A north wind brings stormy weather,
and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.
24 Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack
than share a mansion with a nagging spouse (Proverbs 25:23-24 MSG).
The Message version continues with some humor on how to get away from a contentious spouse [most versions use wife here]. Remember it’s Solomon’s depiction not mine. The solution seems extreme. However, the situation is also. Let God help you control your tongue and you will be blessed with his message.
Don’t Be Quarrelsome
This vivid comparison of a gossipy tongue and a contentious spouse is real. It’s an historical problem and a real one today too. Slander, backbiting, gossip and quarrelsome speech are divisive and disrupt positive relationships.
Ask God What to Say
Here is God telling Jeremiah what to do during the siege of Jerusalem.
Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG).
Yes, God is in the business of speaking to people, the Prophet Jeremiah, simple people like Gideon and even simpler people like us! God knows our situation and he wants to hear our requests. Let God help you control your tongue and you will be blessed with his message.
Prayer: Father, I know you love me and want to help me. What a blessing to know you answered Jeremiah and you will answer us today. I’m listening and want to hear your voice.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire upon his head,
And the Lord will reward you (Proverbs 25:21,22 AMP).
Solomon bursts out a few words on how to treat our enemies. His wisdom here is beyond normal understanding. He gives a godly approach in dealing with folks who seem to be our enemies. Today believers have wonderful guidance. Because our help is through the Holy Spirit withour eyes kept on Jesus.
Because God sent His Son Jesus, we see additional meaning. We must do things differently, acting in love, due to the Father’s generosity to us.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, (Hebrews 10:23,24a NASB).
Keep Your Eyes on Jesus
God told Joshua, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you whoever you go (Joshua 1:9 NIV. Today believers have wonderful guidance too. Our help is through the Holy Spirit with our eyes kept on Jesus.
Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me your Counselor. I do struggle with certain people at times. Help me act and react in love. Selah.
The right word at the right time
is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
And a wise friend’s timely reprimand
is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.
Proverbs 25:11-12 MSG)
Here Solomon uses a series of metaphors we need digest and take seriously. Good communication is more than babbling whatever comes into our mind as we speak. Controlling the tongue yields soothing benefits and can bring godly comfort. The right words spoken in a timely manner edify the hearer.
Eugene Peterson’s wording in The Message helps readers today. He emphasizes our need to use of the best words to effectively communicate. Some translations of this passage, read apples of gold which also means soothing/beautiful words. Each makes the point of wisely choosing the right words for the purpose.
A reprimand, after an offense can be harsh or abrupt. However, when done wisely and timely it yields better results. The agility or effectiveness of good communication is an art form which is better than a staccato of words used without discretion.
Tame the Tongue
James, the brother of Jesus, has much to say on communication, especially on the use of the tongue.
With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
My friends, this can’t go on (James 3:10-12a The Message).
James declares we have to control what we say, because we can easily slip into divisive words. Too often, we speak without thinking or without honoring our Lord. Think on this: The right words spoken in a timely manner edify the hearer.
Prayer: Father, help me choose the words you would have me speak. I ask your Spirit to guide me daily in my communication. The words I use should be at your prompting to edify. Selah.