What comes out of the mouth is an overflow of the heart?
One of the truths that comes from this wise saying is the connection between words and thoughts. Jesus said it this way — a couple of times: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45).
It is profitable to be wise and walk in the counsel of the Lord. The words you speak and the advice you give will give life and restoration to those who are in need of it. When your words are based on the Word of God, you will be able to refresh the souls of many. But if your mind dwells on foolish, unfruitful things like gossip and foul speech, your words will not be profitable for anyone – they won’t even be profitable for yourself.
Having just shared his observation on the relationship between words and sin, Solomon is making sure that his readers don’t get the wrong impression about our words. While the likelihood of sin increases when our words increase, Scripture doesn’t suggest that we go speechless. Yes, the Bible declares a person who refrains their lips wise but no, it isn’t suggesting we tie our tongues in favor of sign language or some other form on non-verbal communication. In fact, the inability to communicate verbally is one of the most destructive deficiencies in our world. Genesis 11 is all the evidence one needs to prove how damaging ineffective communication can be. At that time, the entire world spoke one universal language and because of that, God said, “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:6). The only thing God needed to do to stop their progress and scatter them throughout the world was to confound their language by introducing a variety of languages. The inability to communicate effectively with our words brings all good things to an end. Marriage comes to an end when two loving people can’t effectively use their words. Companies comes to an end when intelligent people can’t effectively use their words. Political campaigns come to an end when powerful people can’t communicate effectively with their words.
We need to use words. The spoken word is very powerful and very necessary. Our world wouldn’t exist without words. It was the word of God that put everything here. On each of the six days of Creation, the Bible records the powerful words, “And God SAID.” Our existence is the result of words. Furthermore, our redemption is the result of words. We experience the redemption of the soul when we place our faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. That soul-redeeming faith hinges on words. Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD of God.” Our redemption first requires the words of God and then secondly, our own words. Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the MOUTH confession is made unto salvation.” The spoken word is very powerful and very necessary. God wants us to use our words, just very carefully.
This proverb reinforces how valuable the right words can be. Solomon describes the words of the just as “choice silver,” meaning they are very desirable. The Bible uses the word, “choice” to describe the best of something; something that would be “chosen” if given the option. Throughout Scripture, you’ll see phrases like, “choice vine,” a “choice young man,” the “choice men of Israel,” “choice fir trees,” “choice sheep,” and “choice gold.” Solomon chose to describe the tongue of the just in this way because not all silver is created equally. All silver possesses value as a precious metal but some silver is more precious than other silver based on the level of imperfections. The less imperfections, the greater the value and therefore, the more “choice” it becomes. The tongue of man is no different. All tongues have value but not all tongues offer the same value. The value of the tongue is based on the level of imperfections in it. Because the just man is fair, reasonable and equitable, his words will possess less imperfections. As a result, it will be more valuable to the ears and minds of others.
Every tongue possesses some value but the more wicked a person’s heart, the less valuable their tongue will be. It’s not the intellect of the mind that gives our words value – it’s the morality of our heart. Solomon teaches in this proverb what Jesus teaches us in the Gospel of Matthew – the quality of our heart determines the quality of our mouth. Dirty heart, dirty mouth. Filthy heart, filthy speech. Unfair heart, unfair words. Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the HEART the MOUTH speaketh. A good man out of the good TREASURE of the HEART bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil TREASURE bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy WORDS thou shalt be justified, and by thy WORDS thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:34-37). Everyone has something good to say at some point in their lives. Everyone has some worth in their words. Consider these true and insightful words:
– “If you want to shine like the sun, first you have to burn like it.”
– “Anyone can deal with victory; only the mighty can bear defeat.”
– “When diplomacy ends, war begins.”
– “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”
– “It is always more difficult to fight against faith than to fight against knowledge.”
These are valuable words spoken by Adolf Hitler. His words had some worth but Hitler’s words would end up having very “little worth” in human history because of his wicked heart.
How do people view your words? How do people APPRAISE your words? Do they have a lot of value or are they of “little worth?” If people could CHOOSE who they listen to, would they CHOOSE to listen to your words? Do people want to know what you have to say about something? Do people VALUE your opinion? Do people VALUE your input? Do people VALUE your words? Parents, if your children were given the CHOICE to call only one person when confronted with a big decision, whose number would they call? Husbands, if your wives were given the CHOICE to call only one person when facing a big problem, whose number would they call?
Jesus Christ was of course, without imperfection in both heart and tongue. Declared “The Just One” in the Book of Acts, Christ’s words were as “choice silver” to the masses. Luke recorded how valuable His words were to the people. In Luke 21, the people came early in the morning to Him in the Temple, “for to hear Him.” In Luke 15, the publicans and sinners drew near to Him “for to hear Him.” In Luke 6, a great multitude of people came “to hear Him.” In Luke 19, the Pharisees were very frustrated in their efforts to destroy Him because “all the people were very attentive to hear Him.” In Luke 5, the people “pressed upon Him to hear the word of God” and that prompted Him to get into a boat and use that as a podium so He could have the appropriate space to speak to them. The just will experience a similar phenomenon in their lives, just on a much smaller scale.
Justice in the heart adorns the mouth and makes it valuable in the ears of its audience. Is your tongue viewed as “choice silver” or is it of “little worth” to anyone?
And we pray:
Dear God, my Creator, Maker, Reason be Thou glorified in my life. I ask that my mind in all ways be focused on Your Word and The Words You speak through Your sons and daughters. Father, when I speak may my words be refreshing to those who hear. May they find guidance in the words I speak because they are inspired by Your Essence. May I never be guided by my own foolishness or the foolishness of another because that will only lead to sorrow. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.