Posts Tagged ‘wise men’

It is as hard to refuse to listen to gossip as it is to turn down a delicious dessert.  Taking just one morsel of either one creates a taste for more.  You can resist rumors the same way a determined dieter resist candy, NEVER OPEN THE BOX.  If you don’t nibble on the first bite of gossip, you can’t take the second and the third.  

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 25:09-10 If you argue your case with a neighbor, do not betray another mans confidence, or he who hears it may shame you and you will never lose your bad reputation. 

Gossip can ruin your reputation. Yet gossip is incredibly easy. Wise men will know you are wicked and will rebuke you, and you will be disgraced and shamed. The lesson is simple: do not talk critically or negatively about others; do not spread news or rumors; do not slander anyone. Gossip is a heinous sin, and it can permanently stain your reputation.

This is half of a proverb. The first half says, “Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another” (Pr 25:9). Good men only discuss differences or offences with the person involved, not with others. If you tell others about a conflict with someone, those others will know you are hateful, malicious, and wicked.

Jesus Christ taught the same rule of godliness and wisdom. He said, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone” (Matt 18:15). If you cannot ignore the offence of another, go tell him his fault. Instead of telling others about the problem, tell him alone. The rule is clear and definite.

When you have a problem with someone, it is cruel and malicious to tell others about it. You do so in order to defame and injure the other party and obtain sympathy for your cause. You seek to hurt another person’s reputation and exalt your own. The holy God of heaven considers such intentions and actions to be murder (Matt 5:21-26). Beware!

You should keep controversies and offences between you and your adversary. If you tell others about them, it is called gossip. In the Bible, it was called backbiting, talebearing, tattling, and whispering, if you told the truth. These are terrible sins that God hates. If you lied about the matter, then it was also called slander. It does not matter that these sins are popular today and no longer preached against: they are heinous in God’s sight.

Godly men despise this evil treatment of others, and they will despise the person doing it. They will angrily rebuke those who gossip about others. It is a duty to do so. Solomon wrote, “The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue” (Pr 25:23). It is terrible that more wise men do not put backbiters, talebearers, whisperers, slanderers, and gossips to shame by angry rebukes (Lev 19:17; I Thess 5:14).

If you have a problem with someone, and you cannot gloriously overlook it, go to him alone and settle it through Christian charity. Put a guard on your heart, and do not even think about telling others. Only say complimentary and kind things about other people. Let your reputation be glorious and gracious, always edifying others (Eph 4:29; Col 4:6).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 18:17 The first to present his case seems right, till another comes foreword and questions him.

Any man can sound reasonable, when he speaks first and personally presses for his own cause. The absence of contrary facts or counter opinions, and his emotional and fervent appeals, can give credence to most any claim. Anything sounds good in a vacuum. But all propositions must be tried by opposing arguments to prove their validity. The learned apostle Paul wisely wrote, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thess 5:21).

Politicians are notorious for their spin, extravagant claims, and moving sound bites. But their promises of prosperity should be exposed to public debate and the harsh reality of facts. Trial lawyers make a good living by exposing lies of the guilty and false testimony through contrary witnesses, expert opinions, and validation of evidence. A rich man’s conceit causes him to overstate matters that the wise poor can often detect (Pr 28:11).

Are you sure you are right in a dispute? Do you have an idea you want to pursue? Are you sure a proposition is valid? Are you confused by a testimony that does not match experience? Have you heard arguments you knew were wrong but sounded right? Here is a rule to remember – every cause should be scrutinized hard for validity and truthfulness.

Solomon wrote this proverb to teach his son wise discretion when judging accusations, declarations, and propositions. This is wisdom – the power of right judgment! Truth can withstand intense examination, but most causes are not truth. Challenging unsubstantiated claims will often expose them as false and frivolous. “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going” (Pr 14:15). Skepticism trumps optimism.

Wise men prove all things. They do not care about one side of any argument. Several common expressions imply this proverb, such as conflict of interests, emotionally involved, third party involvement, arm’s length transaction, cross-examination, devil’s advocate, and so forth. Good legal systems are designed to make sure both sides of an argument are heard and that both sides may cross-examine the other side’s witnesses.

Wise men prove all things. The Jews and Romans allowed the accused to defend himself before judgment was passed (John 7:51; Acts 25:16). The Law of Moses required diligent inquisition in all matters of hearsay (Deut 13:12-18; 17:2-7), and it would not accept the testimony of one man in any matter (Deut 19:15). One of the great prerogatives of kings, or any person in authority, is to make such inquisitions (Pr 25:2). Agrippa, Felix, and Festus wisely allowed Paul to defend himself against Tertullus and the Jews (Acts 24-26).

Wise men prove all things. Paul commended the Bereans for checking his preaching by scripture (Acts 17:11). Jesus said to judge righteous judgment, not by appearance (John 7:24). Since every way of a man is right in his own eyes, a multitude of counselors can save you from deception in your own cause (Pr 12:15; 15:22). Rather than hide from examination, wise men expose ideas to challenges and questions of knowledgeable men.

It takes only a little knowledge to believe something, much more knowledge to teach it, but a great deal of knowledge to defend it. Therefore, subjecting a controversy or opinion to careful scrutiny is a wise way to protect yourself from the danger of your own heart (Jer 17:9). Prudent counselors will quickly determine the validity of your bright idea. If you rush ahead with your bright idea, your neighbor may put you to shame (Pr 25:8).

Prudent marriage counselors use only one ear when a person has issues, for they know a marriage has two spouses with two perspectives and two sets of facts. You were given two ears to listen to both sides of such situations. Haste to answer controversial matters after hearing only one side is utter folly (Pr 18:13). If you are hearing complaints of a relationship from only one side, then limit your counsel to the duties of that person only.

Prove all things by God’s word (Ac 17:11; I Thes 5:21). Religious organizations keeping their doctrine from scrutiny are dangerous. Rome did it for 1500 years by outlawing the Scriptures and using Latin in their services. Protestantism does it by denying any English Bible to be Scripture and using Hebrew and Greek from imaginary “originals.” Try every religious claim by scripture you can read (Ps 119:128; Is 8:20; II Tim 3:16-17).

Here is wisdom! Ignore claims until proven by careful research, contrary witnesses, diligent inquisition, or cross-examination. Do not press a new idea, controversy, or opinion without exposing it to challenges and questions by wise counselors or opponents. When arguing a matter, honestly give the counter position as well. If a preacher, include objections to your doctrine to instruct hearers, buttress the truth, and silence adversaries.

Jesus Christ had a cause – the greatest in history – God’s glory, salvation of His elect, and declaration of truth. He was first in His cause, and He opened it to full view of critics and enemies (Jn 18:19-21; 3:1-3; 7:26; 8:2; Mat 4:23; Lu 19:47; Ac 10:36-42). By impeccable honesty and righteousness, no one could prove a single counter argument (Mark 14:55-59). His righteousness condemned them, even the railing thief nearby.

Therefore, He is the Faithful and True Witness (Rev 3:14; 1:5; 19:11). You may fully believe Him and His cause, for it is the purest and most precious you will ever hear or need. Throw all your contrary or doubting arguments and thoughts out – run to Him by faith and believe every word from Him and about Him in the scriptures. You will never be ashamed or confounded, world without end (Is 45:17; Rom 10:11; I Pet 2:6). Amen.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. 

You can say the wrong thing, and you can say the right thing the wrong way, or at the wrong time, or to the wrong person. Wisdom learns what to say, how to say it, when to say it, and to whom to say it. Truth is not enough. Do you know how, when, and to whom to speak the truth? Fools babble without regard to these four factors of godly speech.

Solomon taught often that speech is one of the most obvious signs of wisdom or folly (Pr 10:18-19; 15:28; 17:27-28; 18:6-7; 29:11; Eccl 10:11-14). A wise man or a fool can be easily discerned by his speech, which is measured by content, manner, timing, and audience. The key to this proverb is the qualifying adverb “aright.” A wise man speaks knowledge acceptably, but a fool prates on and on without knowing what he is saying.

This proverb is for your success. Fools destroy relationships and aggravate situations by talking far too much about far too little. They love the sound of their voice expressing their feelings and opinions, but no one else does, so they eventually lose all friends and opportunities for advancement. Those around them finally get tired of cringing every time they open their mouths and/or having to do damage control after they have spoken.

Wise men wait until they have something valuable to contribute, and they say only what is necessary, in the right way, at the right time, to the right audience. Others quickly learn to stop speaking and to listen when such wise men begin to speak. Because all their words are profitable and acceptable, others want them around, so they are promoted to positions of authority and influence due to their wise speech habits (Pr 16:13; 22:11).

What is godly content? The proverb says wise men speak knowledge. They do not give vain opinions, which fools love to do. They study before they speak (Pr 15:28). They crave the certain words of truth (Pr 22:17-21). They know speech contrary to Scripture is worthless (Is 8:20). They want to edify (Eph 4:29). Speak only if you have truth (Pr 16:23), when important to the hearers (Pr 29:11); cut your words in half (Pr 17:27-28).

What is godly manner? The proverb says wise men speak aright, which means rightly, correctly, properly. Gracious speech is acceptable speech (Pr 22:11; Eccl 10:12). The Lord Jesus spoke this way (Ps 45:2; Luke 4:22), and it is a commandment (Col 4:6). Gracious speech is agreeable, charming, courteous, gentle, kind, pleasing, polite, merciful, and thankful. Seek the love of others with each word (Pr 22:1; 24:26; 25:11).

What is godly timing? A wise man listens before speaking (Jas 1:19). He makes sure he knows a situation before talking (Pr 15:23; 18:13; John 7:24). He alters his speech for his audience (Pr 25:20; I Cor 9:19-23). He lets the more knowledgeable speak first (Job 32:4-7). He knows that haste in speech makes him worse than a fool (Pr 29:20), especially in the house of God (Eccl 5:1-7). Slow down! Listen first, think second, and speak last!

What is a godly audience? Not all deserve words of truth spoken graciously at the right time. Ignore fools after an initial rebuke (Pr 26:4-5). Avoid scorners altogether (Pr 9:7-8). The Lord Jesus taught this wise rule (Matt 7:6). Warn the unruly, exhort saints, comfort the feebleminded, rebuke sinners, and train children (Lev 19:17; I Thes 5:14; Heb 10:25).

Knowledge and truth do not allow speaking any way you wish. There are rules of wisdom and godliness for how you handle knowledge and truth God gives. Everything, including speech, must be done without offence in Jesus’ name (I Cor 10:31-33; Eph 4:15).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 15:7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge, not so the hearts of fools

Communication is a great privilege. It is an opportunity to spread knowledge by talking (or typing). It is also a serious responsibility, because God resents a foolish use of either. Wise men acquire truth and wisdom to share with others, but fools merely make noise. What will you do with this great gift, especially since God has told you how to use it?

Your mouth is for much more than taking in food. It is also for sending out knowledge. Since your heart supplies your mouth with the things to say, it must be kept with all diligence and filled with excellent content to share with others (Pr 4:23; 22:17-21). Since keyboards do much of the talking today, the lesson applies to texts and emails as well.

Your speech is evidence of your character, and it determines your effect in the world. Wise men use their mouths to spread knowledge, but the speech of fools helps no one. If you are wise, others will benefit by your words; if you are foolish, others will not profit. You need to choose wisdom for yourself and then choose to also share it with others.

A simple figure of speech is here. The two pink muscles decorating your mouth cannot give knowledge and neither can the fist-sized pump in your chest. These are metonyms for speech – your heart creates words, and your lips pronounce them. Wise men use speech to help others, but fools do not, for their hearts and mouths are empty of value.

The lesson is to fill your heart with wisdom and truth and to direct your mouth (or keyboard) to communicate it. A fool’s heart is full of folly, so he can help no one. His speech is like the barking or yelping of a hyena or jackal, and his heart is no better. The difference among men is what they put in their hearts in order to have profitable speech.

The faculty of speech is a great privilege. Consider that you can form words that God Himself in heaven can hear and delight in. For this reason He calls the tongue of wise men their glory (Ps 16:9; 30:12; 57:8; 108:1)! Men can gloriously give Him glory with their tongue by forming good words. But fools curse, jest, and talk foolishly. God forbid!

How will you affect others today by your talking? Will you increase their knowledge? Or will you fill their ears with noise and not profit them at all? God gave you a heart and lips to praise Him and help others. He also gave Scripture to fill your heart with knowledge, so you can have wonderful words to speak (Pr 22:17-21; Ps 119:146; II Tim 3:16-17).

Words carefully chosen and wisely spoken are beautiful, for which both God and men will hold you in high esteem and favor (Pr 12:14,18; 15:23; 16:13,24; 22:11; 24:26; 25:11). Wise men use such words to feed many (Pr 10:21; 11:30). They are trees of life to those around them, but fools are traps of sin and death (Pr 15:4). How many do you feed?

Fools talk a lot, but their words are just noise (Eccl 5:3; 7:6; 10:12-14). God cannot stand the so-called gift of gab, for that blustery noise is sheer nonsense or worse. Therefore He condemned foolish talking and jesting as sins comparable to fornication and filthiness (Eph 5:3-10). Let every disciple of Christ reject all such speech. Judgment is coming!

What is knowledge? Knowledge is not trivial facts; it is not news about others; it is not casual conversation; it is not insignificant chatter; it is not worldly discourse; it is not the weather forecast. Knowledge is understanding and counsel that glorifies God and leads a person from sin and toward heaven and holiness. It is truth and wisdom rightly applied.

The world is full of false and foolish noise – spoken and printed! Where are wise men and women to communicate knowledge, truth, wisdom, and understanding? Where are those that will boast in the Lord and praise Him (Ps 34:1-3; 145:1-12)? Where are those that will have ready answers of words of truth for those with questions (Pr 22:17-21)?

Every believer can teach. They should teach. The apostle rebuked the Hebrew saints for their ignorance and continued need for teachers and simple instruction. It was time for them to be able to teach others, but they had squandered their learning and faculty of speech (Heb 5:12-14). Before speaking, you must hear, meditate, study, and apply it.

The blessed Lord Jesus Christ had the tongue of the learned and knew how to speak well (Is 50:4). He used His faculty of speech to comfort, feed, warn, and rebuke many (Is 61:1-3). His speech rejoiced His friends and confounded His enemies (Matt 7:28-29; 22:46; Mk 12:37; Lu 4:22; Jn 7:46). Will you learn to speak like Him (Ep 4:29; Col 4:6)?

Dear reader, ignorance abounds, and others need you. Will you disperse the knowledge of God today with your mouth? Or will you fill the air with noise and foolishness? Remember this warning: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt 12:36). Lord, help!