Exodus 14:14 Knox, “It is the Lord that will do battle for you; your part is silence.”
God blessed us with a voice to communicate and fellowship with Him and to communicate with one another. However, there are certain times when we need to keep silent! Let’s look at some examples in Scripture.
IN TIMES OF UNBELIEF
After God delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, they camped by the Red Sea. But soon the Egyptian army pursued them! Now they were hedged in with no way of escape—the sea in front of them, the Egyptians after them. Their song of victory soon turned to doubt and fear and they turned against Moses with bitter complainings. Isn’t that what we often do when things are going wrong? We complain and grumble!
But what did Moses say? “It is the Lord that will do battle for you; your part is silence.” (Exodus 14:14 Knox) If only we could take these words to heart in the situations that we face! I grew up with the saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!” I think we should add this adage too, “When faced with insurmountable problems, if you can’t speak faith and trust in God, don’t say anything at all!”
I am also reminded of the battle of Jericho. The strategy God gave Joshua was for all the men of war to compass the city every day for seven days and seven times on the seventh day. Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall you shout.” (Joshua 6:10)
God had a good reason for this. If He had allowed them to talk, they would have doubted and complained, “How can we take a city by just walking around it? How dumb! We’ll be defeated. This is madness!” God did not one doubt to come forth from their mouths until the moment of victory! And this was the shout of deliverance!
Do you think you could make this a precedent in your life? When you face a situation where there is no hope unless God breaks through, instead of speaking negativity, fear and hopelessness, keep silent! Your part is to stand still, keep quiet and see the salvation of the Lord.
IN TIMES WHEN YOU THINK IT IS NOT FAIR
One terrible day, two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, offered strange fire before the Lord. God suddenly blazed forth fire from heaven and consumed them! Aaron was stunned! He could not understand God’s severity of punishment on his sons whom he loved. In his agonizing grief, Aaron must have complained bitterly until Moses told him what the Lord said, “By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.’ So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.” (Leviticus 10:3 NAS)
When God revealed His holiness, Aaron was reduced to silence. Many times things happen in our lives that we do not think are fair. Once again, we complain and argue with God. We must be careful that we do not reduce God down to our level and our puny understanding. God sees things from eternity. He is the Sovereign God. If we cannot confess our trust in God, then we should be silent!
I am sure Job did not think it was fair that he had to suffer in the way that he did. In one day his ten children were killed and all his sheep, oxen and camels were taken away. And then he was covered with boils, living in pain and misery. He had many arguments with his three friends and with God!
Eventually Job got the message that God is in control and that He holds us in the palm of His hand. God said to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? …Then Job replied to the Lord, ‘I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hand over my mouth in silence. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.’” (Job 40:1-4)
It was when he became silent, instead of putting up his ideas and arguments, that God revealed Himself to him. Soon he was healed and God blessed the latter end of Job even more than his beginning.
David cried, “Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Rescue me from my rebellion… I am silent before you; I won’t say a word. For my punishment is from you.” (Psalm 39:9 NLT)
Arguing with God will never get us anywhere. We will do better when we see things from an eternal perspective rather than an earthy perspective. When we see things from God’s perspective, we will keep silent. We will have no more arguments.
IN TIMES OF PERSECUTION AND RIDICULE
When we are persecuted, or people say unkind things to us or behind our back, we want to answer back. We want to defend ourselves. This is the natural way. But God has a better way. Silence! What? You mean to say that I can’t even defend myself?” Do you mean to say I have to shut my mouth when my husband is accusing me?
Jesus gave us this example when he was accused.
Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, ye he opened not his mouth.”
Matthew 26:62-63 NLT, “The high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ’Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?’ But Jesus remained silent.”
Matthew 27:12 NLT, “When the leading priests and other leaders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent.”
1 Peter 2:23, “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.”
David also shut his mouth in the face of accusers.
Psalm 38:12-15, “They that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. But... I was as a dumb man that opens not his mouth.”
Remember, there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent!
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“Father, please strengthen my trust in you, to know that you are the Sovereign Lord and nothing is out of your control. Take away all arguments from my mouth and please save me from speaking negative and complaining words that only bring destruction and do not help the situation. Amen.”
I am learning when to speak and when to keep silent!