"O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom." (Job 13:5)
People are always talking. We’re on cell phones, we’re blogging, we’re "tweeting," we’re chatting with family, texting friends, e-mailing people we’ve never met, and on and on. Then when we’re not doing the talking ourselves, we’re turning on the news, flipping through the paper, and surfing the ‘net – all just to find out what someone else is saying about something else, so that, later, we’ll have even more to talk about.
In the Bible, too much speaking is often referred to as foolish, such as in Ecclesiastes 5:3, "For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words." And in Ecclesiastes 10:14 , "A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?"
Whereas silence is considered as a sign of wisdom, as in Proverbs 17:28, "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Also, in Proverbs 29:11, "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
Wisdom ponders, while foolishness blurts everything out. For example, while others wondered (and talked) about the things that were told about the birth of Christ in Luke 2, Mary didn’t join in. Instead, it says in verse 19, "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
A vow of prolonged silence isn’t necessary, but to practice moments of silence, and then to be particular with our words when we do speak, wouldn’t be a bad idea. For any of us.
Even in prayer, we are instructed to keep it simple. "But when ye pray," The Lord said in Matthew 6:7, "use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
And in Matthew 5:37, in reference to not swearing, He also stated, "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." This was reaffirmed in James 5:12, where it’s written, "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation."
The lesson? Sometimes silence really is golden. And wise.
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." (James 1:19)
"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing." (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)