So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18:20-21

Onlookers. Gapers. Rubberneckers. The masses. We’ve all been them, seen them, and silently scolded them. They are the people passing a roadside wreck and slow down to see the carnage and the condition of the “other guy.” We’ve done it too.

In today’s devotional, Elijah has just challenged the people of Israel to follow God or Baal, but they said nothing. Ahab had summoned them all to come and observe. They weren’t sure what to expect since the prophets of Baal and Asherah were also called to Mount Carmel. We know that they’re able to speak because a few verses later they said, “what you say is good.” But now when they had a choice, the people said nothing. Perhaps these people wanted to see the carnage and wreckage that would take place. Nobody spoke up. In a crowd of many many people, there was bound to be someone who would speak up. Nothing.

Sometimes when you speak to people about spiritual things, they will remain silent. Don’t misinterpet the silence because the people could just be onlookers, observers, confused, troubled. Their silence is often misinterpreted as approval or disapproval (because they didn’t speak up), but that could be far from the case. People need time to process what they are seeing and hearing.

Often silence just means silence.

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