Words are an essential measuring stick of the Christian faith. The words we employ when talking with our next-door neighbor, when sharing with our family, and when commenting on social media reveal the true status of our hearts. In 1 Samuel 16:18, the soon-to-be King David was selected to serve as Saul’s therapeutic counselor because he was both a talented musician and a man of God. We know this because verses 7 and 13 of this chapter reveal that God has given David the throne because the shepherd loves the Lord with his whole heart. But Saul and his bureaucratic staff were not aware that God had chosen David. And when they become aware of his anointing, they attempt to kill him. They discerned David’s godliness another way.
The text says David is “prudent in speech.” Saul’s entourage knew David was godly because they had heard the shepherd boy speak. They were not enamored with David because he was professional, witty, or romantic in choice of words. Rather the term “prudent in speech” means David was hyper wise. According to the Proverbs, those who are prudent in speech do not speak quickly, they do not respond to insults, and they do not vent. David retrains his lips from hurtful words, commends knowledge, and loves talking about the Lord (Prov. 10:19; 12:16,23; 14:15; 15:2; 29:20). David’s speech reveals he was a man of God. The secular world took notice of a lowly shepherd boy because he used words wisely as he bounced about the fields with his sheep. Out of the heart the mouth speaks.
What will world notice about us when they hear our words? Will our neighbors, family members, and employers look to us for help in times of trouble because they know our words are thoughtful, uplifting, and encouraging? Or will they shy away from us because we gossip, complain, and vent like the worldly people around us? What’s in your heart? What do you love? What do your words reveal about you?