In Psalm 39:9 we read these words from King David, “I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.” The “you” there is God. David recognized the wise hand of God that had ordained the circumstances he was going through. He laid his hand on his mouth in silence before the King of kings!
Puritan Thomas Brooks captured something vital in his book “The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod”. He writes the following:
David looked through secondary causes to the first cause, and was silent. The sight of God in an affliction is irresistibly effective to silence the heart, and to stop the mouth of a gracious man. It is the duty of gracious souls to so act under the greatest afflictions and saddest providences. This is a prudent and holy silence. It sees God, and acknowledges him as the author in all our afflictions.
If Job had not seen God in his affliction, he would have cried out, "O these wretched Chaldeans, they have plundered and spoiled me!" Job discerned God's commission in their hands and laid his hand upon his mouth. Aaron, beholding the hand of God in the untimely death of his sons, held his peace. The sight of God in this sad stroke is a bridal both to his mind and mouth. Joseph saw the hand of God in his brothers selling him into Egypt.
Men that do not see God in an affliction are easily cast into a feverish fit. They will quickly be in a flame, and when their passions are up, they will begin to be saucy, and make no bones of telling God to his face that they do well to be angry. Those who see the hand of God in their afflictions, will, with David, lay there upon their mouth's. If God is not seen, the heart will fret and rage under affliction.
Aaron saw God's sovereignty, and it silenced him. Job saw God's majesty and it stilled him. Eli saw God's authority, and it quieted him. When afflictions arrest us, we shall murmur and grumble and struggle until we see that it is God that strikes. We must see him as King of kings, and Lord of lords and stoop under his almighty majestic hand.