“He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.”
Living a healthy and effective life begins with a pure heart. It begins with character. Those who have a pure heart and strong character will speak wise and gracious words, because words are a reflection of the heart. “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.” (Proverbs 16.23)
Wise people with a pure heart speak words of wisdom that people value, especially people in positions of leadership. Well, at least wise leaders will value the wise words of people with character. Scripture says, and history teaches, that foolish leaders do not listen to the wise words of character-driven people; rather, they listen to the foolish and destructive words of deceitful people.
“The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the traitor.”
The Lord pays attention to and protects the words of people who pursue knowledge and truth, but God opposes and defeats the words of foolish people. Like other proverbs, this is not a promise of something God does right now. It is something he does over time. Our task is to trust God and be people of truth and wisdom in our time and place in history.
“The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!”
Lazy people make up excuses -- often silly, stupid excuses -- for not not doing work. Lazy and cowardly … not a very good combination.
“The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit; he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.”
This proverb goes back to the extended teaching earlier in Proverbs that warns the young son about the danger of being seduced by the forbidden woman. “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.” (Proverbs 5.3-4)
The seductress speaks with sweetness, but what she actually brings is poison, and it will destroy you. Sin of any kind works precisely this way. At first it is appealing, attractive, and pleasurable. But eventually, it distorts and destroys. To pursue the forbidden woman -- to deviate from God’s design for sex -- is to follow a dark, dangerous, deadly path.
More tomorrow ...