It’s easier to hear God, when we are being…
September 28th, 2019
There is a saying, ‘it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.’ I guess the phrase, ‘still waters run deep, applies as well.’
I work in an industrial area. As you may be aware of, I don’t make my living writing books and devotional blogs. (no snarky comments please) Instead, I have built a career in the information technology arena. It’s only been the last several years that God’s lead me to writing for Him.
I’m not that proficient at it. If it were not for the inspiration that He provides, these pages would be less frequent and the content not nearly as substantial. Without His assistance and guidance, I would be lost as to what I should write. It is He who impresses on my heart, day by day, what to write.
My office is in an industrial warehouse. The wall of the room where I sit is butted up against the wall of one of the breakrooms. I start early in the morning before the night shift changes over to the day shift. After I start work, roughly forty-five minutes into the day, what sounds like a crowd of individuals, pile into the breakroom, all worked up and excited, because their night has come to an end and they are about to head out the door for home.
At this point my quiet office reverberates with loud voices, clattering sounds of people slamming doors and acting out in exuberance. Occasionally there is a thunderous boom as someone attempts to get a rise out of someone else by banging on the side of a vending machine which serves as an improvised kettle drum.
To say that it breaks the concentration a bit would be an understatement. Thankfully, in most cases these people are eager to be out of the building and on their way, as quick as they can freshen up and grab some snacks and beverages for the road home, or wherever they may be planning on going. So, the noise level while it is deafening at various points, tends to taper down and as the last one leaves for the day, peace and quiet is restored.
Quiet is something that we tend to relish as we get a little older. God enjoys the quiet times as well.
You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1 Peter 3:4 (NLT)
Peter tells us that beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is unfading to God and He finds is to be precious!
If I wanted to, I suppose I could take some liberty with this passage and consider that as we begin to appreciate those quiet moments more and more that we are evolving more into the likeness of God. But believe me, I’ve checks and there are no such references about quiet and it being a byproduct of our becoming more like the one who saved us.
At the same time, I don’t think considering that a possibility is something that is too far off. For certain if we find that God tells us to button it. And He does, in not so many words.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
Psalms 46:10 (NLT)
God would and does desire for us to be quiet at times, at other times He prefers that we don’t make a sound, simply revere Him and His presence in our lives.
While Job was in the early stages of his testing, he was seeking to understand why God who’d been so gracious to him in the past seemed to be stepping back and letting the devil have his way with him.
In desperation Job cry’s out to God…
Teach me, and I will keep quiet. Show me what I have done wrong.
Job 6:24 (NLT)
Job at this point had no reference point to tell him why all this was happening to him, but he realized that if he was going to learn from God the purpose for his torment that it wouldn’t come by screaming at God, but from being quiet before God and listening intently on what God would tell him.
This was early on in the story of Job and he had a lot more trial to go through and while he came through it triumphantly, I’m not all together sure that he completely understood until well after it was over that God wasn’t being mean to him, and he had done nothing wrong. This all was an elaborate set of trials and tests that fell upon Job at Satan’s request.
The Bible outlines others that the devil was given permission to test. Most notable was God Himself in the form of God the Son and the desert temptation. I don’t think we spend enough attention to that situation, and perhaps the Lord with guide me to write about it more some time, but the devil was woefully out matched in that contest of wills. None the less, he tried.
Jesus points out another servant that Satan desired to test.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Luke 22:31-32 (NLT)
This is a huge revelation here that we can apply to our lives almost daily.
It’s the second half of the passage that I find so remarkable. After Jesus as warned Peter that Satan had requested and apparently obtain permission to sift him like wheat, which suggests some pretty intense tribulation, Jesus has already made provision for Peter through prayer to the Father…
“But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.“
Jesus asked that when Peter had succumbed to the enemies’ attack; that’s right succumb, Jesus is praying for Peters repentance post this encounter, so he would succumb! Continuing… That Peter would repent, turn again to Jesus, and in turn be that rock upon which Jesus would lay the foundation of His church!
‘Peter you’re going to fail me. When you do you will repent, and turn to me again, and then you will set out to strengthen your brothers, who also need to be up lifted to my service!’
We miss this most of the time.
In our Bible study a few weeks back I was musing about the turns and twists of Peter in these last days before the cross, through till after he had repented and reasserted his position of leadership in the fledgling church of Jesus.
Consider this; Peter says, ‘Lord I would die for you!’. Jesus tells him ‘Peter, you’re going to deny me three times before the rooster crows.’ They come to take Jesus away and Peter lurches out and grabs a sword from one of those who were there to take Jesus into custody and then attempts to behead one of them, missing and slices the servants ear off.
This tells me that Peter meant every word he said to Jesus, he was willing to go to the death for the Lord. But Jesus called Peter and the others down, because this was the will of the Father.
Disturbed and troubled about all this Peter tries to keep as close to the proceedings as he can but people think they recognize him as one of the disciples of Jesus and he denies, denies and denies; each time with greater and greater veracity. Then the rooster in the distance lets out his morning greeting to the new day, and Peter’s bewilderment turns to remorse, embarrassment, and disgrace; because he has denied Jesus exactly as Jesus had told him he would.
Do you think that Peter was now in a state where he was ready to be quiet? I do. I believe he was in that place and he remained there through the crucifixion and burial. In fact, He probably was quiet past the immediate point of the resurrection. None of the remaining eleven Apostles where the first to be aware of Christ’s emergence from the tomb.
But somewhere between the resurrection and Acts 3:15 Peter had made a complete turnabout and repented with a flurry.
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
Acts 3:15 (NLT)
We should seek those quiet spots in our lives when we can hear the voice of God through His Word so much clear without the noise coming through the walls of our existence. He may be telling us to repent of something. He may be whispering encouragement to our hearts. He could be pointing out the next footstep he desires we take on the path to the service he calls us to.
We need to be quiet to hear some of these things.
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NLT)
The Master wants our hands at work for His Kingdom, for His Glory. If we are going to hear these instructions, we are going to have to be “Quiet”!
In His Grace!