The Bible talks a lot about those who talk a lot. I have spent a lot of time studying some of the verses about talking a lot because I talk a lot. We are told to be “slow to speak” (James 1:19). We read that, “Too much talk leads to sin.” (Proverbs 10:19). Keeping one’s mouth shut comes from one considered to be “a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28). The Bible also says that “mere talk leads to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).
Today’s verse speaks about a fool who multiples words. It also reminds us that no man knows what is going to come. The issue we can see in this verse is that the person is not simply speaking a lot, but the person is a foolish person. Why is the person a foolish person? The only thing we can read into from this verse is that the person is a fool because he is speaking about something that he cannot understand or foresee. Maybe he is a fool for other reasons, but this is the one reason addressed.
We all know that person who is a “know-it-all” type of person. We are called to be humble and speak truth. Often I find myself in the middle of a conversation I know little about so I keep quiet or speak minimally. I don’t know much about pop culture. I don’t know a great deal about sports. It would be foolish for me to start up a full on conversation about these topics. But to the fool mentioned in this verse, he will ramble on and on trying to make it appear like he knows what is going on, like he knows what is to come. This person may talk a lot because he likes the sound of his voice or he is trying to be important in another’s eyes. He may be trying to puff himself up. At times, listeners may even be tempted to believe what the person is saying and possibly be led astray. This person will keep talking even if they no longer know what they are saying is true. This is a bad habit and certainly is a pathway straight to sin (Proverbs 10:19). To avoid being this fool, speak only what is true, and work on your listening skills. You learn a lot more from listening. Be quick to listen (James 1:19).
“A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him?” – Ecclesiastes 10:14 [ESV]
In Ecclesiastes 10, we read of splitting logs, breaking walls, digging pits, and removing stones from a quarry. Each of these items is linked with something that may happen as a result. If you break a wall, a serpent may bite you. If you dig a pit, you may fall into it. If you working in a stone quarry, you may get hurt by a stone.
With all of these cause and effect type scenarios, we read and maybe follow up with a chuckle at some of the items. Who would fall into a hole that he dug himself? Why would a serpent attack you if you break through a wall? We often cannot relate to what is being expressed in this passage. But if we take a step back and try to understand the people of a different time, these expressions are simply explaining the dangers of something negative happening as a possible result of your conduct. This is a message of caution.
Many times in life, we do not heed warnings. We think the warnings are for “the other guy” who doesn’t know what he or she is doing. We most always think we know what we are doing and we know what will happen afterward. Consider the time you may have thought you were doing something good, but it just so happened that after you broke whatever wall before you down, you were attacked by someone. We are to always tread with caution—meaning that we need to recognize and accept that after we do something or say something, there is a reaction to follow, and it might not be what we expect. This does not mean we do not do anything, but that we cling closely to our Father, and as we abide in Him and better understand His will, we trust Him with any outcome and press forward as He directs. No matter the outcome, we can trust He is faithful and we have a bright future in eternity with He Who created all things for His glory.
“He who digs a pit will fall into it, and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall. He who quarries stones is hurt by them, and he who splits logs is endangered by them.” – Ecclesiastes 10:8-9 [ESV]
I remember an old pair of scissors I owned. I loved those scissors but as time moved on they did not work like they once did because the blades were dull. When cutting a piece of meat, you want to pick a good knife. You want to be able to cut through the piece swiftly rather than sawing the thing till it looks like a mess. Most people have knife sharpeners for that reason.
Solomon mentioned the extra strength that is needed to cut with something like a dull ax. More energy is needed when a blade is dull. He made it clear –“Sharpen the blade.” He further states that wisdom helps you to succeed. So how do we sharpen our blades? How do we get this wisdom that will help us to succeed?
I try to sharpen my blade daily because each day brings us new challenges, new temptations, new situations. We need to be able to stand firm. We need our blade sharp. Read your Bible. Be intentional about it. In the morning, the first thing I do before my feet hit the floor is read my morning devotional. It is as if to say, “No thank you devil. My day is for God. I’m going to have a God day.” Then I spend my lunch with God and His Word. I sit alone and eat some fruit, and then I turn to the Word. Finally, in the evening before I turn in for the night, I grab my Bible once again. Sharpen your blade so you can stand firm.
“Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” – Ecclesiastes 10:10 [NLT]