Catchy phrases that rhyme don’t make them true. I’ve seen this one quite a bit lately “Silence=Violence”. Well, that’s simply not true no matter how cute it sounds.
The word silence has drawn my attention the past few days. I’ve held close to my heart the scripture from Ecclesiastes 3:7 that tells us there’s a time to be silent and a time to speak.
I continue to let that be the prayer of my heart. Often I’m tempted, or even follow through, on speaking out of my emotions or my sin of pride. The Lord will reveal to me, often through the convicting word of another, and I have the opportunity to repent, remember, and choose wiser next time. God’s mercy is fresh daily. Praise God!
So I’ve been mulling over the word silent. When does God instruct us to be silent? Some circumstances demand we speak, but others request our silence.
First, we ask God. We seek Him. We find Him in prayer, in His Word, and later He will speak to us through others and our world as we move through our day seeking Him.
As I prayed asking God to direct me toward knowing when to be silent, He brought me to the book of Amos.
Verse 5:13 “Therefore the wise person will keep silent at such a time, for the days are evil.”
Friends, we are in fact living in evil days.
The study notes say that because the people with power were so hostile to anyone who told the truth in the courts of law, honest and decent people were being silenced. Now if that doesn’t make us pause and consider what we are seeing in the world today, I don’t know what will.
I read a further commentary on this verse that said it didn’t apply to the prophets who were called to reprove no matter the consequences, but the private person by speaking out would only bring on ill will and hear God blasphemed, which would hurt them deeply.
Remember last week God kept bringing me the word light especially connecting the light to the darkness? Well, here we are again.
Amos 5:20 Won’t the Day of the Lord be darkness rather than light, even gloom without any brightness in it?
Amos 5:8 The One who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns darkness into dawn and darkens day into night who summons the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the earth. Yahweh is His name. He brings destruction on the strong and it falls on the stronghold.
The Day of the Lord is near. God will deal. God won’t be silent. For a little while more, evil will remain, but its escalation is simply due to the fact that the demons at work know they are on borrowed time. I believe we are seeing events played out we’ve only read about. Now we are living them in real time. That means we better be living armored up, strengthening our faith, and shining light everywhere we go.
Ok, so there’s definitely times to be silent. But when do we speak?
“One who rebukes a person will later find more favor than one who flatters with His tongue.”
There’s a lot of flattery going on right now friends.
In my study Bible, the notes explain the exception to this is when rebuking a mocker with a cross reference to Proverbs 9:7 “The one who corrects a mocker will bring dishonor on himself; the one who rebukes a wicked man will get hurt.”
Looking at the study notes again it explains we are to avoid the unteachable.
Avoid the unteachable, the fool, the mocker. They will NOT receive your wisdom. They speak a different language. You will become distracted and dishonored in the process.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Again looking at the study notes to help it make sense. “The wise are teachable BECAUSE they are humble and they fear the Lord.” They don’t fear man, they fear the Lord.
This is key. I’ve approached people with truth and love and received vastly different responses. But as believers we are SUPPOSED to be humble and teachable. So if we are rebuked, and a friend speaks truth into our lives, we should be humble enough to consider the words by taking them to the Lord. And if we see something false or needing correction in the life of our fellow believer, it’s loving to point them back to God’s Word.
James 5:19-20 “My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
Right now the world is filled with prideful spirits totally unteachable and believers wandering from the truth. I pray out loud a particular prayer with one of my boys every single night. “Lord, give him a soft heart and a teachable spirit.” The reason I pray that with one child is his bent is not towards teachability ?
Here’s where I landed as I wrestled this down with God yesterday. Each situation is unique for when we speak and when we are silent.
For our brothers and sisters in Christ, when we see them following a path of lies opposed to the truth of God’s Word, I believe we speak. But when the mob is speaking and we feel tempted to speak against it, it’s likely wiser to remain silent unless we speak the gospel and the gospel alone.
Until God captures the human heart, it lives in rebellion to Him. Right now more than ever we need to be praying for wisdom and discernment. Otherwise we may be carried away with the popular voice that echoes the world.
Lord, our prayer today is to give us a heart for you. Guide us by your Spirit, fill us with your wisdom, teach us when to speak and when to be silent. May we spend so much time with you that we overflow your love to those around us. This world is in desperate need of You and You’ve been here the entire time, but we’ve removed you from our schools, communities, and our lives. Forgive us. Heal our land. Send us out to make disciples of all nations. Protect your people, ready our hearts for the season we are living in. Amen.