They were singing and dancing in the streets, welcoming and honoring this young man who had defended the name of their God. If there is a single statement that best describes David at this time in his life, it would be this one: “David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him” (1 Samuel 18:14).
Four times in this one chapter we read that David “prospered.” That interested me, so I looked up the Hebrew word sakal from which “prospered” is derived. I discovered two insightful things about that term. Proverbs 10:19 reveals the first: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise [sakal].”
A person who is wise (who prospers) knows how to keep his mouth shut. He can keep confidences when people say, “Look, don’t share that.” That’s another characteristic of a good friend, by the way. A good friend can be trusted with the details of your life; he keeps his mouth closed.
Furthermore, when he opens his mouth, he opens it with discretion. That’s a sign of a sakal person. That was David.
And the second insight is in Proverbs 21:11: “When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; but when the wise is instructed [sakal],he receives knowledge.”
The sakal person is teachable. Again, that’s the kind of man David was. He was wise because he guarded his lips, and he maintained a teachable spirit. No matter how fast the promotion or how high the exaltation may be, we are never to lose our teachability. We never reach a level where we are above criticism or we no longer need the input of others. And, frankly, there are times when our best lessons can be learned from our enemies.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.