You know those times when you open your mouth and let something fly out that should not have? There is definitely a time to keep silent.
But may we also learn this very important concept: There is also a time to speak.
Ezekiel was a prophet during the time of captivity in Babylon. The Lord called him by means of appearing to him in the land of captivity by the River Chebar. I urge you to read the first several chapters of his book to see the details of his calling. Anyway, it was made clear to him from the beginning that he was being sent to people who were rebellious and may refuse to listen to him.
(Being obedient to the Lord in front of people who are in agreement with you can be difficult sometimes. Imagine knowing that your obedience will most likely be met with opposition and stubbornness every time you speak!)
However, Ezekiel was called to be a watchman for the house of Israel.
A watchman is one who stands watch and gives warning. The Lord made it clear to him that he must give warning to people when the Lord spoke to them of their wickedness. If he were to remain silent, and they died in their iniquity - the blood would be required at his hand.
It was a time to speak.
Please note that this does not give us license to walk around yelling at people about all that they are doing wrong. Ezekiel had to be sensitive to the Lord and to listen to His leading in who to speak to and when. However, when the Lord did tell him to speak and give warning, it was his responsibility to open his mouth.
Perhaps there has been a stirring in you to declare to someone who is walking along the wrong path the direction in which this path will lead them. Obey the Lord!! Don't just sit back and watch them walk into destruction. But in my opinion based on Scripture here is the key: make sure you are walking the right path when you speak to them. Integrity goes a long way. Remember that Jesus Himself said to remove the plank from your own eye, and then you are able to help another with the sawdust in his.
There is a time to be silent, and there is a time to speak. I pray we find out what time it is and make sure that our lives lines up with our mouths before we open them.
Father, I want to be obedient in speaking when I am to speak and remaining silent when You haven't led me to open my mouth. Help me to walk in integrity so that when I do speak, it is more likely to be received. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Ecclesiastes 3:7, Ezekiel 3:16-27, Matthew 7:3-5