The words of the mouth are deep waters and reveal a heart of pride or humility, can build up or destroy, bring life or death.

There is a story told of a king who asked his most trusted servant to bring him the most valuable object from within his kingdom.

What do you think the servant brought back?

The servant returned with a silver platter, and on it was a human tongue.

The king then asked his most trusted servant to bring him the most dangerous object in the kingdom.

What do you think the servant brought back?

He returned again with a human tongue.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us…

The tongue has the power of life and death…

Our words have far reaching significance. Much beyond what we ever expect them to have.

As we continue in our series in Proverbs this morning we are focusing on the proverbs regarding wise speech.

The words of the mouth are deep waters and reveal a heart of pride or humility, can build up or destroy, bring life or death.


Proverbs 11:9-12 Proverbs 12:14-25 Proverbs 15:1-8 Proverbs 18


The words of the mouth are deep waters… Proverbs 18:4

Proverbs tells us that by the time your words come out of your mouth, they have travelled a great distance. Because our speech, our words, reveals our heart. The meaning in our words are not just surface deep, but can reflect the secret motives and aims of the person speaking them.

The words of the mouth are deep waters… Proverbs 18:4

Our words, according to Jesus, show the condition of our hearts.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

Matthew 12:34–35

As one writer put it, the heart is the bank, the words are withdrawals out of that bank.

So, what are we depositing in the bank of our hearts?

Because what is in a person’s heart will be consciously or unconsciously expressed in their words.

As has been the message in Proverbs across our reading of it…

We need to be pursuing, seeking and receiving wisdom from God.

If we desire wisdom then we must…

  • treasure God’s Word.

  • Call out to God

  • Value God’s wisdom.

The words from the lips are the evidence of the condition of the heart. Words of the mouth come from deep waters.

It is not good enough to use the age-old excuse, “I’m tired”, or “I’m just worked up”, or I’m just stressed out.”. It is in just these situations that the condition of our heart is revealed.

What is the condition of your heart?

The words of our mouth are deep waters and reveal the condition of our heart.

Our words also…


Our words can reveal a self-centred heart, a heart of pride…

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2

A desire to speak in monologue and not engage in dialogue.

A prideful person desires to speak and not listen. And as my mother use to say. God gave you two ears and 1 mouth, use them proportionately.

Our words can reveal an others-centred heart, a humble heart…

Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12

One of the key characteristics of wisdom humility.

As Ross shared with us from Proverbs 3.

Humility is entrusting the Lord as complete and exclusive director of your life.

Who’s in charge of my life?

If we are, then a heart of pride will grow – a foolish heart.

If God is, then a heart of humility will grow – a wise heart.

This is the constant contrast we see in Proverbs. Wise or foolish? Humility or Pride?

How do we grow a humble heart? Again, as we have heard a number of times in our learning in proverbs…

Fear the Lord!

As we fear the Lord, we gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

A wisdom, knowledge and understanding that is more than intellectual knowing it is a way of knowing that floods one’s entire being and experience.

What do your words reflect about your heart? Pride or humility?

Our words can reveal a self-centred heart or an others centred heart.

And in turn…


Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. Proverbs 11:11

This truth has never been more apparent to me that as a parent. In one comment or statement I can influence my son or daughters view of themselves, effect the shape of their understanding of who God has made them to be.

Our words can destroy.

With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors… Proverbs 11:9

This is the often-unappreciated power of our foolish, prideful words. And Proverbs leave us in no doubt what these words look like…

Flattery – telling people what they want to hear but for your own selfish end. Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet. Proverbs 29:5 …a flattering mouth works ruin.” Proverbs 26:28 Seeking to entrap them, trip them up.

Lying – manipulating words for our own selfish end. A lying tongue hates those it hurts… Proverbs 26:28 The Lord detests lying lips… Proverbs 12:22 Words that are void of truth destroy.

Gossip and slander – passing things on to others that they don’t need to know whether its true or not. A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28 Words that created conflict and disunity.

Angry words – Words full of judgement and self-justification. A quick-tempered person does foolish things… Proverbs 14:17 The words of the reckless pierce like swords… Proverbs 12:18 Those strong passionate words that come from a place of vindication rather than grace.

Argumentative words – not letting things go but preferring to stir up argument. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. Proverbs 26:21 Enjoying the strife caused by being argumentative.

Foul words – Swearing and dirty talk. …one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble. Proverbs 17:20

Talking too much Sin is not ended by multiplying words… Proverbs 10:19

Proverbs tells us that these are some ways words destroy.

Do you engage in this type of talk?

Our words can build up.

The lips of the wise spread knowledge… Proverbs 15:7

Our words have the power to edify, encourage and build up. Again, proverbs leaves us in no doubt what this looks like…

Wise council – Speaking wisdom into someone’s life. Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9 We can build into people’s lives.

Correct and guide others out of sin. Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favour rather than one who has a flattering tongue. Proverbs 27:9

Encouragement in the right circumstance. Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25

Proverbs tells us that our words can have a right, a righteous effect on people’s lives,

Do you engage in this type of talk?

Our words have the ability to build up or destroy.

And in turn…


The tongue has the power of life and death… Proverbs 18:21

As Proverbs has been revealing to us consistently, we have a choice between wisdom and foolishness, life and death. And it is no different with our words. They can bring life or death.

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4

What do you desire to bring through your words? Life or death?

So how do I grow, develop wise speech?

It starts with the heart. If our words reflect the condition of our heart, then we need a continually transformed heart.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity;

keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:23-24

If we desire to have wise speech, then this takes us back to the first few chapters of Proverbs and the lessons that we learned from them.

We must desire it, seek it, and treasure it.

But at the very core must be a fear of the Lord.

Knowing God and rightly fearing the God you know.

Hate what God hates, evil, and turn from it.

Humble submission to God, humility and obedience.

Where to start in seeing a heart transformation of our speech into wise speech…

Jesus is our great example of this…

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23

Such wisdom of speech, in choosing not to speak.

So we need to entrust ourselves to the one who judges justly…

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

The words of the mouth are deep waters and reveal a heart of pride or humility, can build up or destroy, bring life or death.

May our words be from a place of humility, that build up, and bring life.

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