Be Careful, Little Mouth, What You Speak

Day 18 – Proverbs 10:15-32

In today’s passage, we continue to look at the contrast between the words of the wise and those of the fool. Solomon compares their tongues, noting how judiciously they are used and their impact on both the listener and the speaker:

  • The wise holds his tongue with discipline, but the fool’s many words lead to sin (Proverbs 10:19).
  • The words of the wise are valuable because they encourage and refresh, but those of the fool are useless because he is only interested in lies and slander, and has a wicked heart (vv. 18, 20).
  • The words of the wise nourish their listeners, but the fool’s words are empty, unable even to nourish himself (v. 21).
  • The wise give good advice, but the fool’s words are perverse and earn punishment (v. 31).
  • The wise speak appropriately, but the fool says what is not acceptable (v. 32).

Verse 18: ″Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool″, stands out because it is not an antithetical parallelism like the other proverbs. Instead, it talks about how the fool not only conceals his hatred of someone by lying-perhaps by pretending to be a friend-but even slanders the person behind his back. The impact of a fool’s words is a stark contrast to that of the words of the wise, which 10:11 refers to as a fountain of life. When we speak to encourage, edify, or correct, we become a source of life and nourishment. No wonder James described the tongue as a small but influential, potentially destructive member of our body (James 3:1-12).

Knowing when to speak and when to be silent is a key theme in Proverbs, especially in 10:15-32; the right use of the wise tongue is wonderfully enriching to all who hear its words.

Oh, be careful, little mouth,
what you say.
Oh, be careful, little mouth,
what you say.
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful, little mouth,
what you say!

Think Through:

How can you speak more encouragingly today?

How can you ensure that your speech is inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Taken from Journey Through Proverbs: 50 Biblical Insights by David Cook.