Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. (Judges 5:23)
The Song of Deborah rehearses the curse on Meroz for staying on the sidelines while the army of Israel was locked in combat with the Canaanites. The people of Reuben also come in for withering scorn; they had good intentions but never left the sheepfolds. Gilead, Asher and Dan receive dishonorable mention for their non-intervention.
Dante said, The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in a time of great moral crisis.
The same sentiments are echoed in the book of Proverbs, where we read, If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? (Prov. 24:11, 12). Kidner comments, It is the hireling, not the true shepherd, who will plead bad conditions (10), hopeless tasks (10) and pardonable ignorance (12); love is not so lightly quietednor is the God of love.
What would we do if a great wave of anti-Semitism swept over our country, if Jewish people were herded off to concentration camps, to gas chambers, to ovens? Would we risk our own lives in order to grant them asylum?
Or if some of our fellow-Christians were being persecuted, and if it was a capital offense to shelter them, would we welcome them into our homes? What would we do?
Or perhaps we could take a less heroic but more contemporary case. Suppose you are a director of a Christian organization where a faithful employee is being railroaded to satisfy the spleen of another director who is wealthy, and influential. When the final vote is taken, would you sit on your hands and remain silent?
Suppose we had been on the Sanhedrin when Jesus was tried, or at the Cross when He was crucified? Would we have been neutral or would we have identified ourselves with Him?
Silence is not always golden; sometimes it is just plain yellow.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon