But the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him~ Habakkuk 2:20
We used to sing this as a call to worship back when I lived in Noel, Missouri. I can still hear Dickie Lett’s voice from the front pew, left side, right end start singing. Everyone would pick up the tune and sing with him as they gathered their things and made their way to their pew. I think almost everyone was always seated by the time the last “… before Him…” ended.
I learned so much from that one tradition. I remember feeling stressed and overwhelmed at various times of my life and also remember the absolute amazement when I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and sang that verse, sometimes a dozen times in a row, until I felt calm and able to put my complete faith in the Lord. At times, my voice wavered as I began. I’m sure I’ve sang that with tears running down my face. I know I’ve sang it with tears pouring from my heart. Every time though, every single time, that one little verse put to a very uninteresting tune, has been a balm to my spirit.
Psalm 46:10- ““Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
We hear the first part of that verse often. I believe in it. We need to be still. I remember Mom trying to settle me down when I was a child. I heard it often. “Be still.” God told us to “Be still.” Why? It seems that we need that calm quietness that comes with stillness in order for us to “know [He] is God.” There is also the rest of that verse that I’ve never really noticed. “I will be exalted.” We need to be still. We need to rest in WHO God is, and doing so EXALTS the Lord. I often wonder how to glorify God in my life, but it seems as if Psalm 46 says that being still and knowing who my God is DOES glorify Him.
Being still is difficult for us in our time. Everything is go, go, go. Hurry. There are books on how to have a 48 hour day, and let’s face it… none of them are about being still! However, have you noticed? There’s a new influx of books on the market. They have intriguing names with key words to attract us to them– words like simple, quiet, peace, and calm. They have covers with verdant meadows, babbling brooks, and sunshine streaming through lines of snowy white laundry. There’s a battle cry of “less is more” but we make that less so much more that is it really any less? When I figure out what I just wrote, I’ll formulate a stunning reply. 😉
What’s the point of all this quietness? Well, several things come to mind. I think we don’t know how to be quiet anymore. I think we fear it. We wake up to the blaring sound of an alarm clock, get ready for the day with hairdryers, to the tune of music playing or the early morning news, and start washing machines and dishwashers. In our cars, we play the radio. We keep headsets on in the car so we can talk all the way to wherever we’re going and inside. We don’t have to hang up when we get to Wal-mart… we can keep talking all the way down the socks aisle, into the crackers row, and even while checking out. Oh, sure, it confuses the cashier when we say we don’t like pickles as we hand her a jar and then ignore her response, but that’s ok. We’re connected.
When are we quiet? When do we sit in a room and hear nothing? When are we without phones, iPods, laptops, or other media? How can we hear the Lord if we are never quiet? When we read our Bibles… is it quiet around us? Can we stop reading long enough to let the Words of our Lord sink into our souls and speak to us? Even our reading can be too much “noise.”
Or, in the brilliant words of Lily Maskovitz of The Princess Diaries, when will we “shut up and listen?”