“The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.” Proverbs 18:4
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 18:21
Using Words Carefully – Proverbs 18:1-24
Verses 1-4 – These verses carry over from verses 27 and 28 of chapter 17. There is much in the Proverbs of speech, the tongue and words. We are taught to choose and handle words carefully; and not deceitfully. The fool is one who cares only for his own words; is in the process to thought while another is talking; and only to have something further to say.
On a first look verse 1 could seem to have a positive intent; however with the word “intermeddleth” it means that the individual contends with wisdom.
Verses two and three then show the intent of the heart of verse one. On verse 4 see Proverbs 20:5
Verses 5 – 9 – Speaking good of evil, and evil of good to overthrow the righteous is not good. Backbiting, and slander is the heart of the destruction of the fool’s mouth.
A lazy individual is akin to the great waster (v. 9).
Verses 10 – 11 – Many a wealthy individual has all their hopes in their wealth, investments, and possessions. An island of safety in the midst of words of warning and hope (v. 10).
Verses 12 – 21 – You can see that the words of the foolish individual is more important to him/her than listening to others in verses 13, 17. Verses 16 speaks of giving gifts – not bribes to buy off judges, law enforcement, etc. Probably could be likened to a gift someone might bring to the King’s birth.
In verse 18 there seems to be some wisdom in “casting lots” for the ceasing of contentions.
There is reward or destruction in our use of words. They can be the difference in life and/or death; destruction or building up.
Verses 22 -24 – See Proverbs 12:4; 19:14. Marriage is good if it be found in the way of God. For a marriage to be good the man and a woman must choose and use words carefully. Good communication is a key.
In verse 23 we have a contrast between the poor and the rich. The poor is humble before others when asking something from them. The rich have no need of anything so they speak roughly to others. Again whether one is rich or poor really makes no difference when it comes to our choosing and use of words.
In verse 24 we have a sentence which is familiar, “And there is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother”. Before that we learn that if one is to have friends, then, we must be a friend.
Friends choose and use words carefully. The choosing and using words carefully has nothing to do with “Political Correctness”; but using words to build up. A lot of times hard/truth words need to be used to bring out good quality in another.