Proverbs 16:21 The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
Sweetness of speech is not flattery, lying or failing to deal in complete truthfulness. It is rather the attitude in which our communication is carried out. Would we persuade, or simply hammer our view home? Would we win or keep a friend, or are we simply after stating the case? Jesus never shrunk back from delivering the whole truth – but He was no man’s enemy, even though they were His.
In one of Jesus’ most protracted rebukes (Matt. 23) Jesus’ utters 7 “woes” to the Pharisees and “hypocrites” followed immediately by His weeping and lamenting over Jerusalem.
“Woes” are warning, not last-word judgments. He shows them their sin, but weeps over it at the same time. This is not raw denouncement, but urgent pleading without soft-selling the realities.
What a glorious demonstration of genuine discipline coupled with compassion and loving constraint.
Father, teach me this holy skill. How I would rather thunder out my way, than persuade by a heart set on blessing the other. How I want to be right, more than righteous. Deliver me.
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
If your Gospel has no grace, no sweetness, do not be surprised if it gains no souls. If the Gospel contains no “good news” and only exposure of sin – it isn’t Gospel, it is law. And we are called to preach Christ and Him crucified, not Moses – and him thundering. Mount Calvary, not Mount Sinai.
Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
Experience is valuable. This is why church leadership is supposed to be comprised of “elders”, and not “youngsters.” Those who have walked with the Lord through trials, temptations and the ups and downs of life’s varied circumstances are of great value to us. Never forsake them for trends, fashions, and the newest thing to come along. For there is no other way to Heaven, than to walk the road that all who love Christ have travelled before us. Read of their lives and their struggles AND their triumphs. And walk too.
Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
There is a form of randomness on our level, but not on His.
2 Chronicles 18 contains the account of Ahab’s death in battle. Ahab had asked Jehoshaphat, king of Judah to join him in fighting the Aramaeans at Ramoth-Gilead. When all Ahab’s false prophets had finished telling the 2 kings they would have a victorious battle, the lone prophet of the Lord in Israel, Micaiah, told them they would not prevail, and that Ahab would not return from the battle.
Vs. 33 records: “But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate.” “At random” for the archer, but not so from the Lord’s perspective. It was just as He had foretold through Micaiah.
Nor is their randomness in your life or mine from our Heavenly Father’s vantage point. And so we rest in His providences, though from the human point of view – they remain inscrutable.
What a glorious God we serve!