Godliness of Silence

“Be Still and Know that I Am God”

© The Very Rev. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

Have you noticed that today’s culture MUST have noise, and have it just about all the time? It appears that no one wants to be alone with his thoughts. I would submit that one reason is that said thoughts are scary. If alone, they might have to think about their lives, their accomplishments, or more to the point, about the Last Day judgment.

Some say that we should be alone with our thoughts so we can hear from God. But what will they hear? Their imaginations? They claim to hear wonderful things about themselves from “God,” whoever that is, and then they “allow Him” (you’re in charge) to fill you with His grace. It is interesting that there are never any thoughts about the Last Day judgment that Jesus, when He was on earth, often proclaimed, such as: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46).

When our lives are jammed packed with activities, rushing to meet various meetings, doing good things but not the best things. When our souls are so jammed with activities we hardly have time to think, we open ourselves to the mores and values of the world, instead of God’s holy and infallible word. The world then programs us with its rebellious ideas. Have you seen someone who can’t stand to be alone, ever? As soon as they enter their cars, they turn on loud “music,” or put on a nerve jangling album. If it is your car, they may say, “Can we have some music?” which means “I don’t value time with you.” If it is a repair man, he goes from loud music in his car to loud music in your house while he listens to filthy words on his radio with some rap music. (Though there is some Christian rap music, I’m told.)

Moreover, the “moment of silence” in our culture means nothing but to leave God out of our lives publicly. What good is it to shove God out when we say nothing? We don’t want to offend people with our religious convictions so we offend the Triune God with our silence. We must not allow Him in our public lives, we think.

Then we are told of five ways to know that “God” is speaking to you, and the reason I keep putting quotes around the word “God” is that the articles never define who He (she, it) is. That is the reader’s job. But I will only give the first way to hear from God from the site.

Here is the first way to know “God” is speaking to us– He speaks in the Bible! Yes, indeed, and I would add, the Bible is enough. We don’t need other special revelations to our hearts or having people say “God told me” such and such. I managed a large Christian book store once, and a woman came into the store. She kept saying that “God” told him certain things; and when I could take it no longer, I said, “He told me the opposite.” She looked puzzled and said something like, “How is that possible?” I grabbed a Bible from one of the shelves, opened it to the idea that she was talking about, and read her what the Apostle Paul said, which was the opposite of what she said. Of course, she adamantly maintained that her infallibility trumped what the Bible said. That is the real danger, making the words of one’s own thoughts contradict and personal experience God’s written word. What did Isaiah say:

19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isa. 8:19-20)

Or as the Apostle Paul stated:

that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other (1 Cor. 4:6).

The Greek is clearer than the English. “Not to think beyond what is written” is a set quote that was very familiar to Paul and his churches, and usually the clue to this understanding is not translated into English. There is a definite article that functions like the beginning of a quote: “Not to think beyond what is written.” Then the expression “what is written” or sometimes rendered “it is written” is also a set clause that always invokes scripture the Old Testament when given in the New Testament. Finally, notice the last part of Paul’s sentence: “that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.” Is it not the case that Christians who allegedly receive a “word of knowledge” are often puffed up with pride against those who do not receive such?

Of course, the answer to biblical quotes is usually one’s experience. People will say something like: “I know that I heard from God because it happened to me, and it turned out to be true. So what if it came true that time; can we rely on our private bibles all the time? If not, we are wrong. Indeed, this is the proper way to engage in silence and hear from God:

1 Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so,

But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psalm 1)

So how do we know that the Triune God is speaking to us? Because we have understood His written Word in its proper context; that is how.

It is paganism that wants to manipulate God through one’s words, thoughts, or anything else. Why is not the written word enough? Why can’t we be alone with Him and His Word, both written and Incarnate, to hear and obey what He has already said?


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