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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Proverbs 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

Because Solomon loved God and walked in His statutes as did King David, his father, God, in I Kings 3:5, said, Ask what I shall give thee. In verse 9, is Solomon's answer: Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad. God granted this request and in verse 12 says, Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo I have given thee a wise and understanding heart. The text of this lesson is taken from the wisdom of Solomon as recorded in the book of Proverbs, Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. Solomon was God's chosen vessel to bring to us many words of wisdom. These are but a few.

Unless one continually stokes a fire with wood (or some other combustible source), the fire will go out. This analogy compares firewood to a talebearer and fire to strife. Without a talebearer, strife ceases. Strife has many meanings. It can be a quarrel, a struggle, or a conflict. It can also be discord, disagreement, or dissention. It is disharmony, controversy and disputing. As you can see, strife is not a desirable state.

Proverbs 18:8 says that The words of a talebearer are as wounds. The injuries that result from the words of a talebearer are harmful to the hearer as well as the one that is the subject of the tale. Such actions were specifically forbidden in Jewish law. As stated in Leviticus 19:16, Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people. A person that has a habit of being a talebearer is often referred to as a busybody. In both 2 Thessalonians 3:11 and in 1Peter 4:15, the busybody is a mean-spirited person full of evil. They are placed on the same level as other categories of sinners such as murderers, thieves, and evildoers.

Have you ever thought of a busybody being as sinful as a murderer or a thief? Yet, false, slanderous statements made about others have even resulted in murder. False statements made about the character of another, steals from them their good reputation. Speaking evil of others is among things that we should not do according to Ephesians 4:31. What we say can be extremely harmful to others. What we all need is a good lesson in what to say and when to say it, as well as what not to say and when not to say it.

There is probably no better scripture on this subject than the third chapter of James. I wonder what the world would be like if every morning, before we communicate with anyone, that we read this chapter of James. Our conversation, that is, what we say to others, is referred to in this chapter as the tongue. It is with the tongue that we converse. We say the things we want to relate to others in a learned language, such as English. It is a word picture of our thoughts. Like the horse which we control with small bits and like ships that we control with their small helm, we must learn to control our tongue. How can we do this? If you don't have anything good to say about someone, don't say anything - keep your mouth shut! It's hard to talk without your mouth being open.

James 3:10 says, Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. What we say to others, or about others, can bring about much good. It can bring about peace, unity, understanding, and goodwill. What we say can demonstrate our love for God and show our concern for the spiritual and physical needs of our neighbors. What we say can also bring about much evil. It can cause dissention, conflict, distrust, and strife. The tongue can be a consuming fire. We need to remove the fire logs of the talebearer, for without wood, the fire goes out!