Proverbs 18:21-24

In Proverbs 18:21-24 Solomon reminds us again about the power of the tongue. It is mighty indeed. The previous proverb said how what a man speaks could provide for his stomach. Here the idea goes further reminding us that the tongue not only has the power of provision, but also of death and life. He talks about the mouth, the tongue and our lips but all are shown as a very powerful force that needs to be managed and controlled. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Those who are wise enough to love and appreciate the power of what a man says will be blessed and will eat the pleasant fruit of wise and effective speech. We need to show the power of words with huge respect.

Next Solomon makes a statement that I certainly can validate – a good wife is an amazing gift from the Father.  In the beginning, God created a helpmeet for Adam to complete him.  That was a great thing, and God’s creation of woman continues to bless man each and every day. God gave marriage between a man and woman as a gift to humanity, both as a whole and a blessing on an individual level. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” The gift of Eve to Adam was a demonstration of God’s favor, and He still gives that gift of favor. In the modern western world the cultural incentives for marriage seem to become weaker year by year, but God’s declaration of good and the giving of His favor doesn’t depend on cultural incentives.

Solomon reminds us that the world is not fair in how it treats people. It is sadly true that often, when a person is poor in money or influence, all they can do is beg for favor and justice. They are pushed aside and not treated with the same respect as one who has more. “The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly.” The rich man or woman can speak boldly—even rudely—because they have resources of money and influence. Solomon here described the world as it is, not as it should be. We sense in this proverb a quiet plea to make a better world than what is described here.  That would be a world where people are respected as people and equals, not treated differently based on their economic situation.

We are reminded that friendship is a tough thing to gain. This is a basic but often ignored principle. If you want friends, you should be friendly to others. You gain a friend by being a friend. Simple yet powerful truth. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Even when a man has many friends, there is something that will disappoint in human friendship. People will always let us down. The flesh and blood friends of this world are important and a blessing, but we need the Friend who sticks closer than a brother—Jesus Christ Himself, who called us no longer servants but friends.

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