“If only you would be altogether silent!
For you that would be wisdom.”
This verse was spoken by Job, to his not-so-helpful friend Zophar, after Zophar had opined for 20 verses, which was after Bildad had given his thoughts for 22 verses, which was after Eliphaz had shared his two cents for 21 verses… Seems like Job had good reason to feel like he was being lectured unnecessarily. And unhelpfully.
Now, please know that I believe it is vital to understand God’s Word in context. Taking bits and pieces of it, “cafeteria style” will lead to our not understanding His message, and it can even cause us to “create” our faith the way we think it should look. Job 13:5 needs to be understood in the context of all of chapter 13, which needs to be understood in the context of all of the Book of Job, which needs to be understood in the context of all of Scripture… I think you get the point.
But I also believe, as is obvious from the nature of this humble blog, that individual words and phrases and verses can hold wisdom and value for us. Sometimes, as we read, something will leap out at us, and will make itself applicable to our lives in some way. And so this verse did for me.
While in a lot of situations I am not what I would consider to be a talker, I would be willing to bet that my husband, and my kids sometimes feel that less would be more when it comes to my talking. Certainly, what I feel is helpful instruction might often be construed by my kids as lecturing. And they sometimes joke with me that they’re afraid to ask me a question, because my answer is going to begin with, “Well, honey, after God created Adam and Eve…” and might include a few more details than they wanted.
For many of us, our times of prayer becomes about what we have to say to God, not about hearing what He might have to say to us. But it’s called “Quiet Time” for a reason. In silence, He can convey peace, guidance, encouragement and even a little discipline.
In Saratoga Springs, New York is a lake called ~ logically enough ~ Saratoga Lake. Mohawk Indian legend says that the stillness of the lake is sacred, and that if a voice is uttered on its waters, the speaker’s canoe will sink instantly. Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but I think it’s a good reminder to think of some situations as sacred, and treat them as such. That would be wisdom.