MONDAY, 18 May 2020

Proverbs 18: 1, 2, 6, 7 and 21

1 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions. (NIV)

1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.
2 A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart. (NKJV)

Proverbs 18 starts with verses 1 & 2 about a person who is quarrelsome and rather self-opinionated. On top of that, he is unfriendly and needless to say, understanding is not one of his virtues.

6 The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating. (NIV)

6 A fool’s lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calls for blows. (NKJV)

7 The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives. (NIV)

7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul. (NKJV)

The scene moves quickly to verses 6 & 7 where this other person is foolhardy and his words are so contentious that he is asking for a beating (NLT). Indeed, the mouth of this fool is his destruction, and he traps himself with his lips. His lips are a snare to his very life. How utterly tragic!

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit. (NIV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit. (NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love her [that is, the power of the tongue] will eat of her fruit. (LEB)

Finally, still on the subject of words coming forth from one’s mouth, the tone in verse 21 is no longer expressed narrowly, but more broadly. The impact of this very tongue, the tongue of this person now has consequences not only for the speaker but for other lives as well:
those of the immediate listener, for those around him and those whom he has influence or authority over. How imperceptibly things sometimes move and take a turn for the worse if one is blind to the responses and reactions of those nearby.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue”
“AND those who love her, that is, the power of the tongue (literal translation) will eat her fruit.”

The following was extracted from an article written in a Christian website four years ago, in March 2016. It was written prior to the election of a major head of state. How true these words are, in the light of what is happening in that country now. Perhaps one may describe the author of the article as a prophet of sorts.

The futures of millions of people will hang in the balance in policies that our next (leader) will advocate or obstruct. And when that (leader) speaks, quite literally death and life will at times be in the power of his or her tongue.

Today, we say things in many ways. Our hands write and type, including onto social media platforms, we record our voices, we sing, and express ourselves by painting or other forms of art.

Tongues can be the death of marriages, families, friendships, cooperation in churches, careers, hopes, peace efforts, gospel endeavours, reputations, and, of course, governments. Tongues can stir fanatical nationalistic fervour, incite riots, cause racist polarisation, persuade the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction, start wars. People die because of things that are said.

But people also live because of things that are said.

Tongues can make marriages sweet, families strong, and churches healthy. Tongues can give hope and encouragement to the despairing, teach the unlearned, convey forgiveness and share God’s love.

At the start of each day, do you determine that you shall intentionally speak ‘w͟o͟r͟d͟s͟ o͟f͟ l͟i͟f͟e͟’ to those around you? Or words that pierce like a sword?
Proverbs 12:18 “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise promotes health.”

Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks” (Luke 6: 45). A critical heart produces a critical tongue. A self-righteous heart produces a judgmental tongue. A bitter heart produces a caustic tongue. An ungrateful and discontented heart produces a grumbling tongue.

On the other hand, a kind heart produces an accepting, gracious tongue. A faithful heart produces a truthful tongue. A peaceful heart produces a reconciling tongue. A trusting heart produces a tongue full of hopeful anticipation.

Brothers and sisters, we encourage you all to immerse yourself in God’s Word. Make passages such as Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 13, Psalm 119, Ephesians 2 and Romans 12 part of your life. Let the beauty and refreshing power of God’s Word fill your mind and transform your inner life. Beware spending too much time reading unsubstantiated things on social media, unhelpful articles in the newspapers and the like, which say things via words which are not life-giving.

The world is full of the words of death. Jesus is the “Word” (John 1:1), the truth and the life (John 14:6), and He alone has “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, help make these two verses of Psalm 141 a daily prayer

3 Set a guard over my mouth, LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.

4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
do not let me eat their delicacies.

I pray you teach me how to encourage more than criticize.

May I seek to only speak words that are “helpful for building others up according to their needs” that “it may benefit those who listen” – Ephesians 4: 29.
Most of all, let my speech be kind, tender hearted and forgiving to those around me daily. – Ephesians 4: 32

Give me the opportunity, especially, to genuinely express words of appreciation to my loved ones.
Help me be a person whose mouth is full of words that encourage and build up and not tear down.
In Jesus Precious Name, Amen.

Ps Cheng Cheung

xxx

每日灵粮
18/5/20
作者:张祯祥传道
箴言18:1, 2, 6, 7 and 21

1-2 节
离群独处的,只顾自己的心愿;
他抗拒一切大智慧。
愚昧人不喜欢明白事理,
只喜欢显露自己的心意。

箴言18以1&2节开头,形容一个爱争吵并自以为是的人。 最重要的是,他不友善,明白事理更不是他的美德之一。

6-7 节
愚昧人的嘴引起纷争,
他的口招来责打。
愚昧人的口自取灭亡,
他的嘴唇是自己性命的网罗。

场景迅速移到第6和7节。这人是鲁莽的,而且他所说的话引起争议。据New Living Translation 圣经译本,他自讨被殴打。 这愚昧人的口使他毁灭,他的嘴唇是网罗,也是他生命中的陷阱。 多么悲惨!

21节
生与死都在舌头的权下;
爱把弄这权柄的,必自食其果。

最后,21节不再狭义地表达,而是更广泛地探讨口所出的言语。 这人的舌头不单影响说话的人,也影响着他人, 例如当下的听众,他周围的人和那些深受他影响的人。一个人若不察觉周围的反应,那很多事情将在不知不觉中急速恶化。

以下内容摘自四年前2016年3月在某个基督教网站撰写的一篇文章。 这是一位重量级的国家元首在选举之前写的。 鉴于我国正在发生的事情,这些话显得多么真实。 也许有些人会认为文章的作者仿佛一名先知:

我们下一任领导者将倡导或阻挠的政策使百万人前景未卜。 当领导者说话,毫不夸张地,他或她舌头的力量大足以让许多人命悬一线。

今天,我们以不同的方式说话。 我们手写和打字,包括在社交媒体平台上,我们记录我们的声音、歌唱,并通过绘画或其他形式的艺术表达自己。

舌头可以摧毁婚姻、家庭、友谊、教会、事业、希望、和平协调、福音事工,声誉及政府。 舌头可以激起狂热的民族主义热情、煽动骚乱、引起种族主义两极分化、说服制造大规模毁灭性的武器,也能发动战争。 人们会因所说的话而死亡。

但人们也会因所说的话而活着。

舌头可以使婚姻甜蜜、家庭强大、教会健康。舌头可以给绝望的人带来希望和鼓励,教导未学会的人,传达宽恕和分享上帝的爱。

在每个新的一天,你是否下定决心向你周围的人说”生命之言”? 还是你所说的话如锋利的剑?

箴言12:18
有人说话不慎,好象利刀刺人,
智慧人的舌头却能医治人。

耶稣说,“因为心中所充满的,口里就说出来。” (路6:45)一颗爱批判的心产生爱批判的舌头。 自以为是的心产生爱判断的舌头。 苦毒的心产生苛刻的舌头。 忘恩负义和不满的心产生一个抱怨的舌头。

另一方面,一颗善良的心会产生接纳和亲切的舌头。 忠实的心产生诚实的舌头。 和平的心产生求和解的舌头。 信靠的心产生充满盼望的舌头。

弟兄姐妹们,我们鼓励你们浸在神的话语中。 把这几篇经文,马太福音5、哥林多前书13、诗篇119、以弗所书2和罗马书12,成为你生活的一部分。 让上帝美妙和令人耳目一新的话语充满你及改变你的内心。 不要花费太多时间在社交媒体上,阅读未经证实的讯息、新闻或无益的文章。这些文章都在使用不赋予生命的文字。

世界充满了死亡的话语。 耶稣是”道”(约1:1),“真理和生命“(约14:6),唯独他是”永生之道”(约6:68)。

今日祷告

天父,愿诗篇141的这两节经文成为我每日的祷告:

耶和华啊!求你看守我的口,
把守我的嘴。

求你不要容我的心偏向恶事,
免得我和作孽的人一同行恶,
也不要使我吃他们的美食。

恳求主教我如何鼓励别人,而不是批评他们。
愿我“适当地说造就人的好话,使听见的人得益处”-以弗所书4:29。
最重要的是,求主使我友善及温柔地说话,每天宽容待人。

求主赐我机会真诚地感谢我所爱的人。
帮助我口中充满鼓励和建立性的话,而不是摧毁性的话。

奉主名求,阿们。

巫惠如译

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