It has been said, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This is a noble, but foolhardy attempt to remain strong in the midst of oppressive speech. Words do hurt. It’s no wonder, then, that later in Proverbs the Bible says that “life and death” are in the power of the tongue. Should we be surprised when the Psalmist prays, “let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight.” Words are powerful, but their origins are of even greater importance. Jesus said that our mouths speak, “out of the abundance of the heart.” The fire that spreads without was first kindled within. Let’s consider this section of Proverbs, taking into account what Jesus said, and the previous Scriptures cited.
To be entirely frank, Proverbs 13:1-5 is playing itself out before our very eyes in our nation, today. The potential wise have forsaken instruction, and become the wicked scorners who refuse to hear rebuke. It’s progress for sure, but progress downward. The blessing of wholesome speech (vs 2) has been traded for the oppression of violence. Consequences indeed come, even to those who intend to bring them upon others. It takes the fruit of the Spirit, the virtue of temperance to control the tongue. Apart from Christ, keeping one’s mouth (vs 3) isn’t possible. The result is a wide open mouth and unruly tongue that bring about destruction.
The loathsome sluggard desires all the blessings that come upon the diligent rich. But he doesn’t intend to work for it. Instead, he intends to rob the wealth of others and use violence to his advantage. He uses his same wicked mouth to disparage the successful, and those who enjoy the fruit of their own hands. But the righteous man keeps faithfully laboring, hating lies. He gives no place to the devil. He remains consistent and steadfast in his walk. That, my friends, is what is required in this present time and hour. Paired with Biblical warnings for those who refuse instruction, and speak lies. Be not deceived, God is not mocked.