The Power of the
section in Prov. 18 deals primarily with the subject of speech and
communication. (how practical!)
- Vs.17 –
the folly of a person who hears one side of the story and makes up his
- Vs.18 –
contention between parties – verbal arguments
- Vs.19 –
offending a brother – usually through speech
- Vs.20 –
the satisfaction of good fruit coming out of one’s mouth.
- Vs.21 –
the power of the tongue
- Vs. 20
spoke of the pleasant reward from good speech.
- Vs.21 takes
this same thought a level higher.
- Not only
can it produce good fruit worth eating, but it can promote LIFE itself.
- And he
takes it a level higher in the negative sense. The tongue also has the
power of death.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue
Tongue Has the Power of Death
- Power Defined:
hand, the force and ability sufficient to accomplish a task… as an
extension of the hand;
is speaking about the strength or the ability of the tongue to accomplish
a task – either good or evil.
point is that the tongue is a powerful little instrument.
- This is
the same concept that James elaborates upon in James 3:3-5 – it is
a little member, but boasts of great and powerful things!
i. Like a horse’s bit; a ship’s rudder;
or a little spark that ignites a huge fire…)
ii. Though small, the tongue is powerful
because of what it can DO... what it can accomplish…
are exceedingly powerful.
i. There is potential in
the tongue for good or evil.
ii. The pen (which records words) is more
powerful than the sword
- Death is in the power of the tongue.
- A eyewitness
in court can testify against a man and his speech can result in
putting that man on death row… condemning him to death!
- A military
officer can give his soldiers an order that can result in the
deaths of hundreds of people – even thousands!
- A king
can say, “Off with his head” and that man is as good as dead.
consider the big mouth – who is always shooting his mouth
off. If he gets the wrong people mad at him, his big mouth could result in
his own death!
mentions here extreme example of the evil caused by the
course our use of our tongues will not likely result in the
literal death of another person.
- BUT – even
though our evil use of our tongue may not rise to that level, the point
he makes has good application to us all.
result of our speech may not lead to the death of another person, but it can
lead to the harm another person.
tongue can be powerful in an evil way…
results could result in anything from an insult to death… and everything
- It is
unlikely that the careless use of our tongues will result in someone’s
death (or our own), but there are lots of other consequences short of
death that we should be aware of!
3:8 – the
tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
i. Sometimes the poison kills.
ii. On other occasions, it just makes
iii. But always, poison is harmful.
- Prov.12:18 – our speech can be as sharp
and painful as sword. It may not kill them, but it can inflict pain
i. This is figurative language which
speaks of the result of thoughtless speech: it hurts like being
stabbed with a sword.
ii. The figure is one of a man taking a
sword and stabbing someone…
iii. Paul used another figure of speech
which means something quite similar: “But if ye bite and devour one another,
take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” (Gal. 5:15)
iv. There is something about thoughtless
language that is like being stabbed with a sword:
It is painful…
Words can hurt
more than a sword…
paralyze another human being…
It is a deep
wound, not a superficial scratch…
heal over time. Usually there are stitches, some medication, pain relievers,
or ointments that help the heal the wound.
But there are no
pain relievers for the pain of thoughtless words.
It takes a long
time to heal… unlike the scratch…
it cannot be reversed…
18:19 – offending
i. It may not kill the person, but it
can kill a relationship…
ii. Our speech may not actually result
in the death of another person… but we sure can inflict a lot of pain and
iii. Our tongues can be cruel, cutting, &
Tongue Has the Power of Life
There is the power of eternal life in the tongue of the one
who shares the gospel! Words result in life!
- Prov.20:21 – a good tongue can FEED many.
there is such potential for GOOD with the use of our tongues, we should be
careful not only in WHAT we say, but we should be careful in the very
words we choose… and how we speak.
our tone of voice… body language while speaking… even the choice of words &
expressions we use.
and expressions may be used to describe the very same thing… but they can
connote or imply something very different.
but those on the other side of the issue refer to it as anti-choice. (same
position – different overtones)!
I’m also a
dispensationalist. I like to think of dispensationalism as “rightly dividing
the Word of God.” Our foes speak of it as “cutting up the Bible into little
fragments pitting the OT against the NT.”
one of your employees made a big mistake and the department held a meeting to
discuss the issue. You could open the meeting by saying, “We need to discuss
the impact of Joe’s problem for the department,” or you could say, “Our
department has a unique challenge that I’m sure we’ll be able to meet!”
The way we
WORD things can make a huge difference…
If we are careless
we can hurt others… unintentionally.
But if we are considerate,
we can often accomplish the same thing, but do so graciously… and without
offence… and we end up with loyal friends instead of enemies.
Our tongues can
produce fruit – like a tree of life… health… vitality… strength…
supporting and promoting life… good relationships…
Prov.12:18 - the
tongue of the wise is health. Seek to promote HEALTH through the use
of your tongue.
And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
That Love It
- The “it”
refers back to the tongue – those who love the tongue… they love to USE
it. And use it they do!
- This is
a way of referring to talkative people… people who love to talk… perhaps
a little too much!
love to talk… and their tongue never stops wagging.
10:19 – this
man loves to talk.
10:14 - A
fool also is full of words. That’s a sign of folly.
who LOVE to use their tongues should beware… and take heed to Solomon’s
- It is
possible for evil men to speak right words with evil intent.
The Lord knows our hearts.
- It is
also possible for good men to speak wrong words
- The Lord
knows their heart too.
all done it. Perhaps we have repeated something we thought was true, but
come to find out, it never happened!
- We pass
on information that we received from somewhere else, assuming it was
true, but it was not.
- The man
who LOVES good words with good intentions is rewarded.
- This is
what we saw last week in vs.20.
- That man
shall be filled and satisfied by means of the use of his tongue.
- The man
who LOVES evil words with evil intentions shall eat the evil
52:4 – He loves devouring words.
- Men end
up eating that which they love.
Shall Eat the Fruit Thereof
18:6-7 – The
fool eats the evil results of his unbridled tongue.
- He is snared
by his tongue, and it may result in strokes – a whipping!
Whatever we SAY we will have to give an account for one day… by our
words we are either justified or condemned. That should give us
cause to pause before we blab
- There are
always consequences every time we open our mouths. Those
consequences may be negligible, they may be extremely important… even to
the point of life or death.
1:19 – The
fact that we will have to EAT the fruit of our lips… the consequences of
our words… should motivate us to put James 1:19 into practice in our daily
lives: slow to speak!
- Don’t go
overboard and say NOTHING ever for fear of sinning with your
Pray that the
Lord would restrain us from every evil use of the tongue.
Pray that the
Lord would sanctify our tongues for His service – for good… to praise Him and
edify the brethren… and share the gospel.
is that the tongue is powerful… for evil AND for good.
Let’s use it for
good… for health… for life… eternal life!