September 9 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.” ~Proverbs 15:2

OLD TESTAMENT

The sage on the power of the tongue.Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me. So claims the old nursery rhyme, but we all know it isn’t true. Words, tone, and even intention matter in speech, which is why our mouths figure so prominently in the sage’s advice. We can bring calm to a tense conversation with a carefully worded response: “A gentle word turns away wrath” (Prov. 15:1). And frankly, a lot of the time, timing is everything: “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!” (Prov. 15:23). However, the righteous person doesn’t just blurt out his thoughts—telling it like it is—instead, he thinks carefully before he speaks. “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes out evil” (Prov. 15:28). The tongue is endowed with incredible power, a fact we’ve returned to more than once in this daily look at the proverbs. That power can and should be used for good.

The sage on God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty runs like a thread through the proverbs (pull it out and the whole thing will unravel!). Perhaps this is a reminder that no matter how wise we become, we cannot fully control our lives. We lay wise plans, but God is sovereign over those plans. Without His help we can’t lift a finger or utter a word: “To man belong the plans of his heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue” (Prov. 16:1). We are encouraged to plan, but before we pursue, we are to give our plans to the Lord and ask for His blessing. In Him we trust for success (Prov. 16:3). For even the evil that befalls us and befalls the world is in His sovereign hand—in ways that mystify the minds of scholars. “The Lord works out everything for his own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster” (Prov. 16:4).

The sage on joy. The sage commends laughter and happiness as something that is good for our health (Prov. 15:13, 30). People who are always down in the mouth, or talking about the negative, or complaining about everything that is wrong with the world are just not happy people! They will drag you down with them. However, people who are always laughing have a continual feast of good things to enjoy (Prov. 15:15). It is actually a good thing to read the funny papers, watch a hilarious YouTube clip, enjoy a humorous movie, or take in an episode of Jim Gaffigan! And it is wise to be around people who love to have a good time.

NEW TESTAMENT

Whatever you may be going through, take comfort in this: you worship “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). And when we are comforted, we should in turn comfort others with the same comfort we have received.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.