My dear readers,
The Tongue - A Measure of Wisdom!
Proverbs 15:2 “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.”
The tongue has always been the hardest of man’s organs to control. It is also the most potent and influential organ . Lives have been destroyed and even nations ruined because of a careless tongue. Therefore it is of the greatest importance that Christians learn to control their tongues. We have more at stake, for the Name of Christ is borne by us everywhere we go. When we stumble and fall because of a careless tongue, Christ’s holy Name falls with us. Years of building up a godly witness for Christ could be undone by careless words uttered in a moment of foolishness.
Every Christian needs to guard his tongue well. The tongue is a very powerful weapon. It can be a weapon for good to the glory of God or a weapon for evil to the detriment of Christ and many souls. Proverbs 15:2 teaches us one of the best ways to control the tongue.
I. Useth Knowledge – The tongue of the wise will use knowledge aright. Knowledge here is the Bible, and the wise refers only to Christians. The Christian has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to help him. He is led and guided by the Holy Spirit who can also fill him so that the control of his tongue does not come from the will of man but the will of God. All true believers are wise as they have also been given the mind of Christ. They have the ability to understand the Bible correctly and obey every jot and tittle of God's holy Word. The tongue is the organ of speech and communication. It impacts the believer’s writing as well as his speech. The believer has the ability to still the tongue so that he keeps silent when he chooses to do so. The moment he moves it for speech he must know why he needs to speak. He realizes that what he is about to say needs to be guided and controlled by the parameters of the Word of God. The reason is that the believer has the ability to interpret the situations in his life with the eyes and mind of God. The counsel he gives will be from God and is not his own opinion. With this wisdom within him he uses knowledge to God's glory.
The knowledge here refers to God's holy Word. It is not about using the knowledge of the world which is only good for making money or helping social issues. This is the wisdom of God that helps others know God. When the believer speaks to sinners, he knows how to introduce the gospel in its entirety and in a captivating manner such that the sinner will have a clear understanding of who Christ is and what he must do to be saved from his sin. When he gives counsel to fellow believers who need help, he knows which passage or verse of the Bible will help to overcome the trial. When he counsels an adulterer, he knows how to help him return to the Lord and bring glory to God and show him the way to restore his family life and relationship with his wife. He uses the Word of God accurately and appropriately. He knows and understands that what the world needs most is the Word of God and not the words of man. Therefore he is a good and diligent student of God's holy and perfect Word.
He also counsels from experience. What he shares with others from God's Word he has lived out in his own life. He speaks from his heart with compassion and understanding and yet is firm in his stance. He speaks on behalf of God in his wisdom.
II. Poureth Out Foolishness – Using antithetical parallelism, God’s Word says that the fool’s mouth will pour out foolishness. The contrast between the tongue and the mouth is clear. In the case of the wise he carefully controls the source of his speech, whereas the fool will just open his mouth without thinking and his tongue is uncontrolled. He speaks without thinking! Gossips, falsehood and slanders fill his mouth. He hurts himself including the people in his life. Jobs have been lost because of the foolish mouth. Nowadays in the age of the internet, the spread of foolishness is so rapid that no matter how one tries to take back or retract what has been spoken, the consequences are dire. Accounts of careless words hurting lives and families are innumerable. They are found all over the world! Yet foolishness still abounds. Sinful man does not seem to learn from the mistakes of others and perhaps even his own!
The foolishness described here is in contrast to the Word of God. All the opinions and philosophies of man are included under this “foolishness.” Any teaching that is against the Word of God is foolishness. The theory of evolution is foolishness. Man is surrounded by the great Designer whom he can see night and day but he simply refuses to see and instead claims that God does not exist! Such foolishness will see him in hell when he dies in his sin.
But what is more significant is when a professing believer is foolish. A professing believer who does not read and study the Bible daily as his spiritual food will make many foolish decisions in life. He will shame the Name of Christ by his carnal living. He is foolish! Poor or bad advice, not Bible-based, given to others which does not help them draw closer to the Lord is foolishness. It is foolishness if Christians do what is right in their own eyes when the Word of God is before them to help them do what is right in the eyes of God!
Conclusion – Christians can be wise, for they were made wise when they accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour. The fools are those who have been given the gospel but turn their backs on Christ and continue to live in sin. However, Christians can also be foolish because they can make foolish decisions and are careless with their tongue. They behave like fools even though they have been made wise in Christ. The reason is that they do not study the Word of God and use knowledge wisely like they should. They open their mouths carelessly instead of controlling their tongue. A wise believer is measured by his ability to control his tongue and to use the knowledge of God wisely!
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew, Pastor