Proverbs 4:24

The Froward Mouth


1. Solomon has just told his son to keep or guard his heart with all diligence, for out of it are all the issues of life. (vs.23)

2. The heart affects every other area of our life… it is the inner control center of our being.

3. Thus, Solomon expands on that same thought and mentions a few of the issues of life that have their source in the heart. (mouth; eyes; feet)

4. Tonight we will consider what he says about the mouth…

Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

1. This passage is a synonymous parallelism – he states the same thing in two different expressions for emphasis.

a. The froward mouth is equal to the perverse lips.

b. Putting away is = putting far from thee.

2. Froward mouth = distortion, crookedness

a. A froward mouth is one that speaks of distortion… distorts the truth… and is crooked… dishonest… not straight…

3. Perverse lips = deviation, perversity, crookedness

a. Perverse lips are lips that deviate from truth or holiness.

b. Perverse lips speak of perverse things… vile… immoral…

c. Both terms (perverse; froward emphasize lying and deceit)

4. Put away… Put far from thee…

a. Put away = to cause to turn aside, cause to depart, remove, take away, to put aside, reject, abolish

b. Put far from thee = to send far away, to make distant.

5. The passage is quite simple and straightforward. It is not hard to understand! That’s simple. But it is hard to obey!

a. Jas. 3:2 – we all offend others with our tongues… our speech.

b. Jas. 3:8 – no one has been able to tame the tongue yet.

c. Nevertheless, both James and Solomon have given us commands to TRY to tame the tongue.

d. We tame the tongue the same way we have victory over any other sin – by trusting in Christ…
• Reckon or believe that the old man who had perverse lips is dead.
• Reckon or believe that a new man with a tongue of praise is alive.

6. In context, Solomon’s point is that his son (and us!) ought to concentrate not on our tongue, but concentrate on our heart!

a. Out of the heart are all the issues of life… including the things our tongues say.

b. Matt. 15:18-19 – Whatever we SAY originates in our heart. False witness (lies) and blasphemy (evil speaking) originate in the fallen heart of man.

c. Prov. 12:19-20 – The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counselors of peace is joy.

d. Solomon’s advice is quite sensible.
• We should guard our heart… and in doing so, we will be putting away evil speaking.
• Don’t concentrate so much on the words we say… but concentrate on the attitude of our heart.
• If the heart is right with God, the words that proceed out of it will be pleasing to Him because they flow from a heart that is right with Him.
• If our heart is NOT right with God—the words that proceed from our heart will NOT be pleasing to Him… even if they were good and truthful words! The source was evil!
• Prov. 26:24-26 – There can be much evil in the heart—and that heart attitude makes whatever comes out of the mouth evil! Hypocrisy is deceitful.

7. The expression “froward mouth” is used a couple of other times in Proverbs.

a. 6:12 – a wicked person walks with a froward mouth
• vs.14 – note that the frowardness was first in his heart before it was expressed in words.
• He is up to mischief continually…
• He sows discord…
• If this is the kind of mouth that characterizes the wicked person, let it not characterize us as Christians! Put it away—far away!

b. 8:12-13 – divine wisdom HATES the froward mouth… so should we!
• Different but similar word for froward… (perverse)
• If you fear God, you will hate a froward mouth.
• Once again, it is a heart issue. If we fear God in our heart, that will have an immense effect on the kind of things we say… and the tone with which we say them…
• There will be a reverence for God and spiritual things… and a hatred for that which is perverse and evil.
• Prov. 6:16 – again, God states that HE hates the sin of lying. (it ranks #2 on God’s list of hated things!)
• Prov. 12:22 – lying lips are an abomination to God.
• Prov.13:5 – we too should hate lying!

8. Psalm 52:2-3 – the tongue can be like a sharp razor… deceiving.

a. The tongue can do a lot of damage… and inflict a lot of hurt… like a razor!

b. It is often deceptive—and that seems to be Solomon’s main point concerning the tongue in the proverbs passage… a crooked or dishonest mouth… “forked tongue”

9.) Prov. 26:28 – A lying tongue hates those that are afflicted by it;

a. It afflicts another person with distorted, froward words because it hates them.

b. It often smites them secretly—behind their back, when they are without defense.

c. When someone spreads lying gossip about another person, it demonstrates that they HATE that person.

d. They are trying to harm him or her. It is just like punching them in the face… or stabbing them in the back with a knife… only words can hurt longer.

e. No wonder we are told to put away such a lying tongue. We should not be demonstrating hatred towards others, but grace and forgiveness and kindness.

9. Ps. 31:12 – what do we do if someone is lying about us or slandering us?

a. Ask for God’s mercy (vs.9) Why mercy? Haven’t YOU and I been guilty of speaking evil of others? We need mercy!

b. Vs.13-14 – Place your trust and confidence in God—that He will take care of the situation. We need not take matters into our own hands and strike back. Leave it to God.

c. Vs.15 – realize that God is sovereign over our times… trust Him.

d. Vs.16 – pray for His blessing in the situation.

e. Vs.18 -Pray that the slander will come to nothing.

f. Vs.19 – Rejoice in God’s goodness; don’t dwell on their evil!

10. Prov. 12:13 – eventually the wicked will be snared or caught in his own web of lies!

11. Solomon tells his son to put away a dishonest mouth.

a.) Paul tells us to put away a lying tongue too (Eph. 4:25)

b.) Paul takes it a step further too—put away lying and speak the truth! Holiness is MORE than the absence of evil. It includes the positive side too—goodness and truth! (Cf. vs. 29 – no corrupt speech but that which is edifying)

c.) Eph. 4:31-32 – once again Paul says to put away all kinds of evil speaking.
• But notice that in verse 32 he speaks of concentrating on the heart!
• Be tenderhearted… kindhearted… forgiving heart…
• THAT will result in kind, truthful words!

12. Ps.19:14 – we should PRAY that the words of our mouth which arise from the meditation of our heart would always be acceptable in God’s sight!

13. Ps.141:3-4 – PRAY that God would enable us to watch our mouth… and that our heart (from which our words arise) would be inclined toward God and not toward evil.