“O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.”
The human soul cries out against silence when silence is the very thing that will heal us.
We want noise, so we fill our work spaces, resting places, traveling spaces with sound—recorded books, music, podcasts, anything but silence. We especially do not want God to be silent. We want to hear His voice, the music from His Throne Room, and the hum and clatter of His creation.
In our humanity we are convinced that silence is sinister, masking plots, hiding secrets, exciting our fears and suspicions.
Sometimes silence is the sound of progress.
Perhaps, the Kingdom of God advances in silence as much as it does in shouted sermons and in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Could it be that ambient noise is more dangerous than silence? Are there sounds that are only heard when the deluge of random noise we select each day subsides?
It was so in Gethsemane. Jesus’ tortured prayer to His father was answered with silence. And this silence also, the Kingdom was advanced.
The Noisy Soul
Before Isaiah was a prophet, he was a historian writing the story of his hero, King Uzziah. When the King failed God, the noise in Isaiah’s soul must have been deafening—His hero had fallen! King Uzziah lost track of his role in the Kingdom of God and supplanted the ministry of the priests. It cost him everything, position, pride, health, legacy.
Finally, a Profound Silence
In an amazing moment of worship, the noise of confusion in the heart of Isaiah was driven out by the sound of praise from the Throne Room of God—sound so great it shook the doorposts of heaven. Even as the room was filled with smoke, clouds of confusion seemed to clear before the eyes of Isaiah and He saw the Lord “high and lifted up.” This astounding vision justified the sounds of heaven. There followed a moment of cleansing when an angel took a coal of fire from the altar and touched Isaiah’s lips pronouncing his absolution.
I imagine that there followed a profound silence—angelic hosts waiting breathlessly to hear the words of God.
Into this silence God spoke. “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
I am sure this question echoed through the still trembling walls until falling into a deep silence. Into this silence, the shaken prophet spoke: “Here am I. Send me!”
Worship Leaders seek this high sounding praise. We want to see the Lord high and lifted up and well we should. But there should follow this manifestation of grandeur a silence as we listen for His voice.
And in this silence, the Kingdom is advanced.
Isaiah 6:1-8 NIV
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Habakkuk 2:20 NKJV
“But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
Lord Jesus, there is a time for me to speak, to praise you with a loud voice, to cry out to You in pain, and to sing with saints and angels as we worship You. Help me know when to quiet my soul and listen for Your voice. The Bible declares that You are speaking today. Forgive me for letting this noisy world muffle Your lovely voice. Save me from the cacophony of these times. There is a place where I can go to hear Your voice and drink deeply from the pool of Your presence. You called that place the Secret Place of Prayer. You said the Father was there. I seek this silent solitude, this peaceful quiet communion with You. Thank You, Lord.
The Solitude of Silence
Words: Stephen Phifer; Music: Angela Danadio
1. In the silence of my soul, Lord, I will seek You.
In the stillness of my spirit I will stay.
I will flee from all the rush and noise around me.
In the solitude of silence I will wait.
For Your voice cannot be heard above the clamor.
Your presence does not rest upon our haste.
In the silence of my soul I will find You.
In the solitude of silence I will wait.
2. I will ask the singing winds to serenade me.
I will let the sunlight dance upon my fears.
Thinking back to all who listened here before me:
Silent laughter, silent prayers, and silent tears.
3. In the pages of the Book Your heart is calling
As the ancient words fall soft upon my ear.
Like an early season snowfall, cool and healing,
Heaven’s peace, a glistening blanket, quells my fear.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved