Today’s Reading: Joshua 4-6
Today’s Reflection: Joshua 6:10
10) But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.”
The battle plan for defeating Jericho has to be one of the oddest ever devised. To conquer the mighty walls of the city, Israel was to march around it, led by priests with horns and carrying the Ark of the Covenant, once each day for 6 days, then 7 times on the seventh day. After this a blast from the horns would signal the people of Israel to shout. And then, the walls would come down. Joshua adds this important point: Israel was not to shout, or even speak until the sign was given.
This suggests there was a specific time for Israel to speak, and a time for them to remain silent. During this time of silence God was supernaturally weakening Jericho’s walls so that a simple shout would cause them to collapse. Israel’s complete obedience of these instructions showed they had complete faith in God’s power and His plan.
Those of us who have God’s truth often fail to recognize that there are seasons to speak and seasons for silence. The truth given to a person at the wrong time (not to mention in the wrong way) can be damaging rather than healing. We may see someone ensnared in sin, or struggling with an issue and feel compelled to give them ‘the right answer’ as we see it. Often this is motivated by good intentions because we hate to see loved ones suffer when we know God is the solution. Sometimes this is motivated by arrogance, because we love being right and letting others know we’re right as well. But we must recognize that there are times when we ought to remain silent and allow the Holy Spirit to work on people, preparing them to hear a word so when it is given they are able to receive it.
We must learn to seek God’s leading so we can know when to prayerfully walk in silence. We must trust that while we are being led to refrain from speaking, the power of the Holy Spirit is weakening walls in people’s hearts. And we must believe that when God commands us to shout, when He calls us to speak the word He has given us, it will accomplish what He has planned—tearing down barriers of pride and sin to let His good news come rushing in.
Proverbs 15:23 – To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!