Growing up I had a habit of talking too much. I’m not sure I ever shut up. I talked too much in Sunday school to the point that one of my teachers asked if I wanted to teach the lesson. She was surprised when I took her up on the offer. In school, most of my demerits came from talking in class. I came close a couple of times to getting the maximum amount of demerits. One day, a teacher pulled me aside and said, “I love you, but you’ve gotta learn when to shut up.” I eventually learned that being able to talk with others is a good thing, but there’s also a time to shut up. If I’m always talking, how can I ever listen?
One of the stories in the Bible I’ve identified with is Job. I went through a period in my life where I lost everything. Going through that time, I remember thinking this is what Job must have felt like. One big difference was that I didn’t protest my innocence because i wasn’t. Most of the book of Job is he and his friends talking. He demands that he’s innocent and demands that God come down and give him a hearing. After 30 something chapters of their back and forth, God does show up and confronts Job.
Job had been innocent and God allowed Satan to test his faith in God, but because he talked too much, and blamed God, he got a holy visit. After God confronted him, He asked Job what he had to say now. In Job 40:3-5 Job said, “I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth! I’ve talked too much, way too much. I’m ready to shut up and listen” (MSG). Job was very wise and we all could learn from that phrase. There are times when we need to shut up and listen to God. He’d love to talk with us, but we never give Him time to speak. Start trying to make a habit in your prayer time to spend a few minutes listening. You’ll find that God is a talker too, and what He says is worth listening to.