A Multitude of Words
1. Vs.18-21 – all center on the subject of speech—good and bad.
2. In vs.18 Solomon spoke about lying lips and slandering lips.
3. In vs.19 he speaks about a different kind of lips: non-stop lips…
A multitude of words…
1. Solomon first mentions a man who is verbose… a big mouth… motor mouth… one who never stops talking… the multitude of words… flow like a raging river that knows no end.
a. Have you ever met a person who never stops talking?
b. One who has no interest in listening to others…
c. His only interest is in taking and keeping the floor to him or herself.
d. This is not a girl thing either. Men are just as guilty of a “multitude of words.”
e. It is a selfish trait.
• I’m worth listening to… not you or anyone else!
• My stories are the best…
• I have something to say and worth listening to…
• Very often their stories are about themselves
f. There is no conversation… because conversations flow back and forth. This just flows forth from his mouth in a multitude of words that doesn’t allow anyone else opportunity to pipe in.
g. Some folks are ingenious at it too.
• They don’t even come up for air in between sentences.
• They seamlessly weave from one subject to the next… without missing a beat.
• They never have a closing remark… their last sentence becomes a natural segue into their next topic…
• One story reminds them of another story, which reminds them of another story…
h. All one has to do to turn on that endless spigot is to say, “How are you?”
i. This is the man Solomon is describing—one out of whose mouth flows a multitude of words.
j. Prov. 29:11 – the fool utters all his mind (and is proud of it!)
2. Ecc. 5:3 – a fool is characterized by an abundance of words.
a. He has an opinion on every subject—whether he has done his homework on the subject or not.
b. He has something to say about every issue—whether he knows anything about it or not.
c. The Bible does not speak highly of one with an abundance of words. Next Solomon explains why…
1. Ecc. 10:13 – his words begin in folly and end in mischievous madness… but they keep on flowing…
a. In other words, the fool begins to speak folly… but it grows into more and more evil.
b. Like a fire that starts off as a little spark… and increases in heat and intensity and destruction. So too is the speech of the fool.
2. Sins which result from a multitude of words:
a. OFFENCE: Jas. 3:2 –
• In many things we offend all (we all offend—because we all speak… too much!)
• The more we speak, the more chance there is of offending someone—intentionally or unintentionally.
• Talk enough and eventually you are going to step on somebody’s toes.
• Try preaching in the same place for a number of years. Eventually you are going to offend everyone. (No wonder preachers often move every few years!)
b. SELF PRAISE: Prov. 27:2 –
• It is natural for us as proud men to praise ourselves.
• When we tell OUR side of the story, we always come out smelling like roses… while the other guy doesn’t look so good.
• It is sin to praise self… to put self on a pedestal.
c. CONTENTION – Prov. 18:6
• The one who never stops talking is eventually going to stir up some sort of trouble… contention…
• Sooner or later, the one who speaks endlessly and mindlessly, will hurt someone’s feelings… offend someone… get someone angry…
d. LIES – Prov. 6:16 – God hates a lying tongue.
• The one who continually speaks without thinking is eventually going to say something that is not true.
• Perhaps he will exaggerate the truth… stretch it a bit… color it a bit… embellish a story…
• These are all lies before God… and the Lord hates them.
3. The real issue is one of self-control…
a. Have you ever said something (out of a LACK of self-control) that haunted you later on in life? But it’s too late to take it back once the damage has been done.
b. The answer is to be yielded to God and to be filled with the Spirit—self-control… there is no other way to control the tongue.
4. The mouth of the fool is near destruction. (Prov. 10:14)
a. A multitude of words flowing from our mouth WILL result in sin.
b. Sin results in destruction—eventually it will catch up to you.
1. Refrain: to withhold, restrain, hold back, keep in check
2. The term does not imply SILENCE, but CONTROL…
a. Some might see the dangers of speech and be inclined not to say anything… that is not the point.
b. Wisdom demands that we control our speech… refrain it, restrain it, keep it in check… use caution…but not to stop it altogether.
c. In the next verse (20) he speaks of the virtue of good speech.
d. Speech is not bad—but a relentless flow of speech is… because sooner or later something will be said that you regret later.
3. Solomon lets us know that the wise man speaks, but also knows how to STOP speaking… and when to stop speaking…
a. That too is an art.
b. There is an art of conversation. (A valuable tool which can be used for God’s glory).
c. There is also the art of knowing when NOT to speak. (Ecc. 3:7) There is an appropriate time for speech… and an appropriate time for silence. The wise man knows the difference.
4. Prov. 17:27– he that has knowledge spares his words.
a. The wise man not only can discern when to speak and when to keep silent. He also has the discernment to “spare” words.
b. Spare: refrain; hold back. (same word as refrain in 10:19)
c. There are times perhaps when we would LOVE to unload all that is on our mind on someone else.
d. The wise man knows enough to restrain himself… and his words. That is self-control.
e. There are times when just a few words—carefully and tactfully chosen—will suffice.
f. Sometimes a soft answer—with just a few soft words will suffice to turn away anger… and prevent a war of words. Wise men know how to spare their words.
g. Ecc. 5:2 – be not rash (hasty) with your mouth; let your words be few.
h. James 1:19 – The wise man is slow to speak.
5. The wise man uses words carefully… cautiously… sparingly…
a. It is not that he is afraid to speak up.
b. Rather, it is that he doesn’t speak unless he has something to say… something worth saying…
c. He speaks at the proper time… using the right words… sparing his words… he weighs his words before speaking them… they are well thought out… not just blurting out the first thing that pops into his undisciplined mind…
d. Prov. 15:28 – he studies to answer… (As opposed to just “pouring out” whatever comes out!)
• Studieth: muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot,
• He muses… meditates… thinks before he speaks!
• Thus, he will not speak continually. It takes time to speak… to think of an answer.
• The fool just pours out his speech without thinking… impulsive speech…
6. Prov. 17:28 – even a fool with his mouth shut looks wise. But once he opens his mouth, his cover is blown!
a. Keep your mouth closed once in a while, and even if you aren’t wise, you’ll look wise!
b. We should pray like the psalmist, “Set a watch O Lord, before my mouth and keep the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)
• We ALL offend with our mouths…
• We ALL say things we regret later…
• Why not pray for the Lord’s strength?
7. Psalm 39:1 – David determined NOT to sin with his mouth. We all should be so determined.
a. But don’t just pray about… DO something about it!
b. You don’t just pray for your daily bread. You go to work too!
c. Pray for the Lord’s strength… AND be determined not to sin.
d. And if we DO sin with our mouth, confess it… and forsake it.
e. This is a sin that we will have to deal with in our lives till the Lord comes…
8. And since it is such a part of human nature to sin with our tongues, be gracious with others! (Ecc. 7:21-22) Haven’t you done the same? We all have, James says!