More words today about speech and work ethic. I wonder why these two themes are among the most prominent in Proverbs. Maybe it's because of Solomon's person situation. Solomon is known even today for his great wisdom, given to him by God in answer to prayer. But also commonly known is that he had a lot of wives: by estimation, he had somewhere around 700 wives and 300 concubines. As Eugene Peterson wrote in The Message, Solomon was "obsessed" with women. However, the Bible only mentions three children: one son (Rehoboam) and two daughters (Taphath and Basemath). The Bible tells the story of Rehoboam but, in short, he did not rule wisely or well or in accordance with God's wishes. Perhaps, Solomon was writing these words with his son in mind: we don't know.
It is not right to be partial to the guilty, or to subvert the innocent in judgment. A fool’s lips bring strife, and a fool’s mouth invites a flogging. The mouths of fools are their ruin, and their lips a snare to themselves. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. One who is slack in work is close kin to a vandal. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe. (Prov. 18:5-10)
"The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels..." I love the imagery in that statement, but it also contains some sound, practical advice. Do you have words you need to share with another person, something important or personal to say? Don't shout at them, don't air it in public. Come close to them, sit down with them, and tell them in private. Allow them to hear and absorb the words and take them to heart.
Mediation: Spend a couple of minutes reflecting on the last verse. Can you see God as a strong tower? And how can you run into that tower and find safety?