Watch My Lips!
Mighty God, You are my Creator, Sustainer, my Help and my Guide. How great, how majestic, how wonderful You are!
Consider: The Book of Proverbs talks about everyday life. Because life is so full of contradictions and oddities, Proverbs covers a wide variety of situations, giving wisdom and counsel.
I allow my mind to settle on any verse in this reading that arrests my heart at this very moment, searching for the Holy Spirit's guidance in such an intervention.
I might also allow my heart to relish again old, famous, favorites like verse 12 or verse 22. What offence do I need to bury with my spade of love? What trouble-free bounty or blessing makes my heart resound with gratitude? "The Lord" is mentioned in only two verses (3 and 22) in this reading. Does he have to be named to be present? The little words "but" or "and" occur in 19 of our 22 verses. I reflect on the reminders these words carry that things are not always what they seem and that the future may be different from the present.
Finally, my thoughts come to rest on the ten verses that mention mouth, lips, tongue or speech. The second line of verse 6 probably means something like "violence is written all over his face." Do I pay careful attention to people's faces, especially when they are at rest? I think of the "fountain of life" in verse 11; are my words fresh, clear, life-giving? Verse 13 contrasts the eager learner and the silly donkey! The verb "store up" in verse 14 refers to discretion rather than erudition; the important thing about knowledge is discrimination, not quantity.
I run over the verses again, noticing the connection between my mouth and my character, noticing the overlap of speech words with the contrasts wise/foolish and wicked/righteous. As Jesus said, it is not the food that goes into a person but the words and deeds that come out of a person that pollute them (Mark 7:14-16), for the words reflect the heart (Matt. 12:34).
Read through the passage again. Note which proverbs speak to you, and resolve to obey their teaching.
Lord, I pray that today I will use wise words: that build up, that encourage, that counsel and are discerning, that glorify You.