In the past, I have wondered why anyone would be speechless in the presence of an angel, or in the presence of Christ. In my naiveté, I could think of hundreds of things to ask such a heavenly being. However, over time I have developed somewhat of a patience, and put off the necessity to get an immediate answer to my inquiries, to allow the proper time for the heavens to prepare me to receive answers. After years of pondering the speechlessness of a person in the presence of heavenly beings, I think that I have a portion of understanding of why my curiosity would be squashed by awe and reverence in that environment. Consider the situation of King Lamoni in the presence of Ammon.
I start by setting the stage. Ammon has killed seven men, and cut off the arms of all those who rose the sword against him, to scatter the flocks. The witnessing servants of the King gathered the arms that were cut off as evidence. Ammon goes to prepare the kings horses, as the servants tell his heroic story. The King is in awe of Ammon’s power, and when asking where Ammon was, the King learns of Ammon’s loyalty to continue his work in preparing the horses.
The King faces an internal conflict. He wants to talk to Ammon, but dares not command Ammon’s presence. Considering the possibility that Ammon could be a god, the King suddenly reflects inwardly about all the wrong he has done, killing previous servants who’ve allowed his flocks to be scattered.
Consider for a moment the mind of the King. He must have had a million questions to ask Ammon, as his servants tell his story. He asks the questions freely to his servants who’ve witnessed the event. He even asks his servants concerning Ammon’s whereabouts. But, when Ammon walks into the King’s presence, the King’s countenance was changed, and the King is SPEECHLESS!
“12. And it came to pass that when Ammon had made ready the horses and the chariots for the king and his servants, he went in unto the king, and he saw that the countenance of the king was changed; therefore he was about to return out of his presence. [Ammon was going to leave]
13. And one of the king’s servants said unto him, Rabbanah, which is, being interpreted, powerful or great king, considering their kings to be powerful; and thus he said unto him: Rabbanah, the king desireth thee to stay. [The servant has to speak for the King, because the King is speechless]
14. Therefore Ammon turned himself unto the king, and said unto him: What wilt thou that I should do for thee, O king? And the king answered him not for the space of an hour, according to their time, for he knew not what he should say unto him. [What happened to all the questions the King asked the servants?]
15. And it came to pass that Ammon said unto him again: What desirest thou of me? But the king answered him not.
16. And it came to pass that Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, therefore he perceived the thoughts of the king. And he said unto him: Is it because thou hast heard that I defended thy servants and thy flocks, and slew seven of their brethren with the sling and with the sword, and smote off the arms of others, in order to defend thy flocks and thy servants; behold, is it this that causeth thy marvelings? [Ammon is wondering why the King is speechless, knowing himself that he is merely a mortal, on God’s errand. But the King’s speechlessness comes as a surprise, even to Ammon.]
17. I say unto you, what is it, that thy marvelings are so great? Behold, I am a man, and am thy servant; therefore, whatsoever thou desirest which is right, that will I do.
18. Now when the king had heard these words, he marveled again, for he beheld that Ammon could discern his thoughts; but notwithstanding this, king Lamoni did open his mouth, and said unto him: Who art thou? Art thou that Great Spirit, who knows all things?” [King Lamoni finally speaks when he realizes that Ammon is a man. But still doubting, the King asks if Ammon is the God who knows all things.]
Conclusion: I think that I can understand the speechlessness of King Lamoni, in the presence of a man (Ammon), considering him to be God. Suddenly, all the curiosity is swept away in awe, at the power being conveyed, witnessing the power of God, producing speechlessness. When a man portrays, in his actions, the power of God, there is a window of awe created that the words of Christ may find permanence, and the servant can begin to teach, from the creation. It is that awe that produces speechlessness, to make room to be taught. It is our unbelief and our foolish and vain repetitions that remove the awe from our scripture studies and our worship, such that we talk too much, and we never shut up!