“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:27-28).
I have a good friend who is far more intelligent than I am. When we are together having a conversation, he will pause to choose just the right word to explain what he is thinking. When he pauses, I will try to fill in the blank he has left with the pause in the conversation. Most times he simply says, “No, that’s not what I’m talking about …” I am learning that I don’t always need to be talking. I am learning that I am not always right (that is a tough lesson for any of us to learn). I am learning that I don’t have all the answers and that sometimes the best thing for me to do is to remain quiet and think before answering.
There are plenty of people who are more than willing to give their opinion to you today about how to live your life … spend your money … do your job … raise your family … choose your mate … etc. You can join them and try to act the part of an expert on every subject, or you can practice these verses in Proverbs 17 today. The words in these two verses above are very convicting to me. I want to be a wise man. I do not want to be called a fool. There is a fine line between the time to speak and the time to remain still and quiet. I want to have that godly discernment and speak at the times God leads me to, and remain quiet if He has not.
I think the key to these verses is to use the knowledge God has given us at the appropriate times. If we do not have knowledge on a subject, or if someone else has more knowledge than we do, it is best for us to remain quiet. In the Old Testament book of Job, his friends had come to comfort him. They were doing that until they began to speak! Once the talking started, they could not resist trying to sound like an expert and offer their advice. Most of their advice was incorrect because they had a lack of knowledge and understanding about the reason Job had been afflicted to begin with. This lack of knowledge did not stop them … and they served to be more of a pain than a comfort. Use your words wisely today and be a blessing even in your silence! When you speak … make those words count for the betterment of those hearing.