Did the title get you? Please don’t be offended! There’s more to this than meets the eye.
When the angel Gabriel was sent to Zacharias to tell him that his wife Elizabeth would have a child even though they both were well advanced in years, he said, as the King James puts it, ‟And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak.” (Luke 1:20 KJV)
Dumb means muteness, to be calm (as quiet water), to be silent, or to hold one’s peace. It is mainly translated as hold his or their peace. It comes from a word meaning involuntary stillness or inability to speak.
The same word is used in Mark 4:39, ‟Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‛Peace, be still!’” (NKJV) Be still means to be muzzled, hold your peace, and to put to silence. If we worded as Luke used it, it would say, ‟Be silent! Be muzzled!”
It is also used when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and a multitude of His disciples shouted praises. A group of Pharisees called out to Jesus to rebuke the disciples. Jesus responded, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:40 NKJV)
In the Old Testament, God said to Hosea, ‟My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6a NKJV) Guess what destroyed means? To be dumb or silent, silenced as in to perish, cut off, or cease.
But why were God’s people dumb, silenced, or cut off? God said, “Because you have rejected knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6b NKJV) Refused, spurned, despised.
If being cut off comes from lack of knowledge, spurning the Word of God, are we dumb? Yes and no. We are not cut off from God because we are always in Christ. But our fellowship with the Lord can cease, our hearing from Him can be silenced, our answers to prayer can be cut off.
Is our praise, then, silenced as well? If we don’t praise the Lord, as Jesus said, the rocks will cry out! What holds back our praise? Our lack of knowledge of our Lord. Not spending time with Him or reading His Word to know Him better. How can we praise what we don’t know?
God inhabits those praises of ours (Ps. 22:3). He dwells in, and makes His home in the praises of His people.
If we do not praise Him or serve Him joyfully, does God have to say to us as He did to Israel, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies.” (Deut. 28:47-48a NKJV)
Yikes! That’s not something I want! Do you?
David said, “I will call on Jehovah, who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” (Ps. 18:3 Masoretic Text)
Remember Jehoshaphat? Three armies of enemies surrounded him, but they all destroyed each other. Why? Because Jehoshaphat told the people to sing and praise the Lord and placed the singers and praisers on the frontline before the army as they watched the destruction.
I shall choose, as David did, to praise the Lord. I shall choose to listen to Him, to receive His Word and His knowledge.
So, really…are we dumb?