, even a hard, rigid bone can be broken by the right speech.
Prov. 25:15 A ruler can be persuaded through patience, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
3. A gossip’s words create only trouble. Confronting others often involves addressing issues that may be alluring gossip to other people. They may “gobble up” the gossip’s words like the finest food, but a gossip fuels only conflict. Wisdom says, “Don’t put fuel on the fire.”
Prov. 26:20-22 Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. As charcoal for embers and wood for fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being.
PRAYER: Please pray that we will speak gently when confronting others, “time” our necessary conversations wisely, and avoid gossip. Pray God will show us clearly when we’re moving toward gossip.
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 27-29