The north wind drives away rain: so does an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.…
I. AGAINST SLANDER. (Ver. 23.) Here is a striking picture. Gunning and slanderous habits beget a dark and gloomy expression on the brow; as a homely German proverb says, "He makes a face like three days' rainy weather." The countenance, rightly read, is the mirror of the soul. Without the candid soul the brow cannot be clear and open. If we look into the mirror, we may see the condemnation which nature (that is, God) stamps upon our evil and unholy moods.
II. AGAINST CONTENTIOUSNESS. (Ver. 24.) Better solitude than the presence of the quarrelsome in the home. A wife is either the husband's most satisfying delight or the cruetlest thorn in his side.
III. UNHOLY COWARDICE. (Ver. 26.) Faint heartedness springs from need of genuine faith. To see the chief struck down in battle dismays the band.
"He is gone from the mountain, he is lost to the forest, Like a summer-dried fountain, when our need was the sorest!" And if the good man is a fountain of help and encouragement by his example, how does the drying up of such a spring - the failure to assert the truth and confront the gainsayer - dismay and paralyze those who look on!
IV. EXCESS IN SPECULATIVE THOUGHT. (Ver. 27.) There may be too much of any good thing, even of the pursuit of knowledge. It is too much when it disturbs the health; as a common proverb of the Germans says, "To know everything gives the headache." It is too much when it disturbs the moral balance and unfits for society. We must know when to leave the heights of speculation and nestle in the lowly vale of faith.
V. WANT OF SELF-CONTROL. (Ver. 28.) It is like an undefended city or one in ruins. How weak is it to be able to endure nothing, to deem it a mark of strength to resist every provocation and injury! Let us learn, after Christ's example, to be abused without being angry; to give soft words and hard arguments; and to cultivate self-control in matters of small moment, in preparation for those of greater. For "if we have run with the footmen, and they have wearied us, how shall we contend with horses?" - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.