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.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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