3 – Foot in mouth, rams horns, and blessed silence
silent is not in my nature. It is not necessarily opposed to my
nature, but we all have things that God asks for us that are a tad
harder than they would be for someone else. This is mine.
gentleness...and silence. These are my challenges.
time in college, one of my professors turned to me and said, “I
want you to count to ten before you answer a question in this class.
Let's just see if anyone else answers first. Ok? Just wait and see.”
She was speaking the truth in love, for sure, and at the time, as
hard as it was to hear, those words of truth cut straight to my heart
and change began. To this day, I usually count to ten before
answering anything in a group situation. And I still praise God for
that admonishment to grow up. I didn't get it instantly, but I got it
eventually. And I'm still a work in progress.
tells us there is indeed a time to keep silence. I love the language
of the translation. I can picture holding silence as a precious
commodity. In a world filled with noise, we have the opportunity, the
gift from God, to hold silence close.
Hebrew verb root “chashah”, for keeping silent in Ecclesiastes
3:7, is an active word. We are not simply silent out of happenstance,
but we have chosen silence, we do silence, we choose inactivity even.
a house full of small people, we try to teach the value of silence
every day. My children, like myself, love to fill the void. Most of
us, as moms or grandmas, or siblings, understand the value of
silence. Noise, laughter, arguing, and daily living all compete with
silence. And there is a time for these things as well, which is part
of the essence of Ecclesiastes 3. The back and forth, the seasons and
cycles of life.
else does God have to say about the value of silence?
6 contains a fun story many of us remember from our youth – Joshua
and the Battle of Jericho. Read below and see how God worked in the
silence and in the shouting.
just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing
the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Lord went
forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of
the Lord following them. 9 The
armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the
trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while
the trumpets blew continually. 10 But
Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your
voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the
day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” 11 So
he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going
about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the
Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the
ark of theLord. 13 And
the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns before
the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets
continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear
guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets
blew continually. 14 And
the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into
the camp. So they did for six days.
the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched
around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that
day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And
at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua
said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you
10 above says that the people were instructed not to shout or open
their mouth until they were instructed to do so. These instructions
may seem odd to us, but God has that right. He has a plan and
sometimes surprising, or contrary to our nature. Many times God works
in the silence. When we seize the opportunity to hold our tongues in
a stressful situation in particular, we let God do His work instead
of getting in the way. God may call on us to speak, just as on the
seventh day the Israelites shouted, but the time in between can be
used to seek God, to pray for the words, to be given wisdom and
took many opportunities to remain silent. When you read some of the
examples, they are just beautiful. When the pharisees charged him, he
sometimes answered and sometimes kept silent. Isaiah 53 tells us that
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, but did not open His mouth.
And perhaps one of the stories where Jesus's intentional silence is
most clear is found when Jesus comes before Pilate.
the passage from Matthew's Gospel in chapter 27:11-14, below:
Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are
you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said
so.” 12 But
when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no
answer. 13 Then
Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they
testify against you?” 14 But
he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the
governor was greatly amazed.
times, Jesus keeps silence in this passage. Why? I don't know, but
what we do know is that God had a plan and Jesus was walking in and
through that plan. Jesus was not looking to testify to skirt around
the plan. He chose silence and left pilate amazed.
I discovered this beautiful verse at a time in my life when silence
was my only option. When life itself had taken away my speech, when I
was world weary, trampled on, and exhausted from the battle of it
all...I could only be silent. Pay close attention to verse 14
below...a balm for the soul, sisters.
Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the
salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.
For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see
again.The Lord will
fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
are battles that are truly not ours. They are God's. He would have us
hand them to Him and let Him do what He does best.
time to keep silence, it sounds restful to me. I pray today, sisters,
that you find some rest in God, a moment to be silent in His presence
and with His Word. You speak, Lord, we're listening.
you naturally a talkative person or quieter?
was a time you felt it difficult to stay silent and you should have
(insert foot in mouth)?
have you been blessed by a period of silence?
Labels: faith, patience, words