The Lips and the Heart
A. The Terms
a. The organ which forms words on the front of the mouth; closely associated with language and speech.
b. The lips are the gates of speech, and hence the gates of honesty or deception, righteousness or wickedness, wisdom or folly.
c. 15:2 – Solomon also uses the tongue and mouth in the same sense… as the gate of speech… to represent speech.
a. Strong’s: Learned; shrewd; prudent; wise (ethically and religiously).
b. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: a capacity for understanding and discernment.
c. This wise man is contrasted to “the foolish” in the second part of the proverb.
a. Strong’s: to scatter; fan; cast away; winnow; spread out.
b. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: as a figurative extension of spreading an object over an area, it illustrates speech… as in words that are scattered like seeds.
a. Strong’s: knowledge, perception; skill; discernment; understanding; wisdom.
b. Dict. of Bib. Lang.; understanding; wisdom, i.e., a knowledge with focus on moral qualities and its application.
c. The illustration: knowledge is like seed. It is to not to be kept in a barn. It does no good there. It is to be scattered over the field… where it can produce good fruit… and do good for many.
B. The Meaning of the first half of the Proverb
1. Wise men speak wise words… and SHARE their wisdom.
a. This is similar in meaning to 15:2.
• There, Solomon states that wise men know how to USE wisdom aright.
• Here, Solomon states that wise men SHARE wisdom.
• Sharing wisdom IS the right way to use it!
2. If you need wisdom, then go to a wise man—or woman.
a. This speaks of the great BLESSING that a wise man is or can be to others.
b. Titus 2:1-5 – God commands the church to take advantage of the wisdom of the older generation… and commands the older generation to DISPERSE the wisdom they have gleaned over the years.
c. Older folks often have wisdom, common sense, and the maturity and calm spirit needed to disperse it to others.
d. If you are an older, mature believer, don’t be afraid to disperse the wisdom God has given you!
e. If you are a younger, less mature believer, don’t be afraid to avail yourself of the wisdom of the older saints! You’ll be surprised how helpful they can be!
f. A good fountain brings forth good waters. A good tree brings forth good fruit. When you need advise or counsel, choose a good fountain… a good tree… and you will get sweet water… and good fruit.
3. DISPERSE: The lips of the wise disperse knowledge; wise men scatter wisdom wherever they go… that’s what wise men do!
a. Prov. 10:21 – the lips of the righteous feed many.
• This implies that a truly righteous man not only possesses wisdom, but SHARES it! He disperses it!
• Vs.32 – they know what is acceptable.
b. A truly wise man will disperse his wisdom with humility and meekness…
• Not in pride… showing off his great wealth of knowledge and wisdom!
• Rather, his purpose is to be helpful… not haughty.
• He will give out words of wisdom in meekness, considering himself, lest he also be tempted.
• He will not look down on the young person for their lack of experience or folly… but rather, in humility will remember the days when they were in the same boat… and will be Spirit filled… Spirit led… gracious… gentle… kind… helpful… and not pushy.
c. He disperses his wisdom and knowledge because he sees the VALUE of it.
• This kind of knowledge is like wealth.
• If we have this world’s goods, and see a brother in need, and don’t share our wealth with him… then how dwelleth the love of God in you? (I John 3:17-18)
• The man who has valuable knowledge that he knows others could benefit from will be willing to share.
d. It is a SHAME not to disperse knowledge if you have it.
• If you have knowledge that can help someone… and you refuse to share it… shame on you!
• Your knowledge might save them from misery… from sickness… from injury… from failure… from a great loss… from death even!
• If we have this kind of knowledge and keep it to ourselves, we are guilty of spiritual negligence.
4. KNOWLEDGE: Helpful, useful, accurate information is to be found coming from the lips of a wise man.
a. Prov. 10:14 – First of all, wise men “lay up” knowledge… like a storehouse. They gather it in.
• Lay up = to hide, treasure, treasure or store up
• The wise person VALUES knowledge. He stores it up like a greedy man would store up treasure. This IS his treasure!
b. But they don’t gather it just to hoard it for themselves.
• They gather it in so that they might USE it for good!
• They gather it in for future use. They may need it later on… even if it is not relevant for today. (Remember that when hearing sermons!)
• You have to gather it in first… before you can disperse it… and share it with others!
c. Ecc. 12:9 – the wisdom of Solomon was seen not only in the wisdom he possessed, but what he DID with it.
• He shared his knowledge with others… and wrote it down for future use… for himself and for future generations.
• He didn’t hide or hoard the wisdom God gave him. He shared the wealth.
• His wisdom was obviously a gift of God… and he felt compelled to share the wealth and not to selfishly keep it for himself.
d. Eph. 4:29 – wise men disperse knowledge that is good, helpful, and edifying.
• Not all knowledge and information fits into that category.
• Some knowledge should NOT be shared.
• Knowledge or information may be true, it may be accurate, but it may not be wise to share it.
• It may be gossip… slander… aimed at tearing down rather than building up.
• Wise men use their knowledge to build up and edify others. It is to be used for GOOD.
e. II Tim. 2:2 – we have a responsibility to share the knowledge we have learned from God’s Word with one another… that they might have it to share with others.
f. The wise man disperses knowledge.
A. The Wise Man Shares Wisdom; the Fool Does Not
1. The fool has no wisdom to share.
a. Instead of wisdom dispersed from his lips come idle chatter, gossip, jesting which is not convenient or fitting, and unkind words. That’s what a fool disperses from his lips.
b. He has nothing worth sharing. He does best when he keeps his mouth shut.
2. Prov. 15:2 – the mouth of a fool pours out folly.
a. This implies that folly doesn’t just trickle out of the mouth of a fool. It POURS out… overflowing… like a fountain!
b. So be careful little ears what you hear!
c. Be careful about from WHOM you seek counsel and advice!
d. Not all men have wisdom. Choose your counselors carefully!
e. That’s why it is not such a good idea for young people to seek advice on important decisions from your peers.
• You would do well to seek counsel from older, more mature, and more experienced believers.
• A fool pours out folly. An inexperienced man will pour forth inexperience.
• In other words… the kind of well you approach is pretty much going to determine the kind of water you get from it!
• In seeking advice from your peers you are seeking experience from the inexperienced!
• In many ways, they are not going to have the kind of knowledge you need.
• The lips of the wise disperse knowledge. The lips of fools… have no knowledge to share.
B. The Relationship Between the Heart and Lips
1. Note the parallels in this proverb:
a. Contrast the wise and the foolish man. (used as opposites)
b. Comparison of the lips and the heart. (used as virtual synonyms)
2. Both the lip and heart are symbols of the SOURCE of our words.
a. Prov. 10:20 – The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. (A contrast between tongue and heart.)
b. Matt. 12:34 – that which comes out of the mouth originated in the heart.
c. Ps. 37:30-31 – he speaks wisdom because God’s Word is in his heart.
• That which is in the heart (be it good or evil) will eventually come out of the mouth… or lips.
• Have you ever blurted things out… and you wondered where that ever came from?
• Did it really arise out of the clear blue sky, or was it not a thought that germinated in the heart?
• The things that come out of our mouths don’t really arise out of the clear blue sky. They arise out of our heart… which when controlled by the flesh is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked!
• What is going on in YOUR heart? Sooner or later it is going to come out.
• The best way to deal with what we SAY (no man tames the tongue) is to deal with our heart… (what we think… what we ruminate over during the day… where our imagination takes us…)
3. A spiritually wise man WILL take care of his heart, knowing that from it are all the issues of life!
a. That heart will be a source of words of grace… a fountain of sweet water… a tree of life bearing good fruit…