“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
Proverbs 15:28 (ESV)
How often do we rashly blurt out a comment and then realize the implication of what we have just said? We all know we can’t just pull those words back from the atmosphere.
In Proverbs 15:28, Solomon reminds us of the value of weighing, or pondering, our words before we say them. In this verse, he encourages us to think before we speak. If you’re like me, you probably think this proverb applies only to our conversations with other people. But I recently read some verses in Ecclesiastes that caused me to reconsider how this verse applies to our conversations with God as well.
In Ecclesiastes 5:2, Solomon says, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (NIV) Like Proverbs 15:28, this verse encourages us to not speak too quickly because there are consequences when we do.
Have you ever told God, “If you will do __________, then I’ll never do ____________ again?” or something similar? God is holy and he is truth, so our insincere or hasty promises are unholy in his sight. Solomon is quick to point out this fact in Ecclesiastes, which he penned toward the end of his life.
Sometimes when we are in distress, we should just let our heart speak, without using words. In Ecclesiastes 5:2, Solomon tells us that we should “let our words be few” before God. He also tells us in Proverbs 10:19 that when many words are present, sin is sure to abound along with them. When we let our words be few, we gain two benefits: we will most likely not say something offensive to the Lord, and we will say only what is necessary.
Worship music trio Philips, Craig, and Dean have a lovely song that describes this type of worship: Let My Words Be Few.
When we stand in awe of the Lord, we can let our words be few. Praise can come in the simplest of sentences. Requests can be made with a genuine petition that doesn’t include flowery or excessive words. Jesus taught this principle when he explained in the Sermon on the Mount, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:7)
So, when we pray, let’s stand in awe of God, considering and limiting our words to the very best that we have to offer.