Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #15 Apples to Apples

September 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs | Liz Curtis Higgs

Autumn. Brilliant blue skies. A crispness to the air. Vibrant shades of burnt orange, brick red, and harvest yellow. Apple cider, freshly pressed. Apple cobbler, hot from the oven. Apples dipped in caramel and rolled in nuts…

Oh my.

In celebration of Autumn, this week’s verse is short, sweet, and calorie-free. Promise.

Like apples of gold in settings of silver
    is a ruling rightly given. Proverbs 25:11

"Like apples of gold…" Proverbs 25:11

Like apples of gold… Proverbs 25:11

My husband swears by Golden Delicious. Our daughter’s a Gala girl. I’m a Winesap woman or, when they’re on sale, juicy Honeycrisp.

But this “golden apple” (ERV) in Proverbs is tasty for a different reason. It’s “precious” (CEV) and valuable, pleasing to the eye, “like a design” (GNT). Though the Hebrew word tappuach simply means “apple,” in this verse that familiar fruit is made out of zahab—pure gold.

Sink your teeth in that, and you’ll be headed for the dentist.

Instead, this proverbial golden fruit is meant to be admired, sought after, and savored. Like wisdom. Like honor. Like truth.

"…in settings of silver…" Proverbs 25:11

…in settings of silver… Proverbs 25:11

The Hebrew word keseph means “silver.” You know, coins and such. But maskith in Hebrew means a bunch of things, most of them carved images.

That’s why Bible translators were all over the map on this one. It’s either a “network of silver” (ASV) or “a silver tray” (HCSB) or something “inscribed with silver (JUB) or “a custom-made piece of jewelry” (MSG). Okay, then.

Here’s the real story: This proverb describes something “as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl” (NCV)—Matthew Henry believes this “ornament of the table” was well known in Solomon’s time—comparing it to the equally appealing dessert we find in the second half of the verse.

"…is a ruling rightly given." Proverbs 25:11

…is a ruling rightly given. Proverbs 25:11

It’s a fact: “the right word at the right time” (CEV) is downright delicious. When an idea is “well-expressed” (GNT) and “skillfully spoken” (NET) by someone who knows what she’s talking about, everyone looks around with a sense of satisfaction. They smile at one another, nod their heads. Yes. Well done.

Instead of argument? Agreement. Instead of dissent? Consent.
All because of an aptly chosen word.

Timing is everything. And that’s where I usually blow it.

Standing in my wedding reception line, I gushed to a close single friend, “You’ll be next!” Not very thoughtful, Liz. Who wants to be reminded at a wedding that she came alone, isn’t married, dearly longs to be, and has no prospects in sight? Groan.

A few years later, a friend who is deaf and incredibly gifted at reading lips spoke at our local Christian school. When I asked her, “Were the kids quiet for you?” she said with a straight face, “Oh, they were very quiet.” Real sharp there, Liz.

As you can see, foot-in-mouth disease is common at the Higgs house. Given time, I could easily come up with a dozen more examples of my verbal foolishness. That’s why this is my constant prayer: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Lord, even the right word at the wrong time can damage a friendship or create problems. Guard my mouth. Teach me to think before I speak. Help me say nothing rather than something hurtful or unhelpful. Remind me to affirm others whose speech is sweet, then follow their good example. And Lord? Thanks for your unending patience.

Proverbs 25:11

Now it’s your turn

  • Since “timely advice is lovely” (NLT), when did someone bring you the right word at the right time? And how did it encourage you?

Thanks for taking a moment to Post a Comment below, knowing that your words will bless many. So glad to be spending our autumn Wednesdays together!

Your grateful sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs

P.S. Your Printable of Proverbs 25-11 awaits you, as well as colorful pins to share on Pinterest. If you haven’t checked them out yet, take a peek!

BibleGateway Blogger Grid I love being part of (in)courage! I am honored to write for P31 Ministries

21 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #15 Apples to Apples

  1. Dawn September 24, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Last night at Bible study (we are studying Really Bad Girls of the Bible), we ended up talking about having strong personalities (steamroller :), and when talking to men that we need to watch how we convey our message to them. That if we come on too strong, they will shut down and not listen to what we have to say. That we should prayerfully consider what God would have us say and choose our words to not come across as nagging.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      Yes, those Bad Girls (and Really and Slightly Bad Girls!) do have things to each us. :>)) Bless you for studying God’s Word with your sisters. Choosing the right words to say is definitely a good idea when talking to guys, and it’s a good idea when talking to other women too. And children. And coworkers. And…well, everybody! THANKS for sharing, Dawn.

  2. Christina Anderson September 24, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Always love your insights. As a person with a quick tongue, I have had to learn, the hard way, over the years, to think long and hard before I open my mouth and insert my foot.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

      I write from experience, that’s for sure, Christine!

  3. Julie Sunne September 24, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Yep, timing is my downfall as well, Liz. I tend to say what I think immediately when I think it. I was convicted by this verse in reference to how I speak to my husband at a Weekend to Remember event years ago: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Still working on conquering the flesh on this one through the power of the Holy Spirit. A good word. Thank you, Liz.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Beautiful companion scripture, Julie. The question I am learning to ask myself BEFORE I speak (imagine that!) is “Will this edify?” So many words are just…words. Or worse, they tear down. Thanks for reminding us to build up one another.

  4. Deb September 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    It has been a really hard year for our family. Our oldest child, who has (high functioning) autism, went from “Quirky and inflexible, but overall pretty pleasant” to “Rage filled, defiant and hateful”. He has repeatedly lied to us, stolen from us, gotten into trouble at school, alienated his good friends, started hanging with bad kids, curses, abuses social media, been disrespectful to adults and girls, tries dangerous stunts just to get attention, once ran away for nearly 24 hours…. I could go on and on. It has taken a huge toll on our three other children, our family life, and our marriage. We are exhausted physically, emotionally, and financially…..
    Anyway, a couple months ago I ran into a teacher who had all three of my older kids over the years, and she asked how our oldest was doing. I normally just give a generic “fine, thanks” when people ask about him, but this time I found myself just unloading everything. I finally finished and was embarrassed that I had shared all of our problems with her, and was just about to apologize. But she looked me in the eye and said “You know what? You guys are doing a great job with your kids. They are so lucky to have you.” I said “Are you kidding? After everything I just told you? We can’t seem to get ANYTHING right.” She smiled and said “You have FOUR great kids. One of them is struggling at the moment, but you guys will get through it. Hang in there.”
    The right words at the right time….. Just what my heart needed to hear that day.
    Thank you, Lord.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

      Wow, Deb. I can’t think of a better example than yours of a timely word. Bless her for being so sensitive, and bless you for your honesty. Sometimes we don’t give people the opportunity to help us heal with their words because we keep our pain, our words inside. Well done. And thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Praying for you right now, sis.

  5. Cheryl September 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    During one of my mother-in-laws many stays I the hospital, I was telling the nurse she had six children. She said I feel like I have 7. What an encouragement to know she loved me like a daughter.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

      I love that, Cheryl. Good for her…and good for you, loving your m-i-l. You know how much I cherish the story of Naomi and Ruth! Sounds like you two have that kind of relationship, a rare and beautiful thing.

  6. Tamara September 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    My daughter relayed to me that one of the girls on the swim team had told her I was pretty. Even better, my daughter did not seem grossed out (lol). It made my week.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      Second-hand compliments are the best! And how fun that your daughter didn’t make THAT FACE when she told you. Her friend is right, of course: you ARE pretty…because God made you so!

  7. Dalyn September 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    I am blessed to live in the part of Washington state where we grow apples. I live on a small horse ranch in the middle of miles and miles of orchards. Mostly Apple. Fuji, Goldens, Red Delicious, Gala, Honey Crisp and many more varieties. When I walk or ride my horse through the orchards when the apples are ripe there is nothing more satisfying to eat than a crunchy, just-picked apple- except God’s Word. It’s even sweeter. Your post this morning had the ability to bring all my senses into focus on this verse. ❤️ Thank you

  8. Krystal September 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    As a beginning writer, I worried no one would want to read my writings. The next day God sent me encouragement from a writer I admire. She encouraged her readers (who were writers) to write, because the world needs to hear what we have to say. We all have so much to share. We all have different styles and ways to write what God impresses on our hearts. It was exactly what I needed to hear to press on for God.
    Thanks for your beautiful words, Liz.

  9. La Vonda September 25, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    My mind goes to a beautiful scene, a silent sense of awe, like golden apples in a vessel of silver. Many years ago now, our son who was eleven years old had a tumor on his leg. The Dr. told us before he went in to surgery that if the tumor was obviously cancer, Rick would come back minus his leg. Of course, we had asked our church to pray. He came back with both legs but the Dr. said it would be another two weeks before they had thoroughly examined it to be sure it was not cancer. That evening was the regular prayer meeting time at our church so we stopped there on the way home to tell our friends the news. When we went in the lights were on but the sanctuary appeared to be empty. Then we saw the church family – they were all on their knees in front of their pews silently praying for our son – apples of gold in vessels of silver.

  10. jaime September 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    There is an issue in my family right now and I’ve had to make some hard decisions. As I’ve been sitting here wondering if I made the right decisions,my sweet little boy looks at me and says ” mommy you did the right thing.” I needed to hear it but it came from an unlikely source. And it made my day.

  11. Becky Stepp September 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    As usual, I love reading your posts and books! My comment isn’t spiritual, but in reference to the apples. I have to agree with your husband. I have found that Golden Delicious is the best apple for baking! I even make apple butter in the crock pot with them. Have a blessed Fall season!

  12. Elisabeth Allen September 26, 2014 at 2:19 am #

    Oh … I know the awkwardness of saying something sincere and spontaneous and realising as the words leave my lips that they are all wrong for the context or the time. I had one of those moments this week in fact. Eeek. I just want you to know, however, that as a girl who “isn’t married, dearly longs to be and has no prospects in sight” at just-turned-thirty, well, I actually love it when my married friends assure me that “you’ll be next” because they give me hope when I’ve given up. Maybe your friend at your wedding felt the same way. On that note … I was sooooo encouraged, recently, when on leaving a wedding at church an older friend stopped in the lobby and prayed for marriage for me there and then … that was so sweet. <3

  13. Linda H September 26, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    A great reminder of the power of words!! I have a small group of women I meet with weekly to pray. It is there that I receive loving advice and encouragement from God’s word and those ladies. We lift each other up in prayer and that is my apples of gold! Thanks Liz!! You also bring encouraging words into my life!!

  14. Lauraine September 26, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    I have been encouraged and challenged by your Proverbs series, but
    haven’t responded until now. This one really hit home. I have most of
    the proverbs about the tongue underlined as, I too, have a
    foot-in-mouth problem. Thank you for your reminder; I really needed
    it this week as I struggled to keep silent. Most of the Proverbs you
    have covered were already noted in my Bible. One of my highlighted
    ones is Proverbs 22:29. This one reminds me to “Do my best” and
    brings to mind II Timothy 2:15 and Colossians 3:17; 23. I sometimes
    get frustrated with work I have to fix because others “Haven’t done
    their job.” During those times I really need to remember those verses.
    I’m doing it for Jesus who did EVERYTHING for me. Then it isn’t a
    chore or work it’s a joy!

  15. Betsy September 27, 2014 at 1:50 am #

    Oh Liz, the Higgs house is not the only one where foot in mouth disease strikes often. It made me feel better to read about your verbal blunders because I make so many myself!
    I love your prayer at the end. I’m going to make that my own. Especially “teach me to think before I speak.”