Silence – when to keep quiet?

 keep-silence"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause." Mark Twain

Pro 17:28  Even a fool keeping silence is reckoned wise, He who is shutting his lips intelligent!

I have often wondered when it is more prudent to keep silent. There is that saying that evil prevails when good men say nothing… or something like that.  With the world increasingly edging towards a society that reflects the days of Noah, are those who truly seek good and hate evil ever to be silent?

Just read this and see what you think…

Amo 5:13  Therefore he that is prudent shall keep silence in such a time; for it is an evil time.
Amo 5:14  Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live; and so Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be with you, as ye say.
Amo 5:15  Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate: it may be that Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.
Amo 5:16  Therefore thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the Lord: Wailing shall be in all the broad ways; and they shall say in all the streets, Alas! Alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful in lamentation to wailing.
Amo 5:17  And in all vineyards shall be wailing; for I will pass through the midst of thee, saith Jehovah.
Amo 5:18  Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! Wherefore would ye have the day of Jehovah? It is darkness, and not light.
Amo 5:19  As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
Amo 5:20  Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
Amo 5:21  I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

I have to say I was a bit puzzled about this whole keeping silent thing, especially when there are so many bible verses that say things like…

Isa 62:6  `On thy walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen, All the day, and all the night, Continually, they are not silent.’ O ye remembrancers of Jehovah, Keep not silence for yourselves,

So, what does it mean, this being prudent and to keep silent during a particular  time?

A little bit of a ‘silent’ word search suggests that those who are silent have been struck dumb by the Hand of God Himself.

In the same book – Amos – there is a prophecy of the famine of the Word of God…

Amo 8:11  Behold, the days come, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah.
Amo 8:12  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of Jehovah, and shall not find it.

This whole thing is really puzzling me! Thoughts?


7 thoughts on “Silence – when to keep quiet?

  1. Vee to be prudent is to be wise, and when we are wise we are gentle. Therefore, being gentle we will then be humble.

    How do we become prudent?

    We become prudent by submitting to and drawing near to HIM. We cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. We resist the powers of darkness.

    Now once all of this is done through repentance, then we will become wise, and being wise we will be gentle. When we are gentle we will be humble and when we are humble we will be wise.

    If we are none of these then we will NOT be silent.

    Are you confused, because I am.


  2. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Eccl. 3:1&7

    Living the Christian life is impossible. Merely imitating Christ is still a work of the flesh. In line with what George says, I’d add that when one has gotten to the place of repentance and complete surrender, then and only then, is His Holy Spirit in His rightful place of complete authority to discern whether to speak or remain silent, and thus live the impossible life that only He can live. Meanwhile, I think the Spirit is grieved all too often.


  3. Vee,

    In the midst of all the brass of chatter, silence is definitely golden.

    Concerning the issue of silence, you are both right and wrong; here is what I think.

    The solution is in the context. In your Amos quote of 5:13 the verse starts off with a very important word, and it is the word “Therefore.” Whenever the word “therefore” is used you must ask the question, “wherefore?” Why is it that the, “prudent shall keep silence in such a time”? Is it simply because silence is better than the noise of words? No! It is because the previous verses reveal a God who knows all things and has spoken in judgment, and he who is prudent will remain silent, and will not rise in his own defense, because the time is evil, even beyond our ability to comprehend it. It is the “prudent” man who will not take his stand against the Mighty King. Silence is the only wise reply to the Judge of all men.

    These verses are not meant to shut the lips of the watchman, nor silence the sound of truth, or dim the light of the “city on a hill that can’t be hid.”

    The sound of truth is no uncertain sound or a banging cymbal, but the proclamation that justice is coming and that the prudent should remain silent while the Judge speaks, then do exactly as He says, with his hand over his mouth; no question, no reply, just silence.

    I do not mean to advocate that the watchman add to the clamor coming from the world with an unruly tongue or keyboard, only that we have our commission, and it is not to be silent.

    Steve Blackwell


  4. When we are wise we understand, and when we understand we will show good conduct. All wisdom is from above, which is peaceable, gentle, willing to to yield, full of mercy and good fruit.

    Therefore, all our good fruit can only be sown by peace,and as pearly says that until we control our flesh we will not reach the end of our race of being PRUDENT!


  5. Great post! I really appreciated Steve’s points as I am concerned in these times that maybe I should just keep quiet. Good stuff 🙂


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