Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Proverbs 18:6-8 "Did you hear...?"

Today’s verses are ones that cause me to cringe because they speak of one of my personal areas of weakness, that I suspect might be an area for others:

A fool's lips walk into a fight,

    and his mouth invites a beating.   

A fool's mouth is his ruin,

    and his lips are a snare to his soul.   

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;

    they go down into the inner parts of the body. (Proverbs 18:6-8 ESV)

Oh, my goodness!! Will we ever be able to control these tools of strife and hurt: our tongues??? Not completely this side of heaven! Just when you think you’ve made some growth, your mouth will send you to your knees! The first two verses are common themes of Proverbs, ones that I would be tempted to fly through. But that last verse stopped me cold!

The use of the word “whisperer” in the English Revised Version, sounds even more malicious to me than the New International Version word “gossip.” This isn’t the positive connotation of a “dog whisperer,” who calms and trains in good behaviors. This is the quiet, sneaky spreading of tales which surely come straight from the snake in the Garden!

Jon Courson says this about this verse: “If you’ve been wounded by gossip and rumor, you know this to be true. A tongue three inches long can destroy a man six feet tall.” (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, Old Testament: Vol 2, P.233)

And the problem in Christian circles, as we know, is that these often come to us in the form of “prayer requests.” The fact that something is “true” does not mean that we need to “share” it! I would rather be blissfully unaware of any issues, rather than be given a piece of “news” that I shouldn’t know!! This verse compares these stories to “delicious morsels” that just slip down into our inner being. We feel compelled to share them! YIKES!

I don’t want to imply that we are helpless in this weakness. We know that God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Cor 12:9). We have been given the Holy Spirit to transform us and empower us. He is the guarantee that God is working in us and through us. But we need to confess this problem and ask for help! My awareness of this tongue problem causes me every single morning, before setting one foot on the floor to pray this with King David:

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 KJV)

LORD, help us to gag on these “morsels” until we no longer desire to partake in the spreading of whisperings!  

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