Proverbs 20, can you believe it? I’ll tell you something, no matter how many times I’ve read through the Proverbs, I will never stop. The wealth of wisdom contained within this short book of Scripture is truly immeasurable. I pray that this study of Proverbs has only whet your appetite for more of God’s wisdom in your life, and that you too will choose to be dissatisfied with anything less than the wisdom that is from above.
We will find God’s covenant name once again sprinkled throughout Proverbs 20, and this time with the intention to remind the reader of God’s constant presence and watchful eye over all people. With that in mind, the intent is to motivate the reader to move towards wise speech, remembering that God sees and hears all. To speak foolishly and to have a “loose tongue” not only produces unwanted consequences, but it negatively impacts our relationship with the God who hears and sees all.
Let’s take a look. I think it’s quite appropriate to compare a loose tongue to a loose cannon based on what we read in Proverbs 20. You never know when or what will set off a loose cannon, but you know that you don’t want to be in the near proximity of it when it goes off, right? Likewise, with a loose tongue, you never can tell when it will go off, but when it does, it destroys everything within earshot. A loose tongue produces damaging words, false words, prideful and angry words, words seasoned with strife, jealousy, emotion, and slander. It is the tongue that is girded with truth and is reigned in with wisdom that blesses those who hear. A loose cannon tongue can do nothing but tear down.
“Many claim to have unfailing love,
but a faithful person who can find?” Proverbs 20:6
“Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
I am clean and without sin”?” Proverbs 20:9
“A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much.” Proverbs 20:19
“Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.” Proverbs 20:22
“It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider one’s vows.” Proverbs 20:25
Let’s choose wisdom, shall we? Let’s be a people who are marked by words of wisdom instead of a loose cannon tongue. Not every thought we think needs to become words that we speak. There is wisdom in restraining our tongue. The wise will be marked by this godly restraint.
“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3
“The righteous lead blameless lives;
blessed are their children after them.” Proverbs 20:7
“Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,
but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.” Proverbs 20:15
“Plans are established by seeking advice;
so if you wage war, obtain guidance.” Proverbs 20:18