Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. 24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
by R Aylor
Is there such a thing as a type of wisdom that is not godly… but of this world? I believe there is. James 3 talks about people with hearts of jealousy and selfish ambition and in verse 15 he says this:
James 3:15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
Consider Adolf Hitler… Was he a wise man? He was judicious and persuasive… thats pretty clear… He formulated his thoughts and words to make his personal goals for Germany make perfect sense. His oration and articulation flowed building argument on top of argument creating a case that supported itself. This is what judicious means.
And while making a good case is important in influencing someone, Hitler also spoke passionately about what he believed which could be seen in his body language and voice inflection. All these things added to Hitler's persuasiveness.
He seemed wise in other ways also making intentional plans with great precision to reach his objective. For example when he learned that if he appealed to the youth it would benefit his cause for years to come he pursued that course. With all Hitlers judicious and persuasive speech for a time it appeared as though all he did was for Germany and many people trusted his words.
But consider this: all these tactics of Hitlers were morally neutral.
Make a goal, make a case and then use persuasive speech. These same strategies are used by successful organizations, businesses, corporations, denominations, churches and people like you and me to move people toward supporting the goal we communicate.
These are ethically unbiased in themselves… they can be used for good or evil. It’s the heart of man that determines whether utilizing these tools moves us with God glorifying or self seeking wisdom.
Hitler might have been considered a wise man if it weren’t for one exception. This one deviation shows mans wisdom as utter foolishness.
Hitlers wisdom was flawed because of his own ego or pride… which guarantees failure.
Adolf Hitlers words were about Germany’s greatness. It was about world domination… building an ideal race and destroying everyone else. He claimed supremacy. In Hitlers eyes asserting perfection Germany did not need grace… And they would not offer mercy or grace to anyone else. That's what pride does inside a person. A wise and godly man realizes he needs grace and he becomes a giver of grace.
Verse 24 says: Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
A man with godly wisdom is judicious in speech… He makes a good case for a good cause and his passion will be seen not because of selfish ambition but in his own zeal to offer grace for the cause he supports as he speaks to the people he is standing up for and this encourages persuasiveness to truth… The graceful words he speaks is sweet to the soul and good for the body.
Consider how these two verses can be for believers.
Christians have received Gods clear judicious words in the Gospel. He persuaded us by showing us his grace and beauty in Jesus. We humbled ourselves and looked to him in joyful faith. We now share these gracious words with others. These are gracious words to people who are living in despair because of sin and all it brings.
If can articulate a good case for this good news we bring… We can demonstrate that we’re not talking fairy tales but rather all we say makes perfect sense. We don’t speak with a sanctimonious holier than thou attitude or with condemning words but rather with love and passion about the grace of God through Jesus. For those who’s hearts God opens to hear these words of grace it will be the best thing they have ever heard. Good news, beautiful, pure delight bringing eternal sweetness to the soul and health to the body especially when he raises us up incorruptible to be with him as he was raised up.