“There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”
Born as a Texan and raised as a Hoosier, I don’t exactly blend in with the Tar Heels among whom I currently reside. There are many ways in which my southern neighbors and I differ, not the least of which are our views on such topics as cooking and eating. What Southerners call sweet tea, I call syrup. What I call cereal, they call rabbit food. What they see as breakfast meat, I see as inedible. Yes, indeed, when it comes to matters of cuisine, I’m afraid it’s rather clear that I ain’t from around these parts.
Even if I could stomach the idea of eating a menu item that contains the words “liver” and “mush” in its name, my foreign roots would still remain entirely obvious. It’s not only what will never cross my lips that sets me apart; it’s also what comes out of my lips. Last year, after telling a lifelong North Carolinian where I was originally from, I had to suppress a smile as she responded in her thick, southern drawl, “I could tell by your accent that you weren’t from around here.” Marked by a Midwestern “accent” such as my own, it’s unlikely anyone would question the fact that my home must be a long way from here.
Just as a Southerner would rarely be mistaken as a Minnesotan, or a Texan as a New Yorker, so too, should a Christian woman’s speech clearly identify her as being different. Whenever a woman of wisdom opens her mouth in conversation, it should be obvious to those around her that she’s a long way from home. The words she uses and the way she expresses them should reveal an otherworldly origin. Her speech should be marked by a distinctive sound, which some have referred to as the “accent of Heaven.” The book of Proverbs is brimming with truths regarding the speech of the wise vs. the speech of the fool, and the careful application of these truths will help to distinguish us as women of wisdom rather than women of the world. Today’s article begins a series for Practicing Proverbs Mondays which will address the topic of the wise woman’s speech: What does it sound like? and How can we emulate it?
Although my speech may sound odd to my southern neighbors, if they heard my family talk, they’d know immediately why I sound the way that I do. My speech not only identifies my origin; it also reflects the family to whom I’m related. I love reading Luke’s description of how the people in Jesus’ hometown reacted to the extraordinary way in which He spoke in the synagogue, “And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?'” (Lk. 4:22). As Jesus spoke, those who heard him recognized an uncommon sound which grabbed their attention. How did the son of an ordinary carpenter learn to talk like that? What the people of Nazareth didn’t realize was that Jesus actually did talk like His Father, not his earthly father, but His Heavenly Father. If they were familiar with the voice of Jesus’ Father, they’d recognize immediately Whose Son He truly was.
As children of God, our speech should also reflect the accent of our Father, but we must be saturated in His Word before we can echo the sound of His voice. That’s what this series is all about—ingraining the words of our Father in our heart, so His thoughts begin to flow naturally from our lips. I hope you will join with me in studying the precious jewels to be found in the words of the wise.
Here’s today’s proverb:
“Listen to counsel and accept discipline,
that you may be wise the rest of your days.”
Photo: Vivek Chugh