How long do your words last? There are many people who sat a whole lot - but whose words don't last very long. There are others who actually spend more time listening than they do speaking. It seems that they obtain wisdom much more often - and that their words are remembered far longer.
Here we have the false witness presented to us first. He is the man who speaks lies. He may not be lying on purpose though. He may just be listening to those who do not know the truth. He also may have bought into a system that is based upon false knowledge - or one that denies the veracity of Scripture. False witnesses tend to gather to themselves a number of people who will listen to their words. Scripture warns about a time when people will not tolerate sound words. They will instead gather to themselves teachers who will give them what their itching ears what to hear. They don't want the truth because the truth will cost them. Therefore they prefer those who will tell them what they want to hear. The problem though with such false witnesses is that they will perish - and those who listen and follow them will perish alongside them. Paul warned young Timothy to watch his life and his doctrine closely. He said to persevere in these things - because by doing so he would not only guarantee his own salvation - but also the salvation of those who listen to him as well. That is the saddest aspect of those who listen and gather false witnesses to themselves. They will wind up with the same sins, the same judgment, and in the same hell as their teachers.
There is a second man presented to us in today's proverb . . . a wise man. He is one who listens to the truth. It is interesting that while the false witness is all about speaking, the wise man is far more about listening. He listens to the truth. What is being said here is that he listens to the Word of God. James told those in his letter to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. He knew that a wise man becomes wise because he chooses to listen far more than he does speak. Therefore he knows the truth - and can speak it when it is needed. We see that in today's proverb. While the false witness perishs - the wise man who listens to the truth speaks forever. His words far outlast his days. How can a man speak this way - having his words last forever? It is not through the wisdom of this world and the scholars who love this world. It is by speaking the Word of God. This man's words last forever because they are God's Words. God's Word is eternal. We read in Psalm 119, "Forever O Lord, your word is established in heaven." We read again in Peter's first letter, "The grass dies, and the flower fades, but the Word of our Lord endures forever." Want to speak in a way that will last? Then speak according to God's Word - or even better - just speak the Word itself. That is the way to speak lasting words that will truly impact those who hear you - not just for a day or a week - or even a year. God's Word lasts forever!