The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. (Proverbs 10:14; 25:11).
I love apples. My preferences are the sweet and crunchy apples where the juice runs down both corners of the mouth (I get messy when eating apples). I enjoy golden apples but not gold apples. The problem with gold apples is you can’t eat them. They are for decoration. Of course I have never seen a gold apple. Plastic is the best I can do and they are for collecting dust. Solomon writes about apples of gold. If anyone had a few apples of gold it would have been the son of David. Using an image as vivid as an apple made of gold expresses great value. Adding to the picture of apples of gold in a setting of silver shows extravagance and elegance. Seeing a table filled with silver trays of golden apples is overwhelming. Great wealth.
Riches can be measured in many ways and what the richest man in history understood beyond all the opulence surrounding him was the value of words. He would write later the importance of a time to be silent and a time to speak. Wisdom is the greatest wealth. Contained within its vaults of gold and silver lie the coinage of knowing when to speak and when to remain silent. So often it is not our words that get us into trouble as much as the timing of our words. We talk before thinking. Strife and confusion comes when we talk too much, too soon and too quick.
Looking in the mirror will help cure the word problem we all have. Take careful note of how the Lord designed the head. There are two eyes that show us the pattern of His wisdom. On each side of the head are two listening devices implanted there for a vital role in communication. Placed just beneath two gleaming eyes is an arrow we call the nose pointing to the trouble maker – the mouth. The nose serves a dual purpose. First it gives us the pleasure of smelling so many wonderful things. But it also reminds us the odor of a mouth gone awry. And here is the real lesson: we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak and yet we so often fail to do so. James 3 tells us why.
Today is Friday. Look back this week and see how many apples of gold you left lying around for others to enjoy. Acknowledge the rotten apples of this week. Make a promise to be a better fruit inspector today and the coming week. Listen, listen, listen = wisdom.
Think much, speak little, and always think before you speak. This will promote your own peace and that of your neighbor. (Adam Clarke)