Proverbs 17

In Proverbs 17, Solomon continues sharing his wisdom.  He begins reminding us of God’s purpose for us – to bring us to holiness and righteousness.  “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts”.  God allows us to go through fire to help grow us.  There is little growth when things are going smoothly.  Real growth happens in the midst of adversity, and while it is never fun or enjoyable, there is a purpose for it and it is a tool God uses to bring us to Christlike maturity.

Solomon goes on to remind us of the joy of grandkids.  “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers”.  Having experienced this joy myself, I concur with his words.  There is no joy greater than what comes from the love of grandkids.  In fact, I often say that the real purpose of having kids is to allow us this joy – the gift of grandkids.  That of course is an exaggeration and not at all the truth because kids are also a joy themselves, but being able to send grandkids home and let parents carry the first line responsibility of care and growth certainly makes it fun.  Of course, as grandparents we still carry a major responsibility.

The power of the tongue is a constant theme through Proverbs.  We have to learn how and when to speak in a way that builds people up and glorifies God.  “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool”.  We have to learn when to shut up, and when to speak a hard truth.  They are very different requirements of our tongue, but it is a vital part of learning how to live a life pleasing to the Lord.

He goes on to give us more counsel on this topic.  “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent”.  There are times when we should be quiet, times for restraint, times to share deeply, times to provide counsel, and times we need to speak truth to the point of rebuke.  There is a variety of ways we need to use our tongue, and knowing when to do what is definitely something we should seek God’s insight and direction for.  The default is probably to say less than more, as there’s a tendency in culture today to live unfiltered which can do a lot of damage and cause a lot of pain.  The truth Solomon gives is the importance of understanding the power of our tongue and words – because words matter and we must use them wisely.

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