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Wisdom In Silence

Job 13:5 (ESV) -- Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!

Have you ever tried to speak intelligently about something you were ignorant of? People do it every day. We all feign to be experts in subjects we know very little about. Watching someone do this is more enjoyable, especially if they are speaking about things in front of people who know something about the subject. As someone with a theology degree and very studied in the Bible, I love overhearing people having coffee shop conversations about theology that I know haven’t studied it much. Their words lack true knowledge and wisdom. I must fight from butting in and correcting bad ideas. 

Our passage today shows Job make a fascinating comment about silence. Job’s “friends” have been trying to counsel him about his calamities. They have all sorts of theories about why this has happened and what he needs to do. Job says, “Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!”

Job says they should keep silent. They should cease talking about his troubles and giving their counsel, because it is ignorant. They are not knowledgeable of what they speak. He says it would be their wisdom to say nothing. The interesting thing about this is we often believe we must demonstrate our wisdom by how much we know about a subject. Or if we don’t know it, we seek to talk like we do. Many people do this about politics, sports, theology, business, and other topics. If we speak about things we don’t have knowledge about, we look foolish. Wisdom is shown by remaining silent in the face of ignorance. Sometimes the wisest thing we can do is say nothing. 

This requires humility from us. Instead of weighing in on every topic on social media or spouting off about things we haven’t done much research, wisdom would tell us to remain silent. Rather than opening our mouths, we should keep them closed and listen. Perhaps we would learn something. Or at least we would keep ourselves from looking like the fool. There’s wisdom in silence.

Reflection & Journal:
- Why were Job’s friends trying to counsel him? 
- What do Job’s words in this verse reveal to us about their counsel?
- How can this passage help us today? What are some examples where you might be seen wiser by saying nothing?

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