Silence is a biblical discipline which is almost a foreign concept in our society. Therefore, silence is the topic for May’s Christian Workout. If you are new to WSC and don’t know what our “workouts” are about, click here to learn more.
TALK IS CHEAP: IS THAT WHY THERE IS SO MUCH OF IT?
As mentioned above silence is not popular in our culture, while talking is a favorite past time in our world of cell phones, face time, and Skype. We can’t blame that entirely on the new-fangled technology. After all, in times past, party lines caused friction between people fighting for their talk time. However, at least the phones resided in our homes tethered to a wall or stand.
Now we carry them with us wherever we go. Don’t want to miss a call or a chance to talk!
Of course, there are
However, when the Bible addresses talking it is usually to tell us to talk less. Proverbs 10: 19: Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut (NLT). Pretty strong words!
WHAT I DISCOVERED ABOUT SILENCE.
So I started to study silence from a biblical perspective and found a biblical pattern that I’d not noticed before.
Take a look at the following examples:
Noah was not a silent shipbuilder. 2 Peter 2:5 tells us that Noah warned people about the coming destruction. Some versions call Noah “a preacher of righteousness.”
However, take note that God instructed Noah to enter the ark seven days prior to the rain. (Genesis 7:9-10) God’s word was silent before the flood.
Then there is the taking of Jericho by the Israelites. God’s instructions were to walk around the city for six days in silence. On the seventh day the people were told to shout, and God gave them the city. (Joshua 6:6-16)
A week of silence is a long time, but what about hundreds of years? There were no prophets speaking to the people during the years between the Old and New Testament, which means God did not speak to His people for four hundred years!
See the pattern? Silence before significant events: the flood, conquering Jericho, and the coming of the Messiah!
So if God chose silence to announce an event, are there reasons for us to be silent?
FIVE BIBLICAL REASONS FOR SILENCE
Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (NIV)
Have you ever been in a situation when silence was your default? You didn’t know the people and wanted to understand who they were and what they were all about before speaking.
Well knowing God is a huge undertaking;
Ecclesiastes 3: 7b: “a time to be silent and a time to speak,”
This verse applies to a multitude of situations. When the discussion gets uncomfortable or angry, it is decision time; speak or keep your thoughts to yourself? Now that doesn’t mean you don’t ever share your thoughts in these situations, but sometimes the less said, the better.
Isaiah 30:15b: “in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Isaiah is warning Judah to trust God and not Egypt. No amount of Egypt’s raucous behavior and bragging ways provides the strength found in quietly waiting on and trusting God.
In this country when we don’t trust our government, we often protest in loud and boisterous voices. There is a place for demonstrations, but not in our relationship with God. We can trust Him totally, and in this quiet confidence, we will be stronger.
Habakkuk 2:20: “But the LORD is in His holy temple, let all the earth be silent before Him.”
Job learned this when he challenged God. In Job chapters 38—48:6, God answers Job (I am paraphrasing here) “what do you know?”
Do you find it annoying when people talk and offer opinions when they know nothing about the subject at hand? I do. Imagine how God feels when he hears us rambling on in ignorance. Unfortunately, sometimes we are aware of our ignorance, but the need to be a “know it all” is too much to resist.
It is better to say nothing then to be known as a fool: “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue” (Proverbs 17:28).
Speak carefully and with understanding. Spouting off is never a good idea.
Romans 8:26: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
We can babble on when we pray, but there is no need. Better to ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for us and pray in God’s will. God understands us even when we don’t speak.
MERITS OF SILENCE
Silence is biblical! For more verses on this subject click here.
God used silence strategically, especially before “big events.” Perhaps we should take a cue from Him.
Additionally, people who practice silence claim:
- it makes them more aware of their surroundings,
- taps into creativity,
- and improves listening skills.
SERVICE: VOW OF SILENCE
As always, we end our monthly workout blog with an idea for service. This month is a little different. Instead of serving others we will serve God through silence.
Silence quiets the chaos in our minds and allows God to break through without us trying so hard.
Perhaps you can start with silent prayer walks appreciating the beauty of creation.
Or try silence for 1/2 day at first and then work up to 24 or 48 hours or more. Pray during your silent time and call on the Holy Spirit to guide your silent prayers.
Silent retreats are popping up all over the place. Of course, a retreat allows you to be silent without the distractions of home.
While some are neutral or for Christians, many espouse the eastern religious philosophy and meditation style; therefore Christians must choose these types of getaways carefully.
You can look for different Christian centers online. Here is one you can check out.
Last month our “workout” was about Easter. Did you learn anything new? If so, please share with the group, or tell everyone about your April service project. Everyone is always looking for ideas.
Of course, if you want to comment on the subject of silence, please do so. Perhaps you have some insights that will help others with this biblical discipline.
Enjoy spring 2019 and blessings until next time.