Exodus 14:14 – “The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” NASB
I love this passage because of what it implies to each of us in our daily encounters. I take this passage and some experiences I have had, where God instructed me to ‘keep quiet’ and let Him work and am encouraged.
I served as Senior Pastor in several churches and watched as difficulties between members of the local congregation would break out. In one such time of turmoil, the Holy Spirit asked, “Why does this infighting exist?” I attempted to detail why I thought the various factions were at odds with each other. After I had given my reasons, I felt drawn to James 4 and discovered the real reason for the difficulties.
It was spiritual, in nature, and sprang out of problems in the flesh. It was, as are all problems, rooted in things like envy, greed, and pride. It was wounded feelings because of a perception that a right, position, or authority had been usurped. It was because someone felt disrespected and the wound incurred had driven them to seek revenge or as is often called, justice.
In Proverbs 13:10 we find the result of pride is strife. Paul addressed the matter in 2 Corinthians 12:20 and the writer of Proverbs brings revelation in 17:14 telling us, “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore, stop contention before a quarrel starts.” When we take matters into our own hands and demand a pound of flesh and Justice, we create needless division and strife.
The Psalmist declared in 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God…” Moses told Israel as they were fretting over the impending doom they perceived was coming at the hands of the angry Egyptians, “Keep Silent and God will Fight this Fight.” I have discovered that if we persist in handling it ourselves, God will let us and we almost always find the matter growing worse, not better. We discover wounds become gaping not simply flesh wounds. I have seen friends irrevocably estranged because of that very thing.
There have been times when I heard in my heart the Spirit of God saying, “Keep your mouth shut and watch what I do.” In those times that I heeded that directive and truly practiced silence when everything in me said, “Don’t let them get away with this” I saw amazing results. I let a man steam for an hour once and never uttered a sound. He first became angry at my silence, and after he had vented his anger to the max, my refusal to participate opened the door for the Lord to touch his heart. He stopped suddenly with a perplexed look on his face and said, “I’m sorry, this was about me not you.” Had I engaged tit for tat, word for word, insult for insult, accusation for accusation we would have seen the church split apart. He became a staunch defender of me and the work of God rather than an antagonist.
I have had people tell me, “I don’t get mad, I get even” and justified their retaliation. I have had people tell me, “I just speak my mind, and tell it like it is” as justification or excuse for being harsh and cruel. I said to a person who said that as they were wondering why people did not like them, “You don’t tell it like it is, you tell it like you think it ought to be.” As the anger begin to rise in them, I said, “But God loves you so much, He gave His Son for you.” They paused and with a look of almost panic said, “Preacher that hurts, because that means God loves them too and I guess none of us are perfect, are we?”
The Bible in Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh, words stir up anger.” If you feel yourself being tempted to ‘speak your mind harshly’ or in a time of strife where you are under attack, take the biblical prescription for peace. Stop, allow the moment to cool, and either hit the mute button on your mouth or offer a gentle response. Yes, there might be some who will consider that weakness and increase the attack, but over time, you will watch God do His work in their hearts and bring peace.
God bless you as you enjoy the Power of God demonstrated as you stay out of the way and keep silent.
Have a great day in Him!