Proverbs 15:23

Good Words

23a A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth:

1. The fact that this man receives JOY by the answer of his mouth obviously indicates that his answer is a GOOD answer!

a. Not every answer brings joy… but this one does.
• Unfortunately, many of the answers I’ve given I have regretted later.
• You don’t get joy if your answer was wrong… or deceptive… or untrue… or unkind… or if your motive was impure… or if your answer was intentionally hurtful… vengeful… slanderous…

b. The answer that brings joy is an appropriate answer: well worded… one that gets right to the heart of the matter…one that actually answers the question.
• We receive joy from the answer of our mouth IF our heart is right with God and we are filled with the Spirit.
• If the Spirit is in control of our tongue—JOY is the result.
• If the flesh is in control of our tongue… there is no joy in that… maybe bitterness…

2. Prov. 23:16 – JOY is natural when we say the right thing…

a. Just as you feel AWFUL when you say the wrong thing, so there is a good feeling when we say just the right thing!

b. There is personal blessing in GIVING a good answer… a helpful, kind, Christlike answer. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

c. We can give to others from our wallets. We can also give to others with our words… Selfless giving is rewarded.

d. When we speak the truth IN LOVE… there is reward in glory… and JOY in this life.

e. But our reins won’t rejoice when we speak the truth in order to expose someone’s failures or hurt someone…

f. Some folks might THINK they get JOY from hurting people. But that isn’t joy. Joy is the fruit of the Spirit.

g. They might receive a ghoulish glee from their hurtful words, but not joy.

h. They might get a morbid delight out of hurting someone with their tongues… but that delight is soon replaced with guilt and shame.

i. There is a pleasure to sin, but a short-lived pleasure.

j. Prov. 12:14 – the REJOICING that is brought to our hearts when our words are RIGHT is a sense of satisfaction!

3. Prov. 25:11-12 – a word fitly spoken = apples of gold in pictures of silver.

a. Words FITLY spoken refer to good words… choosing just the right words to say what you want to say. This is an art.

b. Such well spoken words are beautiful…

c. They are as beautiful as golden apples on pictures of silver

d. Pictures: Showpiece; image; idol; picture; carved figure.

e. Perhaps a reference to the beauty of the ornate carvings in precious metals that adorned the Temple and other public buildings.

f. Some see it as a reference to real apples (golden in color) that are served in a silver basket. (good food well served!)

g. Both views make good sense.

h. The point: words fitly spoken are a beautiful work of art! Either way, the emphasis is on the beauty of it… not its taste.

23b And a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

1. This refers to timely words: words spoken at the right time.

i. It is possible to say the right thing at the wrong time and get in trouble.
• It is possible to speak up BEFORE we should.
• It is possible to speak up AFTER we should have.
• It is possible to be afraid to speak up at all.
• It is possible to speak at a time when we are irritated and ANGRY. That is the time to be silent… and wait for a right spirit to return.

j. When your husband just walks through the door after a long difficult day at work—that is NOT the best time to bring up all the problems of the day…

k. A much better season to speak would be after dinner… when he has eaten, has relaxed a bit, and has calmed down!

l. When your son just got bumped off the baseball team he was trying out for… that is not the best time to bring up other issues he needs to deal with.

m. When your wife has just spent a whole irritating day dealing with three sick, crying, dirty-diapered kids… that’s not the best time to talk to her about the long distance calls she made!

4. To have the wisdom to say the right thing at the right time is an art! It is also WISDOM.

a. It is an art and a type of wisdom that not everybody possesses.

b. Learning this art makes our speech considerably more useful and influential.

5. In many areas of life—timing is everything.

a. This is also the case with speech.

b. Unfortunately, we often learn this the hard way… by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time… and smarting for it right after you say it!

c. When investing money in the stock market—timing is everything. If your timing is right, you will do well. If your timing is off, you will lose your shirt!

d. When driving a car, timing is important: knowing WHEN to turn the wheel… WHEN to step on the brake… WHEN to step on the gas… if your timing is OFF… it can be disastrous!

e. In playing sports, timing is everything. A smaller basketball player who excels at timing can fake out a much larger player, get him to jump at the wrong time, and then go up for an easy basket!

f. Timing is even MORE important with our speech.
• Even if we know WHAT to say… we can do more harm than good… if we don’t know WHEN to say it.
• I have heard well meaning, but ignorant believers ask a brother in the Lord, who is grieving at his mother’s funeral: was she saved?
» THINK about the thoughts it will conjure up in the mind and heart of that grieving person if she was NOT saved!
» Wouldn’t it have been a better TIME to ask the question when the woman is up and about and healthy… or even when she was in the hospital and there was TIME left to bring the gospel to her… but NOT at her funeral!

• Timing is important in dealing with our kids. You may have to rebuke your son or daughter about something personal and is a private issue.
» There is a time for that… but certainly NOT when they are standing around all their friends at a school event… so everyone can hear!
» There is a time to speak and a time to keep silent. That was a time to keep silent!
» What damage can be done if our timing is off!
→ Your basket will get blocked; your investment dwindle; your car will hit a tree; your friend’s grief will be increased; and your son will be humiliated before his friends.
→ When our timing is off, we do a lot of damage… especially with our speech.

6. There is a time for everything under heaven. (Ecc. 3:1,7)

a. There is a time to speak and a time to keep silent.

b. The ability to know the difference is priceless.

c. Without that kind of wisdom we do much damage—even if we have all the good intentions in the world. We still do damage!

d. Even if we have good intentions AND a good word to say. If the timing is off that good word will not do the good it COULD have done if spoken in due season… and the good intentions don’t mitigate the harm done.

e. If we are trying to accomplish a good goal with our speech (encourage; rebuke; teach; comfort; etc)… our TIMING of the speech is almost as important as the CONTENT of the speech!

7. How GOOD it is!

a. When a good word is spoken at the right time, it is GOOD!

b. It is good all around!

c. It accomplishes its good goal… it fulfills those good intentions…

d. The wrong timing can UNDERMINE that good goal or those good intentions. But the proper timing ACCOMPLISHES that good.

e. It is GOOD for the one speaking.
• He receives JOY from his well-timed words.
• It is no cause for pride, but for joy!
• It is good when we use our tongues to help someone… encourage them… comfort them… exhort them…
• It is a blessing to the heart of the speaker to be able to be used of the Lord in ministering to another with our words… words well spoken and well timed!

f. It is also GOOD for those hearing the well-timed words.
• He receives instruction… comfort… encouragement…
• The good that was intended is accomplished!
• The one about to throw in the towel was encouraged to persevere!
• The one about to sin was challenged to consider the consequences.

g. It is good because the good word did its job!
→ Words of encouragement
→ Words of rebuke
→ Words of love
→ Words of grace
→ Words of support
→ Words of correction
→ Words of forgiveness

The words of our mouths can bring JOY and GOODNESS

→ Into our home
→ Into our office
→ Into our school
→ Into our church
→ Into our community

May the words of my mouth be acceptable in THY sight…