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The Scriptorium

Words of the Wise and the Foolish

Ecclesiastes 10.12-14

12The words of a wise man’s mouth aregracious,
But the lips of a fool shall swallow him up;

13The words of his mouth begin with foolishness,
And the end of his talk
israving madness.
14A fool also multiplies words.
No man knows what is to be;
Who can tell him what will be after him?

The Story:Perhaps particularly in the words of his mouth the fool betrays his true character. Fools don’t tend to think before they speak; or, if they do, their words betray the corruption of their hearts. The more they talk like fools, the more they act like them. Folly is a cancer that fills the soul and spreads to every area of life. It has to be cut out and controlled or it will destroy a man. The wise man, on the other hand, finds favor with his words, because they enlighten and edify those with whom he speaks. As king, Rehoboam could expect to use a lot of words. Would they leave his servants mocking or admiring him? His people submitting or rebelling? Sadly, Solomon seemed to know the answer, and it troubled him.

The Structure:In our unbelieving, secular age, words proliferate. Politicians, advertisers, professors, pundits, and policy-makers at every level proliferate words, as though words alone make a difference in reality. So many of those words are based on equivocation and deceit, that people are left not knowing what to believe or why. This is why it is so important for believers to choose their words carefully and use them for God’s glory (Eph. 4.15, 29). The light of wisdom in a dark age of folly and lies can go a long way in helping people find the stability and reliability of truth.

Do your words come across as wise or foolish? How do you know? Do people tend to listen to you, because they consider what you have to say to be grounded in truth?

Each week’s studies in our
Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “It’s Common Sense! Ecclesiastes 10,” simply click here.

T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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