Throughout the chapter, we see echoed the idea that wisdom is better than any other asset, for all other things can be obtained wisely. Unless you don’t really need it, and then wisdom guides against it. And there is Proverbs 22:13, which is one of my favorite Bible verses.
Let’s turn our attention to Proverbs 22:11 and consider its implications.
First, do not overlook the plain intent of the passage. Purity of heart and gracious speech are being commended by Solomon here. Our first task is to know what these are.
Purity of heart has to do with the motivations of a person. While it is true that we never know a person’s motivations (unless they tell us, and then we still have a level of uncertainty), typically their actions and words will reveal their motivation.
Gracious speech is not about flattering speech, but about how we present the truth. Flattery is telling someone what they want to hear, but graciousness presents the truth in as clear and gentle a manner possible.
These two concepts are not about hiding truth or deceiving anyone.
Second, let us look to how the person with these qualities is known. The king is his friend: this assumes a righteous king, something that does not always occur. However, the King of Kings is always on the throne to be considered in this passage. One who is gracious and pure is acting as a friend to the Lord Jesus.
Much could be said about kings who do not want friends who are pure of heart, but that’s another post. Focus on this: be who you know God has commanded you to be. Let the rest fall out as it does.
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