The Mouth of the Righteous Man
1. This is an important topic in Proverbs.
2. Consider how often the subject appears:
a. Mouth – 52 times
b. Lips – 42 times
c. Words – 40 times
d. Tongue – 19 times
e. About 150 times in 31 chapters (5 times per chapter!)
f. That does not even include the many other times the topic appears using different wording…
3. This is a huge subject in the book of Proverbs. Can you guess why?
a. James says, “in many things, we all offend” (3:2)
b. The tongue is a fire; a world of iniquity! (3:6)
c. The tongue can no man tame! (3:7-8)
4. Our tongue is flapping all day long…
a. It constantly expresses what is going on in our heart at the moment.
b. What it expresses is not always in harmony with the holiness of God.
c. This is a spiritual problem we all face… some more than others… but let’s face it—we ALL have problems with our mouths.
The mouth of a righteous man
1. Most of the passages in Proverbs deal with a froward mouth… warnings about the evil that comes out of our mouths.
a. Most of the passages are warnings about the evil use of our mouth.
b. However, this verse is very positive about the mouth.
c. This verse speaks of the GOOD that can and should come from our mouths.
2. Here Solomon speaks about the mouth of a righteous man… a godly man.
a. A righteous man will speak of righteous things.
b. This is the RULE. Obviously there are exceptions.
• Sometimes righteous men speak evil things… they murmur… complain… gossip… slander… tear down…
• But as a rule, righteous men speak of righteous things.
c. Ps. 37:30 – The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
• Why does the righteous man speak wisely? Why is he discerning?
• Because the Law of God is in his heart. He is a man of the Scriptures!
• His mouth speaks of wisdom because wisdom is in his heart.
• This is good old-fashioned common sense: if you want to hear someone speak of righteousness, then go to a righteous man!
• If you want to hear Chinese spoken, go to a Chinaman. If you want to hear Russian spoken, go to a Russian. If you want to hear French spoken, go to a Frenchman. And if you want to hear righteousness spoken, go to a righteous man! It only makes sense.
• You won’t hear righteousness spoken by the ungodly. They don’t speak that language. It is foreign to them.
• Rom. 3:13-14 – the mouth of the ungodly.
d. 10:31 – The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom:
• The word for “just” here is the same Hebrew word as is translated righteous in 10:11. (Hence, this is the mouth of the righteous…)
• Here Solomon states that the mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom.
• If you want wisdom, go to a righteous man.
• The Bible speaks often about our need for counsel.
• One of the most important pieces of counsel we will ever receive is when we are counselled as to where to find good counsel!
• Walk NOT in the counsel of the ungodly. (Ps. 1:1)
• But if you want good counsel… if you want wisdom… then go to a place where you can get it! Go to a wise man… a godly man… a righteous man.
• Not every believer qualifies. Sometimes well meaning, but ill taught Christians give poor counsel… worldly counsel… spiritually damaging counsel.
• But the mouth of the just is a source for WISDOM.
e. 10:32 – The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable.
• The righteous man also knows what is acceptable. (fitting; good; appropriate)
• Righteous men have discernment… and not only know what is good and right, but they also know what is an appropriate way to communicate it… they seem to have discernment in knowing the appropriate timing… a fitting way to present it…
• Col. 4:5 – Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
• Prov. 25:15 – a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
• I have heard some believers speak truth… but in a loud, boisterous, obnoxious way.
• They don’t seem to know an appropriate manner and tone to say it… a fitting context in which to speak… or the proper timing…
• The lips of the righteous man know what is acceptable… fitting.
• Pray for that kind of discernment. It is priceless beyond rubies!
The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life
1. A well of life—figurative language
a. A well is a SOURCE of water… a source of something to refresh the soul.
• Those who live in a desert area go to the well weary, and expect to be refreshed.
• The well is FULL of water… cool, refreshing water.
• Nothing is better than water when you are hot and thirsty.
• A thirsty soul needs water… and a well is a deep source that meets that need.
b. The mouth of man is a SOURCE too.
• The mouth of the wicked is a source of evil… because the man is evil… his heart is evil. (Matt. 15:18-19)
» The mouth of the wicked is a well of sin and death…
» When you talk to an evil man you can expect evil to pour forth from his mouth.
» A contaminated well brings forth contaminated water.
• The mouth of the righteous is a well of life.
» If the man’s heart is right with God… a pure heart… a regenerated and Spirit filled heart… then that which comes out of the mouth is going to be good…
» Out of that man’s heart come righteousness and life…
• Examples of the mouth of the righteous in Proverbs.
» Prov. 10:20-21 -T he tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. 21The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
» 12:14 – A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: (see 13:2)
» Just as a well is a place where the body is satisfied… thirst is quenched… the lips are “fed” what they need… so too the mouth of the righteous brings satisfaction… and quenches thirst.
» Is your mouth like that? Does it satisfy or does it murmur and spew out dissatisfaction?
» It is difficult to even be around folks who are constantly complaining… about their health… the weather… politicians…
» Sure, there are a lot of things to complain about.
» But the righteous man uses his mouth more positively. His mouth is a well of life… a source of good…
» There may be times when it is necessary to be negative… but over all, his mouth is full of good.
2. A well is an unending source… the water just keeps coming and coming.
a. So too with the things that tend toward life… that aid the abundant life…
b. In a righteous man, the mouth will be an unending source of life and good.
c. One expects water every time he goes to the well.
d. One should expect to hear GOOD every time a righteous man opens his mouth.
e. You don’t have to cringe wondering what he’s going to say… (Will his language be off color? Will his joke be irreverent? Will his language be offensive?)
f. A righteous man will speak righteously! Good things continually come from his mouth. There is no need to be constantly on guard around him. You can trust him.
3. Of course, the problem not mentioned by Solomon is the problem of inconsistency. James brings up that problem.
a. Jas. 3:10 – out of the same mouth proceeds blessing (at times) and cursings (at times.)
b. Vs. 9 – We go to church and bless God’s holy name… and then ride home from church and get in an argument with our wife or yell at the kids!
c. Vs. 11-12 – Nature tells us that this kind of behavior is not right…
d. The problem: we have two natures! (sin and new nature)
• A righteous man still has two natures… and still has the potential to use his tongue for good or evil.
• If evil is coming out of our mouth, our old nature is in control.
• If good is coming out of our mouth, the new nature is in control.
e. The discouraging news is that NO MAN has ever tamed the tongue… completely. (Jas. 3:8)
f. The encouraging news is that our sin nature was nailed to the tree… crucified with Christ… and by faith we can walk in newness of life.
• For the believer today, the answer is the Holy Spirit.
• The Spirit in us is also like a well of water springing up… living water! (John 7:38)
• The mouth of the believer, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, will also be a well of life… a source of good for others…
g. We don’t HAVE to allow our tongue to sin. It is our choice.
h. But, it is a choice we need to be on guard against at all times… vigilance.
4. The mouth of the righteous is a well of life… meant for the good of those who come to the well.
a. Eph. 4:29 – Use your tongue to minister grace to the hearers!
b. Col. 3:16-17 – You want to be used of the Lord? Do you want your tongue to be a source of good… a well of life? Then let the Word of God dwell richly in your heart! If it’s in your heart, it will come out of your mouth.