Saturday, June 4, 2011

Speak, Lord in the Stillness

My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

When I was out walking the other day, I saw a car painted to advertise a local church. Their tagline was "Even the silence in our worship is LOUD!" I just hope this congregation is not missing an opportunity to hear God speak in the stillness. Loud and boisterous praise has its place; but so does silence before our Father, and listening for His voice in the stillness.

Thinking about God speaking in the stillness reminds me of one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament, when God called out to Samuel in the night (the stillness!).

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. I Samuel 3:1-9

The Word from the Lord was rare in those days and visions were infrequent. But God chose to call out to a young boy ministering in the temple. Eli exhorted Samuel to tell the Lord he was listening, and when the Lord called his name again, that's exactly what happened.

Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” I Samuel 3:10

The Lord told Samuel what His plans were against the house of Eli, since Eli's sons were greedy and evil and did not regard God's rules in reference to the temple and the sacrifices. God had already sent a message to Eli that his sons would die because of their disobedience, and that the Lord would raise up a faithful priest to do what is in His heart and His soul (see I Samuel 2).

God's choice was Samuel.

Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. I Samuel 3:19-20

Samuel listened in the stillness, then obeyed God. Do you take adequate time to be still and listen? As this hymn says, I want to listen with expectancy, see His face and feel His power! God speaks words of life, and I need them to fill my spirit.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63

Join me in meditating on the first few verses of this hymn, and contemplating how you can be still and know that He is God. Later, we'll look at the last three verses and think more about what He can accomplish through us when we are alone with Him.

Speak, Lord in the Stillness
Words by E. May Grimes

Speak, Lord, in the stillness
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen,
In expectancy.

Speak, O blessed Master,
In this quiet hour,
Let me see Thy face, Lord,
Feel Thy touch of power.

For the words Thou speakest,
“They are life” indeed;
Living bread from Heaven,
Now my spirit feed!

All to Thee is yielded,
I am not my own;
Blissful, glad surrender,
I am Thine alone.

Fill me with the knowledge
Of Thy glorious will;
All Thine own good pleasure
In my life fulfill.

Like “a watered garden”
Full of fragrance rare,
Ling’ring in Thy presence
Let my life appear.

No comments: