A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride,
but the lips of the wise protect them.
When David was still on the run from Saul, he asked for food from a rich rancher named Nabal to feed his men. Nabal, as a fool, rebuffs the messengers sent to him. As a miserly, harsh man, Nabal does not consider the ancient custom of showing hospitality to those requesting his help, particularly, as in this case, to those who have treated his servants well and fairly. As a fool, he doesn’t consider his own vulnerable position. David has a small army and can take what he wants. He does not consider how much he will be offending a man renowned as a warrior. Fortunately, Nabal has a wife who is discerning, and by her wise action and words, she preserves the life of her husband and all the men.
Are you foolish or wise with your lips? Here are some warning signals. Do these remarks characterize you?
“I pride myself in speaking my mind.”
“People always know where they stand with me.”
“I’m not afraid to shoot from the hip.”
“I call it like I see it.”
If you make such remarks; if you don’t see what these remarks really convey, then you may be in the fool’s camp. Because what is missing in the remarks is a wise understanding of your own limitations and sin. Our minds are clouded with sin. However clear a perspective we may think we have, it is quite likely we do not see clearly. We have limited mental abilities, and even the wisest mind is nevertheless clouded with sin.
To speak wisely requires humility. It requires the right goal – to glorify God. If you simply ask yourself this question before you speak, wisdom will come to you to know the right words: Will what I am about to say glorify God? For glorifying God is ultimate wisdom.
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites,[b] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
The Certainty of God’s Promise
13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”[d] 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.