“Do you see someone who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 29:20, New English Translation
Perhaps there is no other book in our Bibles that word for word, pound for pound and ounce for ounce, delivers more practical Godly instruction for living our daily lives than this collection of writings we call Proverbs.
Given the often short and to the point directness of the Proverbs, no time is spent in getting to the “meat” of the matter. The problem for many of us is not that we don’t understand the proverb, the problem is that we are often cut to the bone by the word as it brings conviction to our lives.
The English translation of our Proverb for today consists of a total of only 20 words. However, the Spiritual weight of their combined meaning unlocks an understanding of eternal significance.
At first reading we can reach the conclusion that we need to be careful and not shoot our mouths off to quickly. That is true. We shouldn’t. I think, if we press in a little deeper, that there is a much broader application to be taken from this powerful little proverb.
As I write this blog I have just finished watching several documentaries released to commemorate the life of President George Herbert Walker Bush, who passed away on November 30th. In each of these documentaries it was noted that the late President’s life and subsequently his lost bid for re-election were tied to six simple words, “READ MY LIPS. NO NEW TAXES.”
History did, and will continue to hold 41 accountable for those six words. They were not spoken in a quick or unthoughtful moment. Speech writers and consultants carefully perused over that statement weeks before the President stood and delivered them. In the end he did not stand behind his statement and history attributes this to his lost re-election.
Our passage today uses a Hebrew phrase translated as “in haste.” It means “to be pressed” to be pushed in tight, to be forced through. The laws of hydrodynamics dictates that when an external force of greater pressure is applied to a weaker force the weaker reacts in compliance to that force. This is the principle used in hydraulic machinery. A few quarts of fluid can be used to lift tons of mass.
When we, under the pressures of life, open up and say things in “haste” it exhibits what we are truly made of deep down inside. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 15:18, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person.” His response came as result of a discussion about what a person eats. What He wanted them to understand is that He was more concerned with their hearts than with their diets.
So, the next time you feel compelled to speak on anything, to get your two cents in, stop and ask yourself “from whence cometh these thoughts now as words?” Perhaps an adjustment in your heart will sweeten the words you are about to speak. Remember, we will give an account for every idle word.