Job 13:5, 7 If only you would be altogether silent!
For you, that would be wisdom.
Will you speak wickedly on God’s behalf?
Will you speak deceitfully for him?
My first response to verse 5 was, what a delicious put-down! However, particularly in the light of verse 7, I realized that it can be literal truth. I’m reminded of the secular proverb, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Particularly for religious professionals, the temptation to pontificate can be overwhelming, but often it is just that: a temptation from the devil. When we rattle on out of our own heads rather than humbly communicating what God is saying we do exactly what verse 7 says, speaking falsehood and deception in God’s Name. Nothing could be more dangerous. Recently the Pope has made pronouncements that are perhaps sincere, but are humanistic to the point of damaging the office. That’s simply the most visible example; lesser figures do the same with depressing frequency. In the Old Testament there are several places that denounce false prophets who claimed to speak for God but were most interested in personal profit. There are countless examples of that sort of thing today, and as Jesus said, they can be distinguished by their fruit. (Matthew 7:15-29) Even the best of us need to learn when to be quiet, because saying anything would be speaking for ourselves and not for God.
I have had more than one experience of delivering prophecy when God stopped talking and I didn’t. What a horrible feeling! Having had such an experience just previously, I was delivering a Word in a service quite a few years ago when I felt the flow stop, so I did. Immediately, with no pause whatsoever, another person on the other side of the room picked it up and completed the prophecy. That was a powerful lesson to me! I honestly don’t remember the content of the prophecy, but the experience itself was what the Lord wanted me personally to understand. I am not to speak out of my own head and pretend it’s God! That’s not to say I can’t have personal opinions or that I am never to share them, but it is to say I am to be very careful how I say anything, lest I be doing what verse 7 says. Last night in telephone counseling I was quiet for so long that the person on the other end of the line stopped to confirm I was still there, but if I had said what I was thinking, it would have destroyed our relationship. Sometimes I recognize that being silent is the wisest thing! I am to rejoice to be God’s mouthpiece and keep myself available for that purpose, but not push myself forward and never tack God’s Name onto my opinions.
Father, thank You for this Word. It rather surprised me! Help me indeed be silent when I should, as well as speak when You want me to, so that Your Word may accomplish that for which You send it (Isaiah 55:11) and my words not get in the way, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God.