It seems that in our modern culture, there is an emphasis on volume. Music is no longer melodic and soothing (I’m old school, sure enough), but rather it is ear-splitting loud with lyrics that are almost unintelligible to the listener. Even country music has transformed from the acoustic guitar to electronics along with bands and a variety of drums.
Sounds, loud sounds, are found in nature as this world was created by our Almighty God. Indeed, Scripture frequently references God using thunder to get his message across, and anyone who has been in a thunderstorm, with the cloud above their house, knows the fierce sound and shaking that occurs with thunder. Consider these verses:
Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.
David, a man who tended sheep and was a warrior, who was outside and saw the handiwork of God often, said this:
The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
We understand thunder and loud crashes and sometimes it terrifies us. But there is a flip side to God’s loud creation, and that is Silence.
Currently, we are in the midst of a show shower. Likely, it won’t amount to much accumulation, but it is positively beautiful to watch as it falls from the sky and covers the ground.
This blessing, in the form of small white flakes, comes, not with blasting thunder, but in silent beauty descending from the sky.
In First Kings, we have the record of God speaking with Elijah who had just confronted King Ahab and Jezebel. God understood that Elijah was exhausted and deflated from his work, and God came to him.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12 KJV
God came to Elijah in a still, small voice. Oh yes, God can shout louder than our ears could withstand, but He comes to His servants, often, in a still small voice. A voice which we will miss if we only pay attention to the cacophony of sound constantly around us. We must retreat and be quiet, be still!
God has even directed His people to be silent before Him. In Exodus, Moses told the people to be silent and watch as God brought about their salvation from the Egyptians.
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
David understood this concept of being still before God. In Psalm 46:10, God tells him:
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Be still – know that God is with you. Be still – know that God loves you. Be still — know that God will fight for you. Be still – hear His still small voice in your heart, mind and soul.
The command to “be still” is not the same as “do nothing.” The command does not mean that we sit down in a comfy chair and just relax while God does everything. He is not your manservant nor is He going to do that which He has called you to do.
Remember, God’s Son, Jesus, left heaven and His eternal relationship with the Father to come to earth and do that which we could not do, save us from our sin. Jesus did not come to earth, do some miracles and then just rest on his laurels … “I healed the leper so I don’t have to do anything else today!” No, He was busy doing God’s will, all of it, every day and every moment. Even when He was a youth, He went into the temple “to do His Father’s business.” Luke 2:49.
Beloved, let the beauty of falling snow remind you that there is beauty in silence. Be silent before the Lord and let Him fill you with His voice and His love, with His direction and His grace. Be silent and know that He is God.
Father, I too often run around “doing good things for You” and forget that I need to send time listening to You, hearing Your still small voice. Forgive me when I don’t block out the loud sounds of materialism, commercialism, greed, consumerism, violence, entertainment media seeking my attention, distractions from the cell phone … everything that takes the place of listening to Your voice. Calm my heart and help me hear You.