Silence Part 1: Wendy Bray starts a new devotional series
'But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.' ... Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. Habakuk 2:18 - 3:2
Through the prophet Habakkuk, the Lord is calling for silence—for the whole earth to cease its noise and tumult to stand in awe before a mighty God. yet, perhaps surprisingly, in the Old Testament a call for silence or solitude is rare. Hebrew scripture generally suggests that silence and solitude are negative things for a community. Silence means an absence of words, in a culture where to be alive was to be speaking and to be human was to be relating one to another; a culture which believed that only the dead are silent and only the outcast is alone. Hebrew scripture tells us that God is known not through silence and solitude but through his word. Only occasionally is silence mentioned, alongside a sense of expectancy or in reverence in the moments before God acts or speaks.
In today's noisy world, silence is still often associated with absence— usually the absence of voices or music. We might imagine a warning sign in an examination room or the caustic tones of an elderly schoolmis- tress before a lively class. Our tendency is to fill silence instead of letting silence fill us. But silence, almost indescribable as it is, is not absence but 'other'; not empty but filled with meaning, even with unspoken words. Solitude, the practice of being alone, has a similar character and a partic- ular relationship with silence. Too often equated with loneliness, solitude may even be feared by those who wonder what they will find within it.
Yet God waits for us in places of silence and solitude. He is already there. We are not asked to walk into an empty place, but a place already filled with his omnipresent self. entering solitude and silence is not to shut an isolating door behind us, but to edge along God's hallway in order to meet him.
Taken from Day by Day with God: January - April 2012, published by Bible Reading Fellowship.
March 5th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Ian Matthews