Proverbs 12:14 – “A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, and the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him.” NKJV
As I read and study the words of Proverbs 12, I find some wonderfully exciting thoughts as well as some troubling declarations that are not always easily reconciled in our lives. We all have opinions, even convictions, and fixed beliefs about God’s Truth or our understanding of our little facet of His incalculable truth.
Truly His ways are beyond our finding out and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Paul taught, “know in part and see through the glass dimly.” We have not attained perfect knowledge and that may never be a possibility even in our glorified state in eternity. God is God and we are and will ever be the creature or the created.
The Book of Proverbs offers incredible insight into life and human nature. It gives some valuable prescriptions for advancing in the Kingdom of God or in our personal relationships with Him Who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In this chapter, the emphasis is ‘righteousness’ and offers insight into why we do not have it and how we can have it. If we understand Righteousness as “Right Standing” rather than simply acts or activities, we will benefit greatly in consideration of many truths in God’s word. I find it interesting that he begins his comments with “knowledge” and “correction.”
When I consider the second part of that first sentence, I am immediately drawn to the idea that “loving instruction and knowledge” indicates a willingness to receive correction, rebuke, and/or chastisement because we understand the purpose of those in our lives. If we reject correction, the writer says we are stupid. I am always cautious about using that term because of the offense it conveys but when we consider the ways and words of God, we must remember the words of Psalm 14:1, “…the fool says in His heart, there is no God.” Therefore, using that term in this context is not only appropriate but necessary.
When the writer speaks of a good man, the words of Jesus immediately come to mind when He asked in Mark 10:18, “Why do you call me good?… there is none good but one, that is, God.” I ponder the reality that the only way any man becomes good is through God. We know from Romans 3:10, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one…” We also know that our righteousness is as filthy rags before God. It is His Righteousness that makes us Righteous and His Grace that enables us to walk in Right Standing with Him.
In verse three we discover an incredible truth, simple but powerful. Wickedness will fail but righteousness will help us become like trees planted by refreshing water and like houses built on a firm foundation. If we ‘seek first God and His kingdom’ we will find that we are able to ‘think the thoughts of Christ’ and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ thus making our thoughts right, wholesome, and productive.
Deceit is in the heart and mind of the wicked. The wicked are devious and treacherous in their interpersonal dealings with others. What happens to them? According to verse seven, they are overthrown and cease to exist contrasted to those who ‘seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness’ and walk uprightly before God. The wicked’s house falls but the house of the righteous is firmly fixed in God’s truth and stands against all storms.
Then we skip down to verses 13-14 and the message there is, in my view, not only powerful but desperately needed in our daily lives. We need to not only hear but also heed this truth and incorporate it into our lives. We are told that the wicked are ensnared by the transgression of their lips. As a friend in East Texas used to say, “They let their elephant mouths overload their peanut behinds.” Their mouths write checks they cannot cover and thus they are ‘ensnared,’ and God holds us accountable for every word that we speak. The contrast is that the Righteous will ‘come through trouble.’
The Bible never teaches that there will be no difficulty encountered by godly people. Rather it teaches that ‘through it all’ we will come forth and like Job. We need to be careful that we do ‘not sin or charge God foolishly.’ We need to seek for the Holy Spirit to set a guard at our lips and our minds so that we say the right things and agree with God’s declaration and assessment of any and every situation. Isaiah 57:19 speaks of God creating the ‘fruit of the lips’ and Hebrews 13:15 brings that into our lives, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.”
The writer declares that the ‘fruit of our mouth’ will bring satisfaction. Remember what Jesus did when He endured the Temptation in the Wilderness with the devil? He continually said and I emphasize SAID, “It is written…” He quoted Scripture. He rehearsed what God had said. He declared God’s truth with His mouth, and it defeated the devil.
If our words match our works, we will enjoy the fruit of verse fourteen and not only be satisfied we will have the recompense of God for our labors. We will demonstrate Faith and Works and the words of our mouth, and the meditation of our hearts will be acceptable in His sight.
May the Lord help each of us carefully guard our words and have our words match our walk, work, and warfare. We can agree with God and realize the harvest of the fruit of His Promises in our lives.
God, bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!