Being a man of few words will lead others to consider you wise - even when you are a fool! That is the promise made to us in today's proverb. It is not meant to be an encouargement to be a much quieter fool of few words. It is meant to be a reminder that talking incessently will be a problem - and will lead many to see you as a fool.
The fool mentioned here is a man who is foolish in the sense of his hatred of wisdom. He not only hates wisdon, but he chooses to walk in folly - despising both wisdom and morality. Yet when this foolish man remains silent and closes his lips - it is much more difficult to discern these things. Men consider him wise - and even prudent when he does this. They equate to him understanding and insight. We need to learn from this passage. There is honestly wisdom in being quiet and learning to restrain our penchant for speaking. We want to put our two cents worth into a conversation - but unfortunately may not know that we didn't even have that much to put into the pot.
One of the reasons we should remain silent is to see the salvation and power of God at work as we look to Him. As I share my faith I think that if I could only have said a few more things - or made an awesome point - then they would have come to Christ. But the fact is that my speaking will bring no one to Christ. What is needed in the power of God. Therefore it is a wise man whose words are heard more by God than by men. When we pray and look to Him to work - than He works to bring men to conviction, repentance, and faith!
Other times to remain silent are when we want to despise our neighbor openly - making statements about them - or even to them. But when we hold our tongue and keep silent, Proverbs 11:12 says that we are being wise and understanding. Often silence will keep us from saying something that will needlessly offend our friend and make them closed to the gospel.
Remember this as we close today's proverb. God can do more with a few words that we can do with an entire novel of our own. When He speaks - things happen! Therefore we need to restrain our words - to be the ones that He desires for us to speak. Then we can know that the words we speak will contain real power - real comfort - real conviction - and real love. When people hear us speak in this way - they will know that we are wise men and women.