In our world, certain hand motions mean certain things. Sometimes, they mean different things in different cultures. Our verse today relates to one certain hand motion that we should probably do more often: putting our hand over our mouths.
Proverbs 30:31 says, “If you have been foolish exalting yourself, or have been devising evil, put your hand to your mouth.” This phrase is also mentioned in the book of Job when Job was talking to his friend, but basically doing this meant you needed to stop something. In this Proverb, he’s saying to stop doing two things: 1) stop exalting yourself, and 2) stop devising evil.
The first is a humility issue. Our world today is very focused on exalting ourselves. It’s all about securing high places and titles for ourselves, and saying, “Look at me, look at me.” But remember when we talked about how wisdom in the Bible says not to put yourself in the seat of honor at the table lest you be shamed by being asked to move to a lower position?
And if you’ve been devising evil? Stop that, too. Neither of these things will have good outcomes. Promoting yourself should not be our focus. The book of Philippians tells us we should be considering others better than ourselves. It’s not about us. We should only make our boast in the LORD.
However, we also have this thing called false humility. For example, if you’re a singer and someone comes up to you after a performance and says, “Great job, you have an amazing voice!” and you’re like, “Oh, it wasn’t me, it was all the LORD,” etc. Look, you can say thank you. It’s okay to accept a compliment. But on the other hand, we shouldn’t go fishing for compliments either. It’s not good for us to be prideful.
Let’s read our verse again: “If you have been foolish exalting yourself, or have been devising evil, put your hand to your mouth.” In other words, just stop it. If you’re devising evil, keep in mind that the Bible teaches that we reap what we sow. If you’re devising evil, it will come back around to you; there will be a consequence. So let’s get wisdom.
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