Proverbs 14:3

By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back,

but the lips of the wise will preserve them.

Proverbs 14:3 ESV

Because a fool doesn’t control his mouth, hardship will be his lot in life. That may come in a variety of forms, including physical correction. The wise person controls his mouth, thus he typically avoids the need for physical correction.

What do you prefer?

Proverbs 13:1

A wise son hears his father’s instruction,

    but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Proverbs 13:1 ESV

Here’s a take home test. Do you listen to instruction or bristle at rebuke? Your answer to this question will help you understand better if you are wise or foolish.

“No one likes being rebuked!” is a common response here. However, the author has mind a satisfaction and appreciation for being corrected, not a “I really like it when you tell me I’m wrong or have sinned.”

How do you react when being rebuked? Do you have ears to hear or do you push it off?

Proverbs 12:6

The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,

    but the mouth of the upright delivers them.

Proverbs 12:6 ESV

Words matter. Do you realize that your words can reveal your heart. Note the contrast in imagery used here: death vs. deliverance. The words of the wicked are deadly. The words of he upright provide deliverance.

What is the pattern of your speech? Are your conversations and comments filled with destruction; cutting remarks, sarcasm, criticism, etc? If so, you should recognize how this reflects your heart. “I’m just joking” isn’t a free ticket to hurt others with our words.

Again, notice that the words of the upright provide deliverance. In other words, they are encouraging, helpful words. That doesn’t mean there is never a word of criticism, but this criticism is corrective in nature, not destructive.

As you reflect over your words, do you hear words of deliverance? If so, carry on. If not, consider your heart.

Proverbs 11:5

The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,

    but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.

Proverbs 11:5 ESV

This verse provides a contrast between the righteous and the wicked, but not simply as a comparison of outcomes. Here, the writer goes to something more foundational, the heart. It is not the actions of the blameless that keep his way straight; it is righteousness. For the wicked, it is not the snares of the world that cause him to fall; it is the desires of his heart that cause him to become entangled in the snares of the world.

Proverbs 27:19 touches on this same idea. “As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.”

Proverbs 8:10-11

Take my instruction instead of silver,

    and knowledge rather than choice gold,

for wisdom is better than jewels,

    and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Proverbs 8:10-11 ESV

Wisdom challenges us to go against modern culture, which idolizes wealth and prestige. Take the Oscars, for example. The red carpet entry gives onlookers the opportunity to gaze upon wealth and prestige and influence. As the stars enter, we are informed of the maker of their clothes and jewelry. We are reminded of their latest movie, which paid them millions to make. How many of us, in that moment, would think, “I need wisdom, not all this.”

Yet, this proverb tells us that nothing we desire (i.e., silver, gold, jewels) can compare with wisdom.

Does that challenge your heart? How should you respond?

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