The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
The LORD is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the bones. (Proverbs 15:28–30, ESV)
Ponder how to answer. Think about how some people’s mouths pour out evil things. The Lord hears the prayer of the righteous. The Lord is far from the wicked. These are powerful statements. The writer is encouraging us to slow down and think about our answers, about our prayers, and about our words. The Bible has a lot to say about pondering. Look at these verses:
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
(Psalm 4:4, ESV)
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.
(Proverbs 4:26, ESV)
We also can ponder the works of God.
I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
(Psalm 77:11–14, ESV)
Do you think your relationships would dramatically change if you learned to ponder things in your heart? In a world where saying what comes to the top of our heads is celebrated, do you think you have lost the ability to ponder?
In your current conflict, have you stopped to ponder the situation? If so, have you ever included God in your careful thinking? I like the way The Message translation encourages us to bring God into our pondering:
Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
(Psalm 4:4–5, MSG)
Lord, I am in conflict, so I need to ponder your great works and the path my feet are taking. I think also about how you have delivered me. Help me to keep my mouth shut, and wait on you. . . Continue praying.