"But the people were silent & answered him not a word, for the king's command was, 'No not answer him.'"
(2 Kings 18:36)
Sometime's it's simply best to keep your mouth shut! In 2 Kings 18, the Assyrian army is outside the walls of Jerusalem. The high official, the Rabshakeh, is spewing propaganda & hate speech upon the Israelites (who had come out in droves at the city's walls to watch). He tells them how weak & decimated they are. How they won't stand a chance vs. the mighty Assyrian army. How they shouldn't believe their king when he says, "God will protect us!" Has any nation's gods saved them from the Assyrian onslaught yet? NO! Surrender now & their lives will be spared.
Can you imagine a foreign power coming to the US and "talking smack" like that? We Americans are a proud people. We couldn't just stand by and listen to someone insult our great nation, could we?
And yet, God had a plan. A plan that did not involve retaliation at that time. God indeed would provide. I don't know if King Hezekiah knew that... or simply trusted in God's provision. But he told the people to say NOTHING to the Rabhsakeh. Don't get sucked in to his name-calling and trash talking. Don't let your emotions get the better of you. Say nothing.
And that's just what they did.
In the iconic Disney film, BAMBI... it's Flower (the skunk) who tells Bambi what his mother always says, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!" That's great advice. Whether it's to prevent us from saying something we'll regret... or preventing us from degrading ourselves with ugly speech... or a larger vision to trust God despite what the situation looks like... Flower's mom's advice is solid even today.
"But the people were silent & answered him not a word."
Lord, I try to control my tongue, but don't always succeed. Help me to have better self-control. Let my words bring life, hope & grace to others. When I'm feeling angry or overwhelmed (or on the road driving!), let me be silent & trust in you. AMEN.