The Wisdom of the Word and Words - The Road of the Wise

1 Kings 19:1-13

Words of Honesty
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” (Prov. 12:22)

Last Sunday I spoke about deception and its connection with our financial life.
Do you know people who exaggerate everything?
There are people who are experts in distorting reality. They create lies.
Once you are not honest, you start covering the lie; the cover-up grows larger, and eventually it will become a bigger problem than the original lie.
This last season there was a TV program called 24. The president of the USA covered up the truth. Then in order to cover up the truth she made bad choices, and eventually everything went out of control.

No wonder Jesus said, “…and the truth will make you free.” He is the Truth. We will be freed by Him. But it also means that simply saying the truth, living a true, genuine and honest life will make you free. God wants the best of us. God is truth. God cannot take deception. He created us in His image. He wants us to be truthful and say the words of truth.

Less words is a wise choice:
“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” (Prov. 21:23)
I admire people who know how to say things at the right time, with the right words, and with the right attitude.
Have you ever said, “I wish I did not open my mouth?”
People enjoy emailing each other. OK, it is a way of communication. But somehow it is easy to say whatever one wants to say and send it by just one click!
Personally I am cautious with email responses.
I try not to send my sensitive emails the day I wrote it. I keep in the drafts. Next day I see things differently.
“Guard your speech” also means confidentiality. Do you keep your word and not tell others when someone asks you to keep it to yourself?
Are we trustworthy?
I don’t know why we like to break the confidentiality code.
Either we are immature,
Or we want to be in the spotlight. “I know something that you don’t. I feel myself important by revealing it.”
My Mom often quoted a great verse that she taught me:
“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (Prov. 10:19)

Words that build:
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Prov. 16:24)
The Book of Wisdom encourages us to use words that build, words that encourage, words that heal the soul and the body.
-While I was a school principal, I encouraged my staff to use words that would build the body and the soul of the students. I saw the result; the ones who encouraged students, gave positive result. Today those students are parents and hard working citizens of the country where they reside.

Words of encouragement in marriage lubricate the communication. Parent and child, boss and employee, all need words that feed our soul, nourish our soul.
“The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.” (Prov. 10:21)

All these examples are words that we speak.
Now we move on to the words that we receive and listen to.

Who do we listen to?
Words have an effect on us. Whom do we listen to? How does that affect your daily life?

Here is the principle: What we say is what we hear or what we read. Your words reflect what you deposit in your head. The simple question is, where do you get your “words”?
“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” (Prov. 13:14)
If your words are from the “wise person”, they will nourish you, they will nourish you life. They will keep you away from the “snares of death.”
Therefore all of us need filters. As a computer needs McAfee, or Norton antivirus, we need filters to block words that are not healthy; we need to choose the people we will listen to.
I choose not to listen to some emails, some websites which poison my soul.
I have to close my ears.
How about you? How often are you poisoned by rubbish gossip and talk?

Do we listen to those who challenge us in a right spirit?
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear.” (Prov 25:11-12)
Appropriate spoken words in the right time, with the right attitude are like golden apple in a setting of silver. “Just as a jewelry maker sets a finely wrought apple of gold into its silver setting, wise people know how to bring the right word to a situation” (NIV Commentary on Proverbs p.578). Those words are words that help us to grow and learn. But the verse also indicates that when we hear and listen to a person’s rebuke, that is also a fine golden ornament like a precious earring.
We don’t like people who challenge us. Can we find something useful in their rebuke?

How about listening to God’s Word?
“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today, even to you.” (Prov. 22:17-19)

Do we hear the words of God?
Do we hear His voice?
Do we obey Him when we hear Him?
Where is God?
Do you find His presence in your life?

Elijah was afraid after a major victory over Jezebel’s false gods. Jezebel threatened Elijah. Elijah escaped and went to a cave. God’s angel found him and fed him. Then he said go out and listen to God.
Let me read this passage:
“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 King 19:11-13)

Let me tell you from my experience with God; God talks to us in different ways. Silence is a good discipline in order to listen to God. There was thunder, and earthquake, but God’s voice came in a small whisper.

His Word is the best. His Word is alpha and omega. Watch out from the words you use and the words you hear. Learn the discipline of silence, and the wisdom of talking at the right time with the right attitude.

Today God is talking to you. Be receptive!


Rev. Nerses Balabanian,
Calvary Armenian Congregational Church, San Francisco