Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25
Lately our world has gotten crazier and crazier. Knowing what I know because of the reading that I do can really get a guy down. That is why today's proverb is an encouraging word to me - and a reminder that every once in a while I need to hear or read a good word. If all I partake of are words of doom, gloom, and despair over the condition of mankind - I will be overcome by dread. That is why it is a good thing to simply review the gospel - and the blessings of God in my life.
We are told that anxiety in a man's heart will weigh it down. The word for anxiety here speaks of the apprehension that comes upon a man because he sees approaching trouble. The interesting thing is that what this speaks of is anxiety over trouble that we cannot change. There are some things that we cannot change. When God speaks His Word to a nation like ours - and warns of impending judgment - we cannot change this. Therefore to dwell on such things constantly will weigh us down. When God speaks about foolish rulers and foolish societies that bury themselves in debt. When He says that there will be a day of reckoning where these debts will destroy that nation. But there is little that we can do to turn our nation around - it is counter productive to us to spend too much time worrying and being apprehensive about what is coming.
When looking at this verse I go back to the prophets who brought God's Word of judgment to His people. I consider Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel who prophesied disasters that were coming upon Israel and Judah for their sins. How did these men continue in their ministry without being weighed down and overwhelmed. First of all, these men were overwhelmed for periods. I am not sure anyone could not be grieved and weighed down by what these men were hearing. But, their focus did not remain at all times on these things. This would have caused unbearable apprehension if they did.
What allowed these prophets of God to stay sane was the fact that God not only revealed judgment (when necessary), but He also revealed a good word to them as well. Their messages were a mixture of judgment, and promises to revive and restore God's people. Their prophecies included wonderful words about the coming Messiah. This was the good word that would make their hearts glad. It was these messages that gave them something to look forward to in the future. We need those "good words" to buoy our spirits and help us to know that in the end God will indeed wipe every tear from our eye.
If you are depressed about the state of the church, nation, or world, let me take a moment and give you a strong word of advice. Every once in a while (and my advice would be daily - or at least every couple of days) take the time to remind yourself of the truths of the gospel. Take time to look at subjects like heaven. These things will help us maintain a healthy balance in our spiritual lives. If we don't do this we will have the tendency to be overwhelmed at the mess that is all around us. That mess can bring us down and even weigh on us to the point of depression. Remember the gospel. Remember the blessings of God. Remember the promise of heaven. This will serve as a good word that will make your heart glad.
The hand of the diligent will rule, But the slack hand
will be put to forced labor. Proverbs 12:24
Here is a proverb that shows the difference between the lazy man and the one who works hard and is diligent in his labor. Solomon begins with a look at the "diligent." This word referenced the hard-working farmer who plowed the ground and then planted his tilled soil. Such things in Solomon's day were much harder than what today's farmer does. It involved tilling the ground behind a team of oxen - or a mule. It required a person to keep working day after day until the ground was sufficiently broken up and ready for the seed to be planted. Hard working men and women will be rewarded. The passage here says that they will rule. This was the case in that day - and it still is in ours.
One might argue with me on this because of the growing welfare state that seems to be winning the day in our nation. There are a growing number of people who do not work hard, but rather choose to live off the provision of the United States' government. They actually choose NOT to work - and begin collecting various government benefits that are made available to lazy people in our nation. What is happening slowly is that this group of people are gaining power and are learning how to vote themselves further benefits. This is a signal of a nation's downturn. They reward the lazy because they know that as long as they can keep them dumb and filled, they will be safe. But the problem is when a critical mass is reached in a society. That mass is when the ones who pay the taxes are outnumbered by those who demand benefits from the taxes collected. In time such a system will collapse because it encourages laziness rather than hard work.
What will happen in time is that this system - under the weight of its own slothfulness - will fall. When that happens a new set of rulers will emerge. They will demand work - or they will not feed the begging masses. The slack hand (meaning the one that will not work) will be put to forced labor. Look at the socialist countries on the globe. They may have started as a welfare state - but when they have to convert to communism, they will take the lazy and force them to work. If they will not work - such countries let them starve and die.
The way for a nation to prosper is to teach the value of hard work and self-reliance. One thing that is true even now is that the ones who choose hard work - will rule themselves. They may have to pay exorbitant taxes, but in the end, they can choose their leaders. The ones given to laziness and a slack hand - will have to have the socialist and the welfare state rule over them. They are not free. They are in bondage to whoever will give them what they clamor for - more of everything. But as we see again and again, they will not get what they clamor for in life. They will get what paltry sum their leaders give them - and nothing more. Truly to be hard working is to be free - to be lazy is to be a slave to others.
A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims folly. Proverbs 12:23
There are times when you know the right answer, but still it is better to just keep quiet. Just because you know something is not sufficient reason that you should share it. A wise man knows when to reveal his knowledge and when to conceal it as well. There are several proverbs where God deals with how freely we should speak - even speak the things of God.
Consider Daniel in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar. Here was a very wise man - a godly man - and yet a man who often held his tongue while in the court of the king. He could have been a spiritual know it all - and yet he was content to pray, to serve, and to wait for the moments that God gave him to speak. He got them either due to a biblical principle that was about to be violated - or due to a need that presented itself in the kingdom. Either way, he waited and walked with God until the moment he needed to speak. What is so glorious is that when he spoke - he was the spiritual E. F. Hutton to the kingdom - and to the king himself.
We can cheapen spiritual truth - and make it less effective in people's lives when we want to be the bible answer man for everyone around us. Spiritual babbling can actually hinder more than it can help. Another proverb states that a word spoke at the right time, in the right circumstances is like an apple of gold in a setting of silver. Take our Lord Jesus Christ for example. When the Pharisees came in John chapter 8 with the woman caught in adultery, He could have immediately spoken up with a scathing litany of words about their hypocrisy and condemning legalism. Instead He simply bent down and wrote in the sand. When it was time to speak He used an astounding economy of words. "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." Then he looked down again and continued writing in the sand. The area cleared - and Jesus once again used a question that was as simple as can be - where are your accusers? They had no answer - and He gave her the glorious truth that He did not condemn her - and that she should go her way and sin no more. That is one of the most powerful passages of Scripture we have - and yet Jesus chose not to speak a great deal in it.
The reason we should conceal knowledge is because any fool can speak. The second half of this proverb tells us that the heart of fools proclaim folly. Note that the fool's folly comes from his heart. He is filled with foolishness and self at the core of his heart. That is why when his mouth opens, foolishness comes out. Jesus told us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. My father used to say to me that I can keep my mouth shut and have people think I am wise, even if I am not. But when I open my mouth when I shouldn't, I remove all doubt that I am not wise. That is why we are told to measure our words carefully when we speak.
The wise man considers when he is about to say. He weighs his words to make sure that they have the greatest impact. He also weights whether his words would be better left UNSAID. That truly is wisdom. As a personal note . . . I am a "talker" - which means I like to talk when given the opportunity. I think this has become more of a habit as I grow older. But as I seriously think about what God has said, I will have to reconsider my ways - and adopt a lifestyle that speaks less. I will still talk - but at times I will need to weigh whether what I am going to say is of value or not. Then I will have to weigh whether the timing is good enough to say that what I want to say NEEDS to be said. Wisdom requires it - and therefore whatever discipline is necessary will be embraced. One thing I know - it will do far more to respond to God in all this - than to continue flapping my gums - and filling the world with words it does not need.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal faithfully are His delight. Proverbs 12:22
God does not like lips that lie. That might be because the ultimate adversary He has is called a liar and the father of lies. It also might be because God speaks truth without any mixture of error any time He speaks. God is absolutely opposed to lying, liars, and any form of deception. He says in this proverb that he sees lying as an abominable act. The devil believed and held to, and eventually stated a lie when he fell from heaven. Since that time the adversary of God and our souls has attempted to build his own kingdom, one based upon lies and deceit. These lies oppose God and all that He is. That is why God finds ALL lying abominable. Every lie is a damning thing, for it was the lie that brought our condemnation, and it is a lie that condemns anew every moment of every day. Embrace a lie and you are embracing the devil and his program to bring you into the judgment of God.
God delights in the faithful. It is because of God's faithfulness that we are saved. It is because of how God held to the truth, even when it meant having to condemn His own Son for becoming the sin-bearer for mankind. Being a faithful one means holding fast to God's truth, which is THE truth. God delights in those who deal faithfully, because they are embracing His own character. Think about it for a moment. The devil lies to us wanting to get us to believe his lies so that we turn from God and His Word. We trust the devil because he promises us happiness and pleasure. The problem is that in the end his promises don't include the "fine print" of the judgment that awaits - along with the heartbreak and death that always come with sin. Godly, wise men deal faithfully because they know God's truth and they carry within them God's character in the person of the Holy Spirit. Therefore they live for the truth as well as live it out daily.
Wisdom is living out the truth. It is being faithful to God. It is speaking faithful promises. And ultimately it is sharing the ultimate faithfulness of God shown to us in the gospel. This is the life in which God delights. Wisdom is loving that life, living that life, and being an example of His faithfulness.
No harm befalls the righteous, But the wicked are filled with trouble. Proverbs 12:21
When I read this proverb I struggle a little. The reason for my struggle is that I know of many of the righteous who have experienced physical harm. But when I began thinking according to the whole counsel of God's Word, I take a much different view of things. Let's take a look at this passage in light of God's eternal perspective.
No "real, lasting" harm befalls the righteous. The example I will give is that of Paul. In light of this I am going to quote a long passage of Scripture from 2 Corinthians 11."Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure." (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
Paul, after writing this, could have seriously complained about this passage in Proverbs. He could have said, "No harm?! Are you kidding me? Harm is pretty much my middle name!". But that is not what he wrote. Instead he wrote that he would boast even more about these things because they put him in a place of weakness, which he knew made him strong in the Lord. He wrote to these same Corinthian believers that these were only light and momentary discomforts, that were working for him an eternal weight of glory beyond finding out. This only works for someone who maintains an eternal perspective. Paul said this in light of fixing his mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. But when we do this even the things that would seem like earthly harm become that which is an eternal blessing to us. We don't live for the physical and this life. We live for eternity. Now let's look at this verse with God's perspective.
No harm befalls the righteous. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. The list in Romans eight covers it all. Because we are blessed forever due to the righteousness of Christ, we are blessed eternally. One might even say that we have eternal life! Because of this, even the so-called bad things cannot harm us for they are working for our good as we are conformed to the image of Christ. What a glorious truth! What a magnificent promise! Now consider the wicked, who do not know Jesus Christ. Many of them seem to live a charmed life here on earth. Yet our proverb today tells us their lives are filled with trouble. The blessings of the wicked only last in this life. When they stand in the judgment all their life will testify against them. James speaks of how their riches will burn them like fire. The foolish, rich farmer lost everything in a moment. At death all his wealth became evidence against him. There are also judgments that will come in this lifetime upon the acts of the wicked. Truly for them all things will come together for their condemnation.
The key to grasping the wisdom of today's proverb is having eyes that see with an eternal perspective. But then again, that is the key to wisdom at any time. God desires for us to see as He sees. This may not gain us all the world says is valuable sin this world and in this life. But in the end only th perspective of God will be all that matters. May God give us grace to not only see this way, but also to reason and live this way as well.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy. Proverbs 12:20
What are you doing as you walk through life? Are you among those who are plotting evil or with the ones who are promoting peace. Today's proverb shows the contrast between these two things.
First we see those who are plotting evil. What is interesting about this is many who would fall into this category would not agree that they are plotting anything. Yet - because they choose to reject God's Word as truth - and instead make up an argument for their own truth - they are indeed plotting the demise of those with whom they speak. On the day of judgment they will learn the awful truth that their deceitful speaking misled many to where they now stand in the same judgment they do.
Our proverb describes the heart condition of those who devise evil. Their hearts are said to be filled with deceit. The word here is mirmah. It means to intentionally mislead someone by either distorting the truth or withholding the truth from them. The fact stands in all of history that God's Word IS truth. That eternal fact will never change. But there are those who do not acknowledge that God's Word is truth. They hold to another "truth" which is nothing more than error. Because they hold fast to their version of truth - they now hold fast to lies. This means that as they spread them - they are misleading others as to what is truth. They are also intentionally withholding from their students the truth of God's Word. This is deceitful - since truth is readily available to anyone who will read the Word of God with an open mind and heart. What is truly fascinating is the word used for the evil that these people devise. The word for "devise" used here means to plow or till the soil. Hosea uses this same metaphor when he speaks of how Israel was "plowing wickedness" and reaping God's justice as a reward for what they had sown (see Hosea 10:13
). The so-called truth of the ones who deny Scripture - is nothing more than a falsehood and lie that is deeply tilled into the hearts of those who are their students. This plowing with falsehood and evil will one day reap a harvest of judgment if God does not intervene. They are simply plowing evil into the hearts of men - and that plowing will one day reap the wrath of God.
The godly man or woman is one who is a "counsellor of peace." These are the ones who bring the truth from the Word of God and present it to men. They bring the gospel to those who realize that they are facing a dire future in their sins. To be a counsellor of peace is to be a man or woman who presents Christ to the lost. There is no peace for the wicked - but for those who humble themselves - there is great joy and peace. May God make each one of us a counsellor of peace - and an individual who works alonside the prince of peace so that the ultimate message of God's peace, the gospel, may be understood - received - and the cause of great joy to those who hear it with faith.
Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment. Proverbs 12:19
Here is a proverb that seeks to teach us that it is not only better to speak truth than lies, but it is also far more permanent as well. Truth will stand forever. When we speak the truth we are speaking something that is not just true for that moment. Truth is truth no matter what the time frame or generation.
Here is something we desperately need to grasp in our current arrogance. Philosophers of the day hold that there is such a thing as truth for a generation - or for a person. That is nothing more than falsehood. Truth stands as truth no matter the time in which it is spoken. To have truth that is only truth for a time - or a generation - or a nationality - or an individual person is to state that in the end, there is no truth at all. If truth is changing due to the circumstances of the ages or the whims of the populace - it is not truth but rather is the preference of the moment, season, or century.
Truth by its very epistemological nature is always truth. Men do not know this because they reject God - Who alone can speak from Himself eternal truth, which we know in our world as absolute truth. He can speak such things because He is eternal. He is all places at all times, and knows all things everywhere at once. Can we truth any other one to speak with such knowledge and experience? There is none.
Truthful lips will be established forever. Although there is not truth that is applicable to only a single generation, people, or individual, there is the ability to speak truth in the midst of a generation - to a specific people - or even to an individual. When we do this - God will establish our "truthful lips" forever. Many have spoken and written expounding upon God's truth - and have blessed their generation. For those who have been preserved in print - they can bless multiple generations. God will establish their words for they submit to His. Remember this if you want to speak in a way that will be blessed forever. Speak according to His Word and He will establish yours.
There is another speaker - one who speaks lies. That lying tongue will only be for the moment. I think of all the books written, all the articles penned and typed, all the scripts that were authored, and all the plays, movies, and television shows that were ever produced. The ones that reject God and a biblical worldview are legion. In the moment in which they are written, men fawn over their authors - and have even developed sychophantic award shows during which they pat one another on the backs for their achievements. Too often we bow at the feet of those with an Pulitzer, an Oscar, a Tony, or some other form of self-congratulating award as if they deserve to be heard and heralded. Yet if their words do not agree with those of God - they will pass as so much more dust to dust. Their lying words that do not give glory to God will not be remembered past the annals of this earth. They will fade into oblivion as their authors, who decided that they did not need a Savior or the absolute truth of the gospel, spend eternity in endless flame and horror.
In every generation the wind of heaven blows and the grass fades. Every century has watched the flower fall to the ground and the glory of man buried under another civilization. Yet in the midst of all the years there is one thing that has never changed and will never change in a thousand more generations. The Word of our God stands forever. We are to speak according to a Word that will not pass away. We should state those things that will last forever. May God deliver us from lying lips - and instead grant to us faithful and truthful lips that delight in speaking His Word. Such lips as these will last forever - not because of their own worth - but because of the infinite worth of the Word that they speak.
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
Have you ever had someone say something to you that was so cutting that it felt like a sword stabbing you in the heart? Unfortunately, those moments happen - and God warns us about them. Today's proverb reminds us that our words can cut deeply when we speak out of anger or resentment - and do so rashly without thinking about what we are about to say.
Solomon warns his son that there are those who will speak out of the wrong kind of passion. They speak in anger and rage. They speak rashly - and therefore do not consider what their words are about to do to the one who is hearing them. Just about everyone in our world has had one of those moments. We speak out of anger to a spouse and cut them deeply to the heart. We speak out of frustration to a child and crush their spirit. We speak out of resentment to a co-worker and damage our relationship with them. Whatever the situation, the key here is not to speak "rashly." This word means to speak thoughtlessly. The fact is that they just do not take the time to think about what they are saying - and to do so with a graciousness that considers the other person's feelings. Therefore their words are foolish and said flippantly. They usually do not know the damage they are causing till later - and sometimes they don't get it at all. We cannot get our words back once we speak them - therefore we should send out our words with some thought before speaking them. James warned in the New Testament that we should be "slow to speak." Following such wisdom will keep us from broken relationships and from having to apologize for saying something stupid.
There are also those whose tongue bring healing. One damages while the other heals. Their statements can comfort those who have been hurt. They can counsel people to do what is necessary to remedy bad choices, bringing spiritual healing to their lives. There is also another way they can speak - and that is with the Scriptures - which can heal a breach between men - but more importantly can heal THE BREACH between man and God. Such words are spoken of elsewhere in Proverbs as apples of gold set in settings of silver - for they are words spoken in a right situation.
One last thing about this particular proverb - and it comes from a personal experience of reading the Scriptures in my quiet time. I remember reading this particular proverb and thinking that I do not want to use my tongue like a fool swinging a sword blindly. But I also began to grieve - thinking that I wished that there was something more powerful than a human tongue. Then the Holy Spirit brought to mind a Scripture that I had memorized. Hebrews 4:12
says that the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword. It was then that I realized that although human words can cut us - nothing is as sharp as the Word of God. And whereas the careless words of the fool may damage - God uses His Word to cut in a way that brings healing. Hosea speaks of this in chapter six of his prophecy. God was going to use His word upon His people - and it would wound them. But it would be the kind of wounding that would be bandaged and healed later. It was like the wound of a surgeon - who only cuts to remove a cancerous tumor that will eventually kill us. These are Hosea's words,
"Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him." Here we read how the tongue of the Wisest of all was used to bring healing - even though it cut as the words were heard. May we be those who speak the truth - who speak righteousness - who speak so as to bring healing to others.
He who speaks truth tells what is right, But a false witness, deceit. Proverbs 12:17
Today's proverb has a picture to paint for us about being a person who speaks truth and what is right, or a person who is deceitful and untrustworthy in what they say. The picture that is painted for us is framed by the Hebrew word used for "speaking" that is mentioned first in this verse. The word used here is the Hebrew word "puah" which means to breathe. It refers to how we breathe out. This is a word used in a poetic way in the Old Testament. In the Song of Solomon it speaks of the day breathing. This refers to how the shadows of morning flee at the appearance of the sun. Here in Proverbs 12:17
it refers to the way that we speak - but not just in a specific situation. It refers to our lifestyle - or - what kind of things come out of our mouths in every situation in life. Of course what we see in the rest of the proverb is that we either speak truth or deceit.
There are those who speak truth and what is right. "Truth" is the word "emunah" which refers to something true and faithful. The primary thing being communicated with this word is faithfulness. Through the rest of the Bible the word speaks of character - God's in Deuteronomy 32:4
, Psalm 33:4
, and 119:90 - and that of people in 2 Chronicles 19:9
, Proverbs 12:22
, and 28:20. When someone is speaking truth - they are being faithful in what they say. The whole proverb says that they are speaking faithfully - and what they speak is finally defined as "what is right." What does all this mean in the end? The faithful man or woman declares what is right. The word for right is "tsedeq" which is the word that speaks of righteousness - or right by God's standard. It is an ethical word that referred to God's justice and righteousness as represented by the Law of Moses - and by the reaffirmation of God's Word by the prophets. Here, though, is how this works out for you and me in the 21st century.
Situational ethics unfortunately rules the day in our world. Everything is negotiable. There is no absolute truth - except what you yourself are comfortable in holding - and even that only applies to yourself (except when you are uncomfortable with your own standards - and then you can change those too). What is left is a society founded upon shifting sands. But as the people of God - the people saved by His grace - we will stand out like brightly painted, fully lit up sore thumbs! We are those who regardless of public opinion - hold faithfully to God's Word as our source of truth and what is right. We not only believe this in our thinking - we also faithfully speak it out of our mouths. In the midst of a world where the winds of change and compromise drive the public conscience wherever they blow - we are a biblical breath of fresh air when we speak. To some we will be a breath of death - but to those who are being saved - it will be a breath of life to life.
At this point I am going to say some things that will most likely offend people - yet they need to be said. Too often a statement is made like the one above - and yet people will interpret it according to their "situational ethic" mindset. Thus what is right once again is mired in personal opinion. A faithful truth-teller will speak up when it comes to biblical ethics and righteousness. That means that they will speak up about biblical sexuality. Biblical sexuality is abstinence before heterosexual marriage - followed by faithfulness to one spouse in that heterosexual marriage until death parts them. Thus a faithful truth-teller will oppose heterosexual immorality and homosexuality, as well as their off-shoots living together outside of marriage and homosexual marriage. A faithful truth-teller will state that abortion is wrong - in all cases. A faithful truth-teller will openly stand for racial harmony - and will view racism as evil and sinful. A faithful truth-teller will state that we are to oppose greed and selfishness by giving to the poor - but will also say that providing for able bodied people who can work is wrong. Everywhere God's Word makes an statement of ethical morals - the faithful truth-teller will stand - and will speak it. And . . . just in case a person decides to speak the truth - but not speak it in love - the faithful truth-teller will remind them that the spirit in which you say something (i.e. not like a jerk - and with grace and mercy - yet saying what is true even if the truth itself is offensive) is as important as the truth itself.
There is a second kind of wind that blows from the words that people speak. It is the false witness who speaks deceit. The false witness is the one who speaks lies and vanity. The word is used of those who were false witnesses in a trial - who lied on the stand. It refers to a person who says vain things and lives their life in vain. There is little or no other purpose to their existance than to live for themselves and love themselves. Their deciet is an intentional misleading of others by either distorting or withholding the truth from them. Their deceit is evidenced by the fact that there IS absolute truth - but they will not state it or hold to it. As offensive as some will take this - the false witness is the one who does not speak according to the ethical and moral standards held by God's Law and the entirety of Scripture. There IS a right and wrong! God gives it to us by His divine authority - and has revealed it to us in the Scriptures. Not holding to this - or trying to twist it in any way - is being a false witness.
When it comes to your words - what kind of breath flows from you throughout your day? Are you one who breathes forth deceit. Please understand that in our culture this person is the norm. They breathe forth the lies of our immoral and biblically unethical society. We hear them every day on the news - in our entertainment - everywhere. You and I are to be a breath of fresh air. They may not see it as fresh because they have been breathing in the sulfuric lies of the pit for a lifetime. But to speak lovingly and biblically is to speak fresh, life-giving air to those all around you. Speak the truth. Speak faithfully. Speak life-giving, fresh air to all with whom you come into contact! Be a faithful truth-teller!
A fool's anger is known at once, But a prudent man conceals dishonor. Proverbs 12:16
Ours is a society driven by rights and by slights. We are told that we have rights - and as a result of this education we demand them all the time. One of the rights that evidently is near the top of the list is the right never to be offended. That is why we have political correct language that is being ever more strictly enforced in our nation. We cannot say things that will offend anyone else. If the society determines that a certain word or phrase is no longer allowed - that word or phrase is banished from our circles. If someone were so foolish as to speak that word of phrase - he too will be banished - even fired from his job. If he is in the public eye - he will be summarily destroyed and cast upon the trash heap for the foreseeable future - possibly forever. We are the nation with the greatest law protecting free speech (our first ammendment) but also the greatest number of unwritten laws that restrict our speech as well as punish any who dare step over the line.
Our proverb today would help us greatly with our problems societally. We are first warned that only a fool's anger is known at once. The fool has no patience, therefore he is often disgusted and angry with others around him. He takes up the slighest offence - whether overt or covert - and becomes vexed about it immediately. The word for anger here is the Hebrew word "kaas" which means to be provoked to anger. The problem is that this man is easily provoked - and lets his anger blow the moment that he is. As we read here - his anger is know at once. He is unable to control himself - and also unable to let things roll off his back like water off of a duck. Every slight - every potential offence is taken to the deepest part of his being and fully embraced. There is little wonder therefore that he has a tendency to lose it whenever this happens. He is offended - angry - disgusted - and filled with rage toward whoever has knowingly or unknowingly slighted him.
The prudent man is the one who conceals this anger and offence. He is able to ignore the slights and snubs of life. He is able to deal with the insults and general indignities of living in the fallen world. Because he knows the world is fallen - he is aware that things like this are bound to happen. Because he knows he too is fallen - he is aware of the need to be gracious and kind as he carries on life in this world. He has learned to conceal dishonor. The word for dishonor here parallels the Hebrew word for forgiveness. He chooses to forgive and show mercy and grace rather than demand judgment and justice for every slight. He has learned that the merciful are blessed, for they too receive mercy.
Learning to be a prudent and wise man in this way will help you live much longer. The word prudent here is the Hebrew word "arum" which has the idea of being sensible. A sensible man knows that unless he wants his world to be in a continual state of stress, anger, rage, and bitter unforgiveness - he needs to let insults and vexation they can cause roll off of him. By this he keeps his blood pressure down - and his friendships up. If you are prone to become angry and blow off steam in almost every situation beware. You are ruining your own life and living like a fool. Be wise - be understanding - and be aware of the fallen world in which you live. Show mercy and grace - for it will bring you joy even in the midst of a world filled with plenty of ways to become frustrated and angered.