The phrase, “silence is golden” may sound like a saying from Scripture, but like “cleanliness is next to godliness”, the literal phrase is not found in the Bible. However, the Bible recognizes that silence has a place in our lives as much as speaking: “There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Silence in those appropriate times certainly is valuable like gold.
TIMES OF COMFORT
When our loved ones are suffering in times of receiving shocking news or experiencing the death of someone close to them, we wonder what words we can say to help. Sometimes being physically present, but verbally silent is the best medicine we can offer.
Job’s friends gathered with him in his physical suffering, and mental shock and “sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:13). While “afar off” they saw his physical condition to the point of “knowing him not”. They then “lifted up their voice and wept” (Job 2:12). But in his presence, they did not utter a word. Silence in the presence of very great grief are a at times more eloquent and soothing than any words that could be uttered. Their silence was no doubt comforting. It is when they began to express in words their estimation as to why their friend was suffering that they gave Job much pain and grief.
TIMES OF INTERSPECTION
Our silence can cause others to think of their own actions. Peter was moved to bitter tears when Jesus gave him a silent look (Luke 22:61-62). The silent moment produced a din of guilt thundering in Peter’s conscience. He remembered Jesus’ earlier predictions of Peter’s denial in the face of his own words to the contrary. Jesus’ silence gave room for his earlier words to resonate in Peter’s mind.
Pilate could only marvel when Jesus, in the face of accusations and Pilate’s own demands, refused to answer any more of his questions. (Mark 15:5). Words defending himself before His enemies would not change their murderous scheme. Silence left Pilate thinking of Jesus’ last spoken words claiming He was “King of the Jews” (Mark 15:2), as he faced his own cowardly plans. Our silence certainly forces others to hear and live with their own thoughts.
TIMES OF NEEDED ORDER
How much communication and learning is accomplished when two people are talking over each other? Not much. It is when the restless mob settled down to “great silence” and were “the more silent ” that they gave themselves the opportunity to hear and evaluate Paul’s defense (Acts 19:40, 22:2). When a prophet received a revelation in the assemblies of the church the other prophet speaking was to “keep silence” (I Corinthians 14:30). Prophets were to prophesy “one by one that all may learn and all may be exhorted” (I Corinthians 14:31). Speaking prophets revealed God’s mind. Appropriate silence allowed the words to create learning and exhortation. In the assemblies all things are to be done decently and in order (I Corinthians 14:40). Appropriate silence allows for such edifying occasions. Silence indeed has its golden moments. <Jerry Fite>
DO YOU WANT TO BE CLOSE TO GOD?
Today, think about how close to God you feel. Do you really feel God is with you and that He knows and cares about you? Do you feel God is really involved in your life, or do you feel He is far away from you?
Well, there are four simple steps you can take to get closer to God. First, decide you really want to be close to God. James 1: 7-8 speaks of a “double-minded” man who really hasn’t made up his mind about what he wants. The Bible says that man should not expect to receive anything from God! Yes, to get close to God, you must decide you really want to. Second, do the will of God. Jesus said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.” (Jn. 14: 23). Third, listen to God every day. As you read and meditate on the Scriptures daily, you will find that the Word of God, the Scriptures, is very persuasive and compelling. The Scriptures have drawing power, and they will draw you closer to God. In Isa. 55: 3, God Himself said: “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live.” Fourth, speak to God every day. Jesus often spoke to His Father in prayer, sometimes rising before dawn to find a quiet place and time. On at least one occasion He spent an entire night in prayer. We desperately need to recognize our need for prayer. As we share our burdens and needs with God, we will find ourselves being drawn closer and closer to Him.
The words of the old hymn: “Be With me Lord,” says it well.
“Be with me, Lord, no other gift or blessing,
Thou couldst bestow could with this one compare;
A constant sense of Thy abiding presence,
Where e’re I am to feel that Thou art near.”
That hymn was sung at my mother’s funeral some 59 years ago. Yes friends, that’s what we all need, and by drawing near to God, that’s what we all can have. Think on these things. <Dennis Abernathy-White Oak Church of Christ-P. O. Box 454-White Oak, TX firstname.lastname@example.org>