Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Mouth of Wisdom and Steps That Don’t Slide

The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom,
And his tongue talks of justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
(Psalm 37:30-31)
There is an important spiritual connection between your heart and your mouth. Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). If you want to know what is in somebody’s heart, listen to their mouth for a little while — especially in pressure situations — and it will become apparent.

The psalm writer says that “the mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom and his tongue talks of justice.” The “righteous” are those who keep covenant with God, that is, who are in right relationship with God and the community of faith.

The mouth of the righteous speaks “wisdom.” The Hebrew word is hokmah and refers to understanding, mastery, prudence, or skill. The realm of wisdom can be anything and everything, including craftsmanship, administration and ethics. It produces sound judgment about what is right and what is wrong: “His tongue talks of justice.”

Words of insight and justice do not fall out of the sky. They come forth from a heart that is full of wisdom and discernment. But how does a heart get filled with these? The psalm writer gives the answer: “The law of his God is in his heart.” The word for “law” is torah and can just as well be translated as “instruction.” Wisdom and justice in the mouth of the righteous are the overflow of God’s Word in his heart.

Remember how the Book of Psalms opens. The blessed man is not the one who fills his heart with the counsel of the ungodly, or the way of the wicked or with mockery and scorn for everything that is good (Psalm 1:1). Instead, his delight is in the instruction of the LORD. He delights in it and meditates constantly upon it (Psalm 1:2).

In meditating God’s Word, he speaks it into his heart and lets it fill him up to overflowing. After that, when he opens his mouth, his words and his ways are in alignment with God’s. The result is blessing and prosperity in all he does (Psalm 1:3). Because the instruction of the LORD is in his heart in abundance, wisdom and justice flow from his lips. His leaf does not wither and his steps do not slide.