Speechless: The Power of Staying Silent


In our busy world, we are constantly fighting for our voices to be heard. But what if in some moments, the best thing we can do is be silent?

Speech is silver; silence is golden.
—Ancient Egyptian proverb

In our busy world, we are constantly fighting for our voices to be heard. But what if in some moments, the best thing we can do is be silent? There are some battles in which silence is the most powerful weapon we wield.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not talking about being arrested by fear. I’m speaking of the times when God whispers, “Leave this one to me.” In those moments, remaining still often requires more strength than striking does.

Perhaps our best biblical example of a “this one is too big for you to handle” battle is when the children of Israel left Egypt, the land of their enslavement. Even though Egypt’s pharaoh had freed the Israelites, he changed his mind and sent his entire army against them.

Naturally, the Israelites were more than a little frightened as they beheld the chariots and horses bearing down on them. By all logical assessments, they were trapped with a vast sea looming before them and the world’s finest army arrayed behind them. But our amazing God views ambushes without any means of escape as opportunities. Israel was right where God wanted them. Moses boldly declared:

“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. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Exodus 14:13–14 ESV

Of course, most of the battles we face do not include epic physical displays of power. Our enemy is not chasing us with chariots and spears. His attacks are subtler, and more likely than not he is armed with lies of distortion, isolating rumors, and immobilizing fear. Yet we are promised that God has our back because He is our rear guard. We have His assurance that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Let’s look at Moses’s admonishment again from some other angles:

Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again. God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!”
Exodus 14:13–14 The Message

And again:

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Exodus 14:13–14 NIV

There is a recurring pattern here for us to follow:

1) First and foremost, we are not to be afraid. We are to banish every aspect of fear from our minds and not allow it to muddy our thinking.

2) Next, we are charged to stand firm and hold our ground. This means we don’t run, yield, or back down but instead remain upright just where we are.

With these two elements in play, we are positioned to see God do the miraculous. He invites us to be amazed as we witness His deliverance and salvation on our behalf.

Are you facing a battle too big for you to fight? Ask God for the wisdom to discern when you need to assume the posture of fearless silence. As our Father promises, when He fights for you, the victory is assured—you need only to be still!

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