Grace. Truth. Family.

A Few More Words on Words…

On Friday I joked to Pastor Aaron that for this sermon, I had way too much to say on saying way too much.  I ended up cutting over two pages of material due to time constraints and to keep the flow moving.  Here are a few thoughts on two verses I cut, as well as a “bonus” thought that was a bit too PG-13 for the kiddos on Family Sunday…

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

            You might have heard it said that laughter is the best medicine.  There’s biblical truth to that!  The power of an encouraging word is such that even anxiety can be defeated by an edifying individual.  One of the ways to deal with the stress of anxiety is to be around people who will uplift you and speak positive biblical truth into your life.

            Many times anxiety can have a depressing effect on people, but this verse encourages someone struggling with it to maintain the discipline of regular church attendance.  Fellowship in a Life Group or ABF can be just the thing some people need to help lift their hearts from their anxiety and worry.

Proverbs 13:3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (ESV)

            Once again we see the phrase “comes to ruin” in connection with the gossip.  We saw that at least 3x in the sermon (10:8, 10, 18:7).  Unlike the others, this proverb at least hints towards what it means to “come to ruin.”  Here, the contrast helps define it.  “Comes to ruin” is contrasted with the one who guards his mouth and “preserves his life.”  If phrases are truly antithetical, perhaps coming to ruin has something to do with losing that life, or that quality of life.  Certainly the effects of gossip are destructive enough to ruin both your life personally and divide others around you.

Bonus Thought on Proverbs 13:3 (PG-13)

            Proverbs 13:3b reads, “he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”  The Hebrew word behind “opens wide” occurs only one other time in the Bible: Ezekiel 16:25.  There, it is a crude expression for a promiscuous woman who “spreads open” her legs to those who pass by.  The expression is so crude that it tends to be smoothed over in the English texts (ESV translates it “offering yourself”; NASB translates quite literally, “you spread your legs to every passer-by”; KJV has, strangely, “hast opened they feet to every one that passed by”).

            If the sexual connotation carries over into Proverbs 13:3, the verse may liken the wide open lips of the gossip to the legs of a woman prostituting herself to everyone who walks her way.  It’s a very graphic way of describing the babbler.                   It would not have been appropriate to draw out the sexual nature of the Hebrew phraseology with kindergarteners in the room, but understanding the full nature of the wording really paints an explicit picture of what God thinks of the gossiper.


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