The king of Assyria had sent someone to Jerusalem with a message for the Jews:
Come over to our side. Don’t listen to your king who tells you to trust God. Who is God compared to the great king of Assyria? What could the gods of Hamath and Arpad do to protect their people from Assyria? Nothing! Don’t think your God is any different. If you make a deal with us, you’ll be safe, and you’ll have plenty of food, wine, and fresh water. If you don’t – we’ll conquer you just like we did the nations around you.
I love the response of the Jews gathered at the rally that day. They just stood there and didn’t say a thing. I imagine the Assyrian representative expected cheers and excitement, maybe even an argument or two. What he got was silence. Maybe we could learn something from this example.
I’m sure our politicians could learn something. I digress.
Sometimes voicing an opinion, or arguing, or even quoting Scripture, just makes matters worse. Have you ever, in hind sight asked yourself – why did I say that? I sure have. And most of the time I can recognize that I’d ignored a nudge from God to just keep my mouth shut.
Look at Jesus’ example. I can’t think of a time when He entered into a debate. I don’t see Him arguing. I see Him answering questions, often pointing out sin so He could forgive the sinner, preaching to people who came to hear Him preach. But I see Jesus always carefully choosing His words.
And sometimes, Jesus refused to have a conversation. When He sent His disciples out, He told them that if the people weren’t receptive, they should shake the dust of the city off their feet and keep moving. Jesus stood before His accusers and didn’t say a thing. Yes, there is a lesson here we would be wise to learn.
Here’s another thing that spoke to me through these chapters today. And it’s a caution to we who are God’s children. We shouldn’t go along with every idea out there. We shouldn’t agree with every change, every whim, every philosophy that vies for our attention. The Jews that day didn’t rush to follow the Assyrians, even though I’m sure to some the offer was enticing. They held their tongues. And in doing so, they didn’t surrender to the enemy.
This is not to say we should never talk about the Savior or share the Gospel with unbelievers. Quite the contrary. Scripture not only tells us there is a time to refrain from speaking, it also says there is a time to speak. (Ecclesiastes 3) But what I hear God saying through this Scripture is, let Him take the lead. Don’t barge ahead and blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Learn to be sensitive to God’s nudges, His timing.
Because sometimes He can speak loudly through our silence.