I have recently been convicted by the words of the Prophet Amos, “Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times for the times are evil” (Amos 5:13). A prudent man is one who ”acts with or shows care and thought for the future.” The NLT reads, “So those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time.” The Amplified brings out the thought of people not listening to the truth, nor having regard for a godly witness. “Therefore he who is prudent and has insight will keep silent at such a [corrupt and evil] time, for it is an evil time [when people will not listen to truth and will disregard those of godly character].”
The Message expresses the thought of being prudent in an emphatic manner. “Justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic. Decent people throw up their hands. Protest and rebuke are useless, a waste of breath.” The ESV Study Bible has this note: “If someone were to speak out against the manifest injustice taking place, his own life might be in danger, while his objections would do no good because they could not stop the ongoing, entrenched evil.” As I read these words, I desire to be a prudent man. My natural tendency is to speak the truth and “set people straight.” But there are times to keep quiet.
There is a cultural tsunami building on the horizon. A tsunami begins with an earthquake far out at sea. The shock wave travels through the water towards shore. Its intensity is realized once it reaches the shore as a wall of water with devastating force. “The wall of water,” suggest Rod Dreher, “is coming at us. There’s no holding it back.” I agree. Men, there is little use complaining or complaining about our culture losing its Christian worldview and consensus. That time has past.
Rest assured, God’s prophetic word is being heard in our day . Amos reminds us, “The lion has roared – who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken – who can but prophecy (Amos 3:8). We need to exercise patience. God is sounding the trumpet. Are we alert to the sound? “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand” (Joel 2:1). God told Habakkuk, “This vision is for the future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed” (Hab. 2:3 NLT).
Christian men can easily fall into the trap of bemoaning how “justice is a lost cause” and “evil is epidemic” in society today. Our witness can turn negative and counterproductive to an authentic Christian witness. How are we going to practice his presence in the midst of the coming darkness? We wait for the Lord: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Is.30:18).
It is prudent not the enter into the highly-charged destructive rhetoric of today’s cultural narrative. Rather we need to show love, forbearance and mercy to those who so strongly oppose Jesus and his Kingdom. I readily admit to the men, whom I have been a witness, that I am reluctant to enter into a discussion or debate regarding political and cultural issues. I say I am simply a follower of Jesus, now living in his kingdom reign in the earth. In that sense I am quiet.