“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Words Fitly Spoken
(Please read Proverbs 25:11)
In the King James Version our text reads, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Later versions mention “settings” of silver. We don’t have to know much more than that to get the mental picture of something finely crafted.
“Fitly” is not a word you hear often in everyday conversation, but its meaning is not at all obscure. It means just what it sounds like – something fitting, or appropriate to, the time and circumstances. Apparently the original Hebrew word had something to do with a turning or revolving, as in the turning of the seasons; and more than one commentator has thought wheels were implied. One explained the phrase as “a word well set upon the wheels of speech.”
Wouldn’t it be great if our communications generally adhered to that sort of standard? Children would begin saying words like “Please” and “Thank you” and “Yes sir” and “Let me help you with that,” and similar expressions which seemingly have almost faded from the language. Parents would even take more time for fitting words of instruction and encouragement to their children.
And think of the other kind of words, which could and should disappear from polite conversation. There’s no need to illustrate those here, for you’ve probably been subjected to unfit words aplenty within the past 24 hours. In a time when people are so concerned about polluting the environment, it’s sad that little thought is given to cleaning up ear pollution.
But we can do our part to elevate conversations with words fitly spoken, especially words by and about our Master, the Christ.