Leon Fontaine - The Silence of Men
It was the silence of Adam not just the temptation of Eve that brought about the destruction of this planet. All their unborn children died in one fatal moment when they thought they were smarter than God. I was joking around in a guy's conference here a few years ago, and I just kind of made this silly comment that, "Hey, where would men be without women"? And some guy at the back shouted, "Back in the garden of Eden". All the men roared, and we had good little masculine moment. Many of us have thought that when Eve was being tempted to disobey God, that Adam was nowhere to be found. But when you study the scripture out, you found out that Adam was there standing there as the enemy of our souls that fallen angel Lucifer through the body of that snake began to speak to her and tempt her to disobey God.
We have not one recorded word of Adam being a man and standing up and doing what God told him to do. Have dominion on this planet. Subdue everything that walks, creeps, flies, and swims. And by the way, this included any angel that would come against. But what did he do? Nothing. He was silent. Since Adam, we seemed to have this condition that troubles men everywhere. Men are more silent. We live in a culture where little boys are told to ignore their emotions. A little girl can cry and get a hug but yet in many homes a little boy cries and he's corrected and, you know, suck it up and be tough, be a man. And everything that he's taught is to push his emotions down. They're meaningless. Be a man. Men don't have emotions. Men don't feel as deeply.
And so then we become husbands and every wife's dream is that my husband would share his deepest feelings with me. But men they'll... And everyone is not exactly the same. Some couple, "I'm the one that, my husband is a talker. I'm the quiet one". I get it. Everyone is not exactly the same. But as a regular condition, you'll find that after 40 years of pastoring and counseling with men and women and families that one of the constant things I hear from the vast majority is, "I wish my husband would talk to me". And he will go, "What you're talking about? We talk every day". No, you talk about things, systems, answers, problem solving.
You know, where we going today? What do you want to do tomorrow? But you never talk about how you feel, how you want to live? What excites you about us and our future? You don't dream with me. You don't. And the guys' totally bewildered because we're going, "Of course, we do. We talk all the time". But we have been so trained to push down our emotions, to push down feelings, to push down any kind of dream or desire and get up and work and labor, be practical, solve problems. And it had a dire effect on our families, on our kids.
And by the way, I have no problem with strong women. If you've met my mama or my wife or my four daughters or my daughter-in-law, you know what I mean. They are not to be trifled with. These are warrior princesses. There's an equality. But today, I'm talking to men. A father's words are rarely forgotten but neither is his silence. You might think because you've never really spoken. You had her raised them, and her disciplined them. Your silence that you're kind of free. You've got to get a jail free card. But kids will never forget the silence of their fathers when they could have spoken up and complimented. When they could have spoken up and spoken into their lives and taught them and confronted evil, confronted issues.
Most, well, every men alive wants his father to tell him when he's a man. Most men do not feel like men until their father looks at them. And whether it's talking, whether it's taking them out hunting, whether it's taking them out with the men. Whatever it is there's got to be some way that you communicate to your son. You are a man and you're a man that I'm proud of. And if a boy doesn't hear those words, he can spend. And I counsel with this kind of men all the time in our church. He'll spend the rest of his life trying to prove to everybody around him that he's a man. And in one day if his father would have looked him in the eye and began to tell him what he thought of him. You're a man my son. Most daughters they need to know from a dad, a father figure that says, "You're beautiful. You're smart. You're going to do amazing things with your life".
Proverbs 25:11 says that a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. He's talking about a gorgeously design art where real gold apples and real gold. It's a picture of silver. And it's saying when a word finds the right time, says the right thing at the right moment. That it has tremendous power to plant into that heart and to raise up peace and a sense of significance and a sense of joy and a sense of value and who you are. There are men listening to me right now who are older than me, who don't know why they've lived their lives the way they have unable to communicate with their wife, unable to even understand the language of the family. Unable to even speak up and speak into situations and they don't know why.
And I'm telling you it's because a father should have spoken into your world and you still can do that. The words that you speak to your children can rescue them from future destruction. In Psalm 107:20, it says, "He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and from destruction". The word "pit" literally means a hole, a trap. That they would dig to trap a large animal. They would walk through and to see them probably and the animals breaks through they didn't notice there's a trap there with some light branches on top and their weight breaks through and they were in a pit they can't climb out of. And it's saying here that God's Word as our Father. That He speaks to us. He's complimenting us, teaching us.
Holy Spirit's job is to speak into our lives and that those words will guide us around that pit. To not speak up as a father in the lives of your children with compliments and correction is going to relegate yourself to an irrelevant status in your child's life. I was just sitting here last night as I was preparing, and I just wrote it. I want to write this out word for word because it's just, this thought just hit me. To not speak up as a father into the lives of your children with compliments and correction is to relegate yourself to an irrelevant status in their lives. I don't know how many dads will talk to me about how they just wish they could get into their kids' life but they're just too busy. They're never too busy for dad.
Somethings happen where you're irrelevant. It's one of the problem with the church of Jesus Christ today. If we don't become Spirit Contemporary and speak up and get involved and get into politics and business and rise up in leadership. Then the church is going to be relegated as irrelevant. The church went big. No, no. What's so good with the church? And fathers we can have the same problem. And when I talk about compliments, I don't mean flattery. I've watched some people when they tried to encourage their kids and they'll talk like this, "You're amazing! You're the man. Fist-bump, fist-bump. You're a world changer. You're incredible. You're better than anybody else and everything. Come on"! And you just said a whole bunch of words that they're just flattery.
And after a while, a son or a daughter is looking for a real compliment not just a bunch of flattery, and a real compliment is when someone studies you. They're around you, watching you, looking at you. And then say, "Hey, hey! Son, daughter come here. When you did that, I saw a strength in you. You are so gifted at this. I saw you deal with the pain in that situation and you made this decision. I'm so proud of you". A compliment is something that you study, and you look so that your words are fitly spoken like apples of gold in pictures of silver. But you can't raise a kid with an iPad. You can't raise a kid with Netflix. You can't raise a kid by just pushing them off to a school, even a Christian school. As dads we are crucial. We are so important.
I was talking to a friend a little while ago and he was just bragging on one of his kids. What an incredible businessperson his daughter was, and it was just cool to watch. And so I just said to him. I just kind of casually, "Well, have you told her that"? No! I went, "What are you talking about"? Well, no. I mean, we don't talk. Leon, I don't do that. What do you mean you don't do that? Well, my dad never. I say, "I don't care what your dad did. What your grandpa did. I don't care if the men around you do. But when you have a son or a daughter and you see strengths. You let them know what you see in their lives. When you see going on a wrong way, you lovingly speak truth". We live our lives to be examples for their lives. It is crucial that men speak up. That we encourage through complimenting, noticing their efforts.
We've got to because too many times it's just moms. And I'm not blaming you. Don't sit here and get beat up on yourself. Stop it. All of us deal with the same thing. If there's one thing all my daughters and daughter-in-law and my wife want, it would be for me to speak more. They say, "Why? You talk all the time". It's different getting up and preaching here and being at home. And I have to continue to remind myself to say, "When's the last time just hang out with my son, my daughter? When's the last time that I watch their life begin to just brag to them about them, or in company of others notice something". The power that we have in our words as dads will be spoken in a way that will change your life forever.
Dads I want you to know today, grandfathers, fathers, men. That God has given us this stunning ability to speak words and that these words, they heal. They literally predict, to prophesy the futures of your kids. Whether they're going to live life in a pit or be destroyed or unhealthy in relationships or sower, or whether they're the life of God. We have an ability to speak from our hearts as men and fathers. I'm going to read you a portion of scripture that I actually in all my times of reading the Bible. I read it through over and over, but I've never seen it. I think sometimes we pick a topic and then we read a verse and it just comes alive. But I've got four stunning verses. Four or five stunning verses about words that we speak. In Job, believe it or not.
Job 29:21, listen to the power of words. And I want every dad and grandpa that's listening to apply this to you as a father and put that context into the Word as I read you this. "People listened to me carefully and waited quietly, silently for my advice. After I finished speaking, they spoke no more. My words fell, dripped very gently on their ears. They waited for me as they would for rain, and they drank in my words like opening their mouth for the spring rain. I smiled at them when they doubted and had no confidence, and my approval was important to them. They did not frown at the light of my countenance. I chose the way for them and was their leader. I sat as their chief. I lived like a king among his army, like a person who comforts mourning people".
The fact that a person can speak words that just a smile can change the day of your child. A dad noticing them, speaking to them even when confronting them over something they've done wrong, can be done in such a way that rather than being destroyed. They're being coached because you are an amazing person and I want to be like a coach coaching your life to be better, to go further. According to the Word silence can mean, like we're not even present, or not even caring. In Psalm 35:22, David says, "Lord, you have been watching. Do not keep quiet. Lord, do not leave me alone or be far from me". When a father is silent, you might not mean this. But it can feel like you're not present and that you don't care even though that's not your heart. That's how it can be interpreted.
In Psalm 39:2, "I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good and my sorrow was stirred". To be silent at crucial times is to literally see things begin to unfold that will bring sorrow into your life. When you could have spoken of corrected, loved, built someone up. Everybody's waiting for a dad to speak. Everyone's waiting for a father, a grandfather to declare love, to say things that can build up. In Psalm 50:21 says, "I have kept quiet while you did these things, so you thought I was just like you. But I will scold, reprimand, reprove you and indict you to your face and before your eyes".
Silence also means you're in agreement. Sometimes we're quiet and we think that silence is golden. But I've got a new saying as I've instructed and trained the men at Springs. Silence can be yellow. Let's speak up. David begs God in Psalm 83:1, "Keep not thou silence, O God. Hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God". I thank God. God's never removing Himself from men. I interviewed a guy one time who wrote a book about, "What to Do When God is Silent". I had a hard time with that interview because I didn't believe in the concept at all. God is never silent. He's always loving. Always speaking. He's always, there's a flow from Him of joy and peace and His presence. God is not silent. And we can't be silent.
In Ecclesiastes 3:7, it teaches us that in our lives there's a time to be silent and there's a time to speak. Yes, I'm not saying always speak up. There's many, many times I look, and I see a situation and as I think, "God, should I speak up"? He'll say, "Not yet or it's not you". But I've learned if it's cowardice or fear. Come on, Leon. Stand up and speak. But many times it's a wisdom situation. There's a time to speak. There's a time to be quiet. One of the things that I want dads and grandfathers to see today is that you are like a watchman on the wall. In the Old Testament days, they didn't have a video surveillance and all the things that we have today. And so during the night they would put men on the walls of the city to look for attack. And while every other men slept and his kids slept and his wife slept, your job was to stay awake and watch, is anybody's trying to breach the wall. He was a watchman.
In Isaiah 62:6, it says, "On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen all the day, all the night. They shall never be silent". Now, it goes on to teach. I'll give you a couple of thoughts here. They really touch me. When you see an enemy, you don't just stand back as a watchman. Oh, we've got an attack on the west wall. Oh, they've breached the wall. They've got ladders. Oh, they're going through all the homes on that neighbor. Oh, dang. I wish that didn't happen. No! A watchman on the wall is to alert everybody. Blow the trumpet. Bang the drums. Shouts, scream. You don't be silent. And the same is true when in our families, our societies, our governments. Wherever we are and our circle of friends. We are to be a watchman to make sure that we stand for what is honorable, what is integrous. Not gossip and tearing down others with words. Words are so special. They're so precious. They are given to us to build up.
The Bible says by your words you will be justified and by your words will be condemned. You see, one of the things I did early on in my life, was I developed this belief that I've got to be careful what I say because what I say happens. And when you begin to believe that, you begin to put a guard on your mouth about talking about other people, calling down other people. Some people that's all they know how to do. It's just, you know, just gossip. And we need to recognize that we need to speak up.
Now, that other thing he's talking about this watchman on the wall is they were to be prophesying or speaking the promises of God. And that's another thing that we as men need to be doing. We can't be silent with God's Word in our prayer time. If you're going to say grace over our table. If you've got an opportunity to pray with one of your kids over something. They ought to be able to hear you and see you declaring the Word of God over your family. And I don't mean doing it in a weird crazy way. But, you know, opt in a Word together for praying before a meal. I'll just take a promise and say, "Father, I thank You that my children are blessed. They walk in the favor of God. The wisdom of God is upon them and prosperity follows them, chases them down. I thank".
Like, I'll just say a couple of promises like that. Probably even way shorter than that and you can just hear them say, "Amen". Because they love it when I'll speak the promises of God over their marriage, their family, their finances, their health, their kids, etcetera. We can't be silent. Watchmen. They warn. They declare the promises in God. To be quiet at the wrong time is even to miss your purpose and the purposes of God has set before you.
In Isaiah 56:10 of the last verse I give you. It says, "The leaders who are to guard the people.?His watchmen". It says, "They're blind. They don't know what they are doing. They lack knowledge. They're ignorant". It says, "All of them are like quiet muzzled dogs that don't know how to bark. They lie down and they're just having daydreams. They love to sleep".
The reason I put this verse in because this is what the enemy would love to do to men. He'll have people shut you down. They'll laugh at your comments, what you think, how you feel. And I've got news for you. Nobody agrees with anybody on everything. You're welcome to have an opinion. You're welcome to state what you believe. And I don't care who knocks you whether it's a brother, your wife, kids. Speak up. You're not, you're not less knowledgeable than others. It's just that often people have been muzzled and they've given into it.
And I want to say to the amazing men that I know that today I'm preaching to myself because I need to be reminded all the time to get up and speak up. I need to be reminded all the time that my words should be done in way that is right timing, right place, and they needed to be like apples of gold in pictures of silver. And that if we as men can learn to speak this way, there's something about our home and the generations of our family. There's something about our cities and our countries that will change when men will speak up. A statesman once said, "The only way that evil will prevail is if good men do nothing. If good men say nothing". And it's like everybody's afraid to speak up because they're so many issues on TV. So many issues going on. You might be attacked. You know what, it never stopped the apostle Paul who actually was attacked. Use wisdom. Let's speak up.