WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 27, 2021
TOPIC: HOLD YOUR PEACE
BY T. O. BANSO
“And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched. But some rebels said, ‘How can this man save us?’ So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace” (1 Samuel 10:26-27 New King James Version).
One of the problems of human beings is the failure to do the right thing at the right time. Because of this, we cause problems – create new ones or worsen existing ones. Doing the right thing at the right time shows someone is wise.
Solomon says for everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). This is also true of when to talk and when not to talk. Many are in trouble today because they spoke at the wrong time and worse still, they spoke the wrong thing. Proverbs 15:23 says, “Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!” (New Living Translation). Similarly, Proverbs 18:20 says, “Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction” (New Living Translation).
“Silence is golden” is a common saying. There is a time when it is better to keep quiet, even when you know what to say. It may just be wise not to say anything. Human beings are emotional creatures. God gave us our emotions. But we must never allow our emotions to control us. Your emotions may want you to speak but wisdom may tell you that it’s better to keep quiet. For example, when you’re angry, that’s not the best time to speak. A wise person will control his emotions and refrain from speaking.
Moses’ life teaches us a lesson in this regard, as speaking in anger made him act wrongly. This led to the abrupt end of his 40 years of ministry. Psalm 106:32-33 says, “They angered Him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses on account of them; because they rebelled against His Spirit, so that he spoke rashly with his lips” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation renders this scripture thus: “At Meribah, too, they angered the LORD, causing Moses serious trouble. They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly.”
People may provoke you or make you angry, but you shouldn’t allow their actions to determine your reaction. We all face this temptation. We only realize our error after we’ve spoken and many times we cannot undo the consequences of our actions.
In the face of provocation, it is wise to say nothing so that you don’t say something wrong, especially when the other person behaves unreasonably to provoke you to more anger. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19). “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 New King James Version).
If you speak in anger, you may regret what you will say. “Speak when you are angry—and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret” (Laurence J. Peter, 1919-1990). I believe you can relate to that statement. Have you said some things in the past when you were angry and later regretted it or you’re still regretting?
In 1 Samuel 10, the prophet Samuel presided over Israel’s choice of a king at Mizpah. Saul was chosen and the people proclaimed him as king. Samuel dispersed the people, and everyone left for their respective homes. “And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched. But some rebels said, ‘How can this man save us?’ So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace” (1 Samuel 10:26-27 New King James Version).
Please take note of that phrase “But he held his peace.” The Hebrew word for that phrase is charash, which, among other things, means “to be silent, to be dumb, to be speechless, to be deaf.” The rejection of Saul by some rebels or trouble makers could have elicited a wrong reaction from him. It could have prompted him to say what he should not have said. This is more so that prophet Samuel had earlier anointed him as king privately having been chosen by God in response to the people’s demand for a king.
However, Saul did the right thing by holding his peace. He was silent, dumb, speechless, or deaf! The New Living Translation says, “But Saul ignored them.” There are some people you should ignore when they say some things or act in certain ways. It takes two to tango.
Later, in chapter 11, Saul led the Israelites to save the people of Jabesh Gilead from the Ammonites who had encamped against them. The Bible says He launched a surprise attack against the Ammonites and slaughtered them the whole morning. The remnants of the enemy army were so badly scattered that no two of them were left together. After this victory, the people said to Samuel, “Who is he who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death” (1 Samuel 11:12 New King James Version). Did you see that?
The rebels were silent. They couldn’t object any more to Saul’s choice as king. Public opinion was in favour of Saul. Samuel then called the people to come to Gilgal to renew the kingdom there. They made Saul king before the LORD there. You could see that it was wise that Saul didn’t pick a quarrel with the rebels. He held his peace.
The phrase “hold your peace” is used in other places in the Bible. It means the same thing. Isaiah 64:12 says, “Will You hold Your peace, and afflict us very severely?” (New King James Version). In other words, “Will you continue to be silent and punish us?” (New Living Translation). Psalm 83:1 says, “Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God!” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation renders it as “O God, don’t sit idly by, silent and inactive!”
Again, “Hold your peace” is used in Job 13:13 in the New King James Version. But the New Living Translation uses instead “Be silent now.” Also, in Job 33:31, 33, Elihu, one of Job’s friends, told him, “Hold your peace” (New King James Version) and it means to keep silent. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English says “hold/keep your peace” means “to keep quiet even though you would like to say something.”
Learn to hold your peace. It will save you so much trouble in life. There is a time to speak and there is a time to keep silent. Sometimes it’s right to be silent because you don’t have the facts. Proverbs 18:13 says, “What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!” (New Living Translation). The New King James Version says, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.”
In Genesis 34, Jacob held his peace, apparently because he didn’t have all the facts about the rape of his daughter, Dinah. “And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter. Now his sons were with his livestock in the field; so Jacob held his peace until they came. Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him” (verses 5-6 New King James Version). Hold your peace. Don’t speak until you have the facts so that you don’t regret it.
When you hold your peace, in other words, when you are silent because that’s the wisest thing to do, people may think you’re stupid. However, you’re wise. Later on, they will appreciate your wisdom. It’s foolish and useless to speak when you should be silent. You may regret later that you spoke unadvisedly. Hold your “peace” as if something wants to rob you of it; don’t let anger, mistreatment, opposition, despise, or other negative actions of people make you speak what you’ll regret later. Hold your peace. I know it’s not easy but receive the help of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 13:3 says, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction” (New King James Version). Also, 1 Peter 3:10 says, “If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies” (New Living Translation). Hold your peace. Control your tongue. Keep silent. Remember, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless” (James 1:26 New Living Translation).
Some things are not worth reacting to. When Jesus was arrested and was being tried at the palace of the High Priest, false witnesses were called to testify against Him. Nevertheless, Jesus held His peace (Matthew 26:63; Mark 14:61). His trial was premeditated. There was nothing He said that would count. Even the little He said when they demanded His response, was used against Him by the religious leaders who acted as both the prosecutor and the judge in their own court.
Jesus held His peace even before Pilate. He had to press Him to say the little He said because He knew the verdict already. For this purpose He came – to be crucified for the sins of the world. Therefore, He made no attempt to defend Himself. Isaiah 53:7 says of Him before He was born, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth” (New Living Translation). This scripture is quoted in Acts 8:32.
Some accusations are not worth responding to. Hold your peace. Know the accusations to respond to and the ones to ignore. Let God fight for you. The LORD told the people of Judah, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you” (2 Chronicles 20:17 New King James Version). He was true to His Word. He will fight for you, too. “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:14 New King James Version). Hold your peace.
After Amnon had raped his half-sister, Tamar, 2 Samuel 13:20 says, “And Absalom her brother said to her, ‘Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this thing to heart.’ So, Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house” (New King James Version). Tamar might have held her peace, but unfortunately, there’s no record David dealt with the matter. The Bible only says when David heard of all these things, he was very angry (verse 21). Probably because of this, Tamar’s brother by the same mother, Absalom, killed his elder brother, Amnon, in revenge, two years later.
Hold your peace. Leviticus10:3 says that after Moses had spoken to Aaron what the LORD said following the death of Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, for offering profane fire before the LORD, Aaron held His peace. Aaron didn’t say anything because He knew God was a righteous judge (Psalm 7:11; 2 Timothy 4:8). There is a time to hold your peace before God. You can’t argue with your Maker.
Don’t be controlled by your emotions. Don’t complicate issues for yourself. Know when to hold your peace. Hold your peace.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, no matter the provocation, help me to hold my peace. Father, don’t let anger, mistreatment, opposition, despise, or other negative actions of people make me speak what I will regret later. Let me know what to ignore and what to address. I shall know the right time to speak and say the right thing at the right time in Jesus’ name.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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