1 Samuel 18:5-16
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.