Proverbs 10:30-32

30 The righteous will never be uprooted,

   but the wicked will not remain in the land.

31 From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom,

   but a perverse tongue will be silenced.

32 The lips of the righteous know what finds favor,

   but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.

 

 Here is an essential difference between the righteous and the wicked. One is enduring, the other is ephemeral; one is “like a tree planted by streams of water,” the other is “like chaff that the wind blows away.” The righteous find opportunity in every season – whether expanding their roots, broadening their branches, producing fruit or shedding old leaves – they live in harmony with their circumstances. But the wicked waste their days chasing their own desires, from one place to the next, with nothing to show for it in the end.

 

 “From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced.” Fruit cannot be manufactured, it must be cultivated. It is the product of good soil, access to water, exposure to sun and protection from harm. Having been rooted in “the law of the Lord,” what but wisdom can the righteous produce? They are a blessing to all around them, generously sharing the harvest they’ve gleaned. But the perverse tongue is of no use to anyone, it produces nothing of substance.

 

 “The lips of the righteous know what finds favor, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.” There may have been a time when the wicked knew good, but each foolish step puts him more out of touch. Eventually he knows “only what is perverse,” he has lost the ability to benefit others. But for the righteous, who have established themselves in goodness, have the power to discern and attend to the needs around them.

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