A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompense of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.
Speaking right and doing right bring rewards. The world may no longer exalt virtue, but this true proverb gives wonderful advice. If you use your mouth for kind, spiritual, and wise words, God and men will reward you with satisfying honors. And both God and men will also surely compensate you for works of charity, godliness, and truth.
The only speech that brings good and satisfying rewards is pure and wise speech, which the proverb implies. If you use your mouth for folly, lies, or boasting, it will bring trouble (Prov 10:6,14,31; 12:18; 13:3; 18:6-7,21; 20:17). The same is true of actions – things done with your hands. Only noble deeds bring good rewards (Prov 6:17; 10:4; 26:6; Is 3:10-11).
This wicked generation says, “Only the good die young.” But their idea of good is what God calls wicked. Think Janis, James, Jimi, Jim, Marilyn, and Diana. It is dangerous times, when it becomes popular to despise those who are truly good, especially by today’s carnal Christians (II Tim 3:3). Good is out; cool is in. Good is square; sin is hip.
But that is all a lie from hell, for it is the wicked that die young (Prov 10:27; Eccl 7:17). If you want to have a happy and long life, it is by speaking and doing good (Ps 34:12-16; I Pet 3:10-13). Instead of despising good men, you should love them (Ps 119:63; Titus 1:8).
Good speech does bless others (24:26). But the reward in this proverb is to the speaker (13:2; 15:23; 18:20). Kings will befriend a man with gracious speech (22:11). How could Pharaoh resist promoting Joseph (Gen 41:39-45)? Jonathan resist loving David (I Sam 18:1-4)? Nebuchadnezzar resist promoting Daniel (Dan 2:46-49)? What will the King of kings do for those who speak to others about Him (Mal 3:16-18)? Read it, and shout!
Speech that brings reward is gracious (Col 4:6), wise and kind (31:26), helpful for those in trouble (31:8-9), honest (12:22), and always thankful (I Thess 5:18). It does not include corrupt words (Eph 4:29), speaking evil of dignities (Jude 1:8), foolish talking or jesting (Eph 5:3-5), or backbiting (25:23). It blesses enemies (Matt 5:44), warns friends (Lev 19:17), comforts the feebleminded (I Thess 5:14), and honors parents (Deut 27:16).
Good speech is from a good heart (22:11; Matt 12:33-37). And a good heart also does good things. Your body is the Lord’s; He created it, and He bought it; your body is twice His (I Cor 6:13-20)! No one serves God “for nought” (Job 1:9-10)! Diligence will bring you before kings (22:29). Visiting widows is pure religion (Jas 1:27). Following Christ brings reward now and later (Mark 10:28-30). And so does a cup of water (Matt 10:42)!
Good deeds are the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, righteousness, and truth (Gal 5:22-23; Eph 5:9). Bad deeds are signs of carnal Christians – self-love, coveting, boasting, pride, blasphemy, disobedience to parents, unthankful, unholy, perverted love, truce breakers, false accusers, unruly, fierce, despisers of good people, traitors, heady, haughty, lovers of pleasures more than God and having only a hypocritical form of religion (II Tim 3:1-5).
Your goal is to be like Jesus Christ. He grew in favour with God and men (Luke 2:52). His speech was gracious beyond belief (Ps 45:2; Luke 4:22). He went about doing good to all (Acts 10:38). But did He not die young, you say? He laid down His life, forgiving the soldiers, in the ultimate act and words of goodness for His elect. What was His reward? Promoted to the pinnacle of the universe (Phil 2:5-11; Eph 1:19-23; Heb 12:1-3)! ✦ – Carolyn Kessler