Read: Proverbs 18
This chapter tackles a variety of diverse subjects, but the two repeated themes are listening and speaking. Turns out (surprise, surprise) these two things are related.
Look through the text for listening verbs such as “seek,” “hear,” “understand,” “acquire,” and “examine.” Notice anything? (Hint: the more you listen, the wiser you are.) Now look through the text for speaking nouns such as “lips,” “mouth,” and “tongue.” We discover a compelling portrait of the fool— a person who hates to listen, but loves to talk.
However, talking is not all bad! Look at verses 20 through 21. The wise man does not speak in haste; his words are nourishing. There is a beautiful metaphor in there: the fruit of a man’s mouth satisfies. Fruit cannot be produced quickly, but is cultivated through time and care. Our words can be of great benefit, but only through the careful cultivation of listening (see verse 13).
As you move through these sayings of wisdom, meditate on how you can nourish relationships in your life by listening and speaking with care.