The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense. (Proverbs 10:20, 21 ESV)
If the preliminary nine chapters of Proverbs has been about the writer laying out a narrative of the choice between two women, then from chapter 10 the writer goes on a blitz of bullet-point proverbs. Sometimes there’s a series between them, sometimes they are standalone statements that make the reader reflect.
One theme that is prominent in Proverbs is the issue about what we say.Considering those three bullet-points on the nature of speech in the quotes above reflect the power of words. It also goes onto reinforce the fact that whoever thought that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me obviously didn’t know what he was talking about.
Much as we could dwell on the outcome of the speech of fools and wicked people, what strikes me in these three bullets is the outcome of the speech of the righteous.
Choice silver – something of great value, a sign of riches and prosperity. I don’t take that in the strictly material sense. I enjoy the metaphor as the key into seeing how those who love what is right will speak things of great value that enriches life and that in itself leads to a blessed, beneficial sense of life.
Feed many – one of the basic necessities of life is food. We don’t eat, we don’t live – simple as that. Nourishing the body then comes through physical food. Nourishing the soul requires supplements of that kind and words play a big deal. Those who love doing and being everything pleasing to God will thus have a habit of feeding and nourishing the souls of many. I know people like that. This morning I had a conversation with a friend and the words that came from that friend really motivated, encouraged and stimulated me to do good for God’s sake. Words have that power and righteous people have that habit of speaking them often.
Thus the lesson I am learning all the time is to be that kind of person requires a pursuit of the right and as I pursue thinking it and doing it, then it won’t be a surprise that my language reflects that.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden