Silence friend or foe?

Silence friend or foe?

February 12, 2017 @ Milestone MX Park with Over The Hill Gang

Thank you for coming this morning to Milestone MX Park for chapel service this morning!  I want to thank everyone who continues to support this ministry in donations, helps and prayer.  As many of you may or may not be aware of, my wife and I are going through a unique time in our lives.  Although it feels very compressing on all sides though not quite overbearing, surely touching all the senses but none of them are outside their normal limitations.  It is however quite likely that some of you here today are also experiencing some sort challenge or issue that hasn’t yet been fully resolved.  It may be making you uncomfortable or even willing to vent what you’re thinking and feeling.  Sometimes that venting is to yourself, sometimes it’s in a journal, sometimes it’s with a close friend and sometimes maybe even with professional assistance and all in the strictest confidence of course!

However, I’d like to transpose our personal challenges for the moment with a mention of the widely publicized complaints being brought into the national media limelight.  Our country has a unique form a governance where the ability to freely argue for or against something in public square is protected under the 1st amendment of our constitution.  It is this “right” that is being exercised though the national media.   Yet because there is such a divide within our country along the lines of Democrat vs Republican, Liberal vs Conservative, even Christian vs Other religions it does suggest a broader understanding of what it means to speak up and when should that speaking up not be done.

Let’s go to God’s Word for some help.

Exodus 14:10-15 ESV

10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And 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. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” 15 The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.

Remember what I previously mentioned about venting … this verse convicted me quickly and soundly … “you have only to be silent”.  I realized at that moment that I had been broadcasting the details of what was going on in my life in a way that this verse indicated to me that was out of context.  I thought it was ok for me to speak candidly.  So why is it not ok this time?

This is the reason for today’s message… is Silence our friend or foe?

Within various Bible translations silence is translated into various phrases that we use frequently in our everyday usage.

ASV/KJV: “hold your peace”
Basic English: “keep quiet”
Complete Jewish Bible: “calm yourselves down”
ESV: “be silent”
Message Bible: “keep your mouths shut”
NIV: “be still”
NLV: “say calm”

Some modern sayings with silence:

  • Silence is golden – origin not precisely known
  • “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” ― Will Rogers
  • “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” ― Leonardo da Vinci
  • Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.  – Abraham Lincoln

Some biblical understandings of silence:

  • Silence » Keep » Men commanded to keep silent (publically)
    • Mark 10:48 – Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
  • Silence » Keep » In God’s presence
    • Zechariah 2:13a – Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD;
  • Silence » Of Christ » Foretold
    • Isaiah 53:7 – He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
  • Silence » Of Christ » Silence encouraged, upon the disciples by Christ (privately)
    • Matthew 16:20 – He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

Things to consider regarding silence:

  • When we should have been silent and we’re not …
  • When we choose to be silent but should not be …
  • When we are silent as the situation properly requires …
  • When the Lord asks us to be silent …
  • When the Lord is silent
  • When the Lord is not silent …

How silence is wise, unwise and requires wisdom:

What I would like to focus on this morning is how silence can be a help to many situations.

Proverbs 10:19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
Proverbs 11:12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent.
Proverbs 17:27 He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
Proverbs 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.
Amos 5:13 Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.

Fill in #1: Restraining one’s lips/words, guards one’s mouth and tongue, keeps silent – this is wise

Proverbs 30:32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth.
Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
James 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

Fill in #2: If one knows one shouldn’t speak, if one is hasty, if does not bridle the tongue – this is unwise.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak.

Fill in #3: There’s a time when it’s ok to speak up/out and a time to not – this is wisdom


So let’s try to put this all together into something you can take home with you today.

When the Israelites were up against the Red Sea and they saw the Egyptian Army coming towards them, they started to express their true feelings.   Because of the immediacy that they were witnessing they started showing what we would consider (being on this side of history) as a lack of faith in God.

Scriptures tells us that we need to guard what we say and to know when it’s right to say something and when it’s not.  Surely the Israelites were in dyer straights and from a purely humanistic perspective, they were right to voice their concern.  Yet, it often comes down to context and understanding of a situation that will bring the opportunity for a reasonable if not also blessed outcome.

How many times have we spoken a bit too soon, or inserted a comment at an inopportune moment or just made a fool out of our self just because we didn’t use the good sense to think before speaking?  The lesson for today is to be careful and prudent with our words and especially with our most intimate concerns and hopes.  It’s wise to be careful with all our words.

James 1:19 NIV – My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

Matthew 12:36 ESV – I (Jesus) tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Isn’t true more often than we’d like to acknowledge that we simply talk too much?  Not only to ourselves and others, but don’t we also talk too much to God?  Telling him what we want and how we want it?  Consider the example from the prophet Samuel.

1 Samuel 3:10 NIV – The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

The question of silence being a friend or foe … can only be answered as we go.  Each of us must examine each situation with our Biblical filter being fully engaged!  We need to remember that God already knows our situation before we even speak about it, but do we really need to keep going on and on about it?  This was my conviction and I hope you heard the Lord speaking into your life today as I shared it with you today.



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