Proverbs 18:7

A Destructive Mouth



1. This is another proverb about speech in this chapter.

2. The previous proverb spoke of the consequences of a foolish mouth… but in terms of contention and arguing.

3. This proverb also speaks about the consequences of a foolish mouth, but this time in terms of the TROUBLE it brings to the fool himself.

A fool’s mouth is his DESTRUCTION

1. Destruction Defined:

a. This word comes from the verb ?a?a? meaning to be broken or afraid. It is used most often in a figurative sense in Proverbs to describe the ruin of the foolish.

b. Strong’s: destruction; ruin; terror; a breaking; terror; dismay.

c. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: Undoing; a ruining of a person’s state from health and peace to a life of disrepair and disrepute, and hardship.

2. The term Solomon used here speaks of the RUIN a person brings into his own life because of his big, foolish mouth. And Solomon mentions this truth often in Proverbs.

a. Prov. 10:14 – The mouth of the fool is near destruction.

b. Prov. 13:3 – The one who opens wide his lips has destruction.

c. Prov. 17:20 – The one with a perverse tongue falls into mischief (different term = bad, evil, calamity).

d. Thus, it is the mouth of a fool that brings calamity into his life; a WIDE open mouth; a perverse tongue.

e. There are certainly OTHER ways to bring destruction into our lives, but Solomon has our big mouth in mind here.

3. Jas. 3:5-6 – A few words can set the world on fire…

a. A fire brings destruction to everything in its pathway.

b. Fires come in all sizes—from the small backyard fire that little boys are tempted to light… to the raging wildfires that destroy thousands upon thousands of acres out West each year.

c. A fire starts off very small—as a tiny spark. But it spreads rapidly and easily rages out of control… the result of which is destruction…

d. James tells us how destructive the tongue can be in general.

e. Solomon tells us how destructive a fool’s mouth can be to himself!

4. II Kings 5:20 – Gehazi, Elisha’s servant lied and said that Elisha sent him to Naaman to receive a gift.

a. This was a boldfaced lie—in order to get silver for himself.

b. II Kings 5:21-27 – Gehazi was snared by the transgression of his lips.

c. He lied and at first was successful—for he did get the silver.

d. BUT—he was smitten with leprosy! He was snared… by the pit he dug for himself.

e. His foolish mouth was his own destruction.

And his lips are the SNARE of his soul

1. Snare defined:

a. Strong’s: A trap used to catch animals; bait, lure, snare.

b. Used figuratively of entrapment, i.e., what captures and controls another. It comes to mean a moral pitfall.

2. Solomon uses the snare in a figurative sense, obviously.

a. His lips… his speech become a snare… a trap.

b. Ecc. 10:12 – his own words swallow him up.

3. This snare is figurative, for it ensnares the SOUL of a man.

a. Soul here has the meaning of the whole person or his life.

b. A man’s LIFE can become lured away, ensnared and trapped…

c. And often this is to be traced to his lips… his foolish, thoughtless, arrogant, insensitive, careless, mean-spirited speech.

d. His own words will come back to bite him.

e. It becomes a snare for his SOUL… his whole LIFE is affected by the consequences of his big mouth.

f. Eventually, it brings destruction to his person… ruin to his life… and it will catch up to him sooner or later like a trap.

4. All sin results in a snare of one sort or another. (Prov. 29:6)

a. The righteous are delivered from that snare. Avoiding transgression enables them to avoid the consequences of transgressions. Hence, they can go on singing.

b. But fools are not delivered. They are taken in the snare.

c. This is true of sin in general.

d. All sin comes with built in consequences. This is especially true of sinning with the mouth!

5. Prov.12:13 – The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips.

a. There are countless ways to transgress with one’s lips.
→ Men lie with their lips… and are caught in their web of lies.
→ Men deceive with their lips…
→ Men brag and boast with their lips.
→ Men curse with their lips.
→ Men threaten with their lips.
→ Men blaspheme with their lips.
→ Men gossip with their lips.

b. Sins like these eventually bring a snare.

c. Men and women who lie, gossip, and deceive others eventually get caught.

d. Once caught, they are trapped… no way out… caught red handed…

e. And depending upon the severity of the verbal sin, the trap can be anything from caught in embarrassment, to being trapped in prison!

6. Ecc. 7:9 = fools are easily angered, and in anger say things that will become a snare for them… destruction.

a. How many times have we trapped ourselves because in anger we said things we regretted later!

b. Solomon says that it is a fool who acts hastily and rashly… and is easily angered.

c. That man will inevitably say things that will BIND him in a trap. (I’m not doing this ever… You’ll never get me to change my opinion… Over my dead body I’ll do such and such…)

d. The foolish language we use in anger tends to paint us in a corner… with no way out. That’s a snare.

e. Of course, the way out is to eat humble pie, apologize, say “I was wrong.” And change direction.

f. But apart from a change of heart and repentance, our angry ranting and raving leave us trapped.

g. I know people who have gotten divorces—when they really didn’t WANT to… because they trapped themselves with words and arguments and were too proud to admit it.

h. The rest of their lives were snared…

7. Prov.21:6 – fools use their mouths to lie and gain treasure, but it becomes a snare. (Cf. I Tim. 6:10 – money pierces)

a. The one who loves money and LIES with his tongue to obtain it, will discover sooner or later, that his tongue did not bring him blessing but cursing.

b. It is like seeking death… not treasures.

c. I Tim. 6:9-10 – some men gain wealth through lying with their tongues. The love of money that motivates that kind of behavior has some painful consequences: it comes back to bite you—it pierces you through with many sorrows.

d. It is a trap… there is some attractive bait dangled before the eyes… but in the end, it is not a blessing but a cursing.

e. Lying lips ensnared his soul… affected his whole life.

8. Prov. 6:1-2 – snared with the words of your mouth… by making promises you are unable to keep.

a. Surety for thy friend…
• Surety = to pledge, exchange, mortgage, undertake for, take on pledge, give in pledge.
• This speaks of a man who has either promised to pay a debt or obligation for a friend, or has pledged his own money or property as security for a friend.
• It is like co-signing on a loan for someone—or putting your property up as security on a loan.
• There are consequences if that friend doesn’t pay!

b. Stricken thy hand with a stranger…
• Clapping one’s hands was similar to a handshake today. It sealed a deal or a business transaction.
• Again, he is speaking about a binding financial obligation to a stranger… a bank… a loan shark… a business partner…
• Co-signing a note for a friend might appear to be quite generous and kind.
• There may be times when it IS the RIGHT thing to do. (Your son’s first car… student loans…)
• But there are other times when it is a FOOLISH thing to do.
• A casual friend at work who fell upon hard times…
• A relative you know is irresponsible…
• A teenager who needs a brand new car…
• A risky or questionable business deal…

c. In such cases Solomon says that you are SNARED with the words of your own mouth…

d. Fool hardy promises that proceeded from his lips resulted in snaring his life… he’s trapped!

9. Thus, Solomon speaks of several WAYS in which our foolish words ENSNARE our souls.

a. Transgressing with our lips…

b. Words of anger and the trap that brings…

c. Lying words bring a snare…

d. Foolish promises from our lips can also bring a snare.

e. There are probably 1001 other ways we can use our tongues to ensnare our souls.

f. A young man can RUIN his life because of his big mouth.
• Because of his big mouth he might get kicked out of school… and never graduate…
• Then he needs to take on a low level job that he doesn’t like… and because of his big mouth, he looses that job too…
• Because people don’t want to put up with his mouth – he goes from one job to another… until finally his resume of short-lived jobs keeps him from working at all…
• Because of his big mouth he has few friends…
• Because of his big mouth he could find himself in trouble with the law too.
• Until he deals with the SOURCE of his calamities (his big mouth) he will continue to stumble through life… from one disaster to the next.
• He becomes exhibit A to demonstrate the reality of Proverbs 18:7 – “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.”

g. Using caution with our speech can keep us out of a LOT of trouble… it will keep us free from many traps others fall into.

10. Matt.12:37 – ultimately, our words could condemn us! We will have to give an account for every one of them before the Lord.

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