June 13

Ecclesiastes 5-8, Psalm 10

If every time my wife tried to talk to me I blasted the radio or turned up the volume of the television, my relationship would have ended with her a long time ago. For me to be in a loving relationship with her I need to both talk and be silent and listen. Yet, concerning our relationship with God we have lost the ability to be quiet and listen. Our lives are so filled with noise, music, technology that even if God were screaming at us we would block out His voice. Henri Nouwen in "The Way of the Heart", said, "One of our main problems is that in this chatty society, silence has become a fearful thing. For most people, silence creates itchiness and nervousness. Many experience silence not as full and rich, but as empty and hollow. For them silence is like a gaping abyss which can swallow them up. As soon as a minister says during a worship service, "Let us be silent for a few moments," people tend to become restless and preoccupied with only one thought: "When will this be over?""

We read in Ecclesiastes 5:2-3, "Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool's voice is known by his words." In our relationship with others, we read in James 1:19, "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;". In our relationship with God consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:6-8, "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." Consider the actions of Jesus: Before He began His earthly ministry, He spent forty days quiet in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2), When He heard that John the Baptist had died, He withdrew to a quiet place (Matthew 14:13), After the excitement of feeding the five thousand, He went to the top of a mountain to pray in solitude (Matthew 14:23), and before He faced the cross He went alone to pray alone in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:41). We read in Ecclesiastes 6:12, "For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow?" We think we have everything in our life figured out, but God might have a better plan which He wants to communicate to us, but we block Him out and refuse to listen.

Pastor Chuck Swindoll wrote a list under the title, "What does silence create?" The list states: "It makes room for listening. It gives us freedom to observe. It allows time to think. It provides space in which to feel. It lets us broaden our awareness. It opens us to the entry of peace. It invites us to know our limitations and God's vastness." Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1,7, "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:...A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;". In our busy society we have lost the art of silence and of listening. If we want to hear from God and truly experience a relationship with Him we must alter what we do. After a time in His Word or a time of prayer, consider spending some time in silence without music or any other distraction and wait on God. Consider whenever we enter the car, driving for the first ten minutes without the radio playing or getting on the phone. Consider spending a few minutes in silence before going to bed at night to spend some time with God. In our busy, distracted world tough these measures may at first seem forced, they are necessary. Rather than emulating what the rest of society is doing, why not emulate what our Savior did while He walked the earth.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster