By Mary Smith
Today's Scripture: Proverbs 18:20-21
Central Thought: We must exercise caution when we utilize our mouths.
Everybody has one, and each one serves its owner well. It provides an opening allowing food to enter the body. It covers the teeth and gums when it is closed, and when opened it facilitates speech. It can broaden into a robust smile when a person is happy. It can also create a long frown when a person is unhappy. It can pucker to kiss a loved one. It can also be used to express anger.
It is the mouth; and while it provides blessing, it also poses distinct dangers. Proverbs 18:20-21 speaks of both.
In verse 20, a person's words—referred to as 'the fruit of a man's mouth” (ESV)—can bring satisfaction. The right word spoken at the right time, for instance, can bless the hearer and give the speaker the satisfaction of having ministered to the person he is speaking to.
But in verse 21, the writer quickly reminds us of the dangers hidden in our words. While they can give 'life,” they can also bring 'death.” The same mouth that brings forth words that encourage and strengthen can also produce words that discourage and destroy.
Verse 21 closes with a warning for the talkative. Those who love to hear themselves—and others—talk need to exercise caution. They may one day have to eat the fruit of what they say! As one person said, 'Be careful with your words; one day you may have to eat them.”
Devotional Prayer: Help me, Lord, to be aware of the power of my words. Help me to put them to good use.
Today's Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81; Acts 26:1-32; Psalm 6:1-10; Proverbs 18:20-21