Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
BEFORE WE MAKE ANY OTHER RESPONSE TO GOD, WE MUST RESPOND TO HIM WITH RESPECT. If we don’t first dispose ourselves before Him in reverent silence, our deeds will be deficient in both strength and significance. The obedience that most highly honors God is an obedience deeply grounded in awe and wonder. “Be still,” God says to us, “and know that I am God.”
There is a time to speak, but there is also a time to be silent. Nowadays most of us have too little acquaintance with any silence that could be called worshipful. We seek God talkatively, rather than respectfully. In the relationship between God and man, we are doing too much of the talking. We may pause in our words once in a while, but even then, our minds are not reverentially silent before God. They are still racing at full throttle, fueled by the frenetic self-concern of our busyness. And the fact that the busyness is religious busyness doesn’t do much to lessen the problem.
There is no question that the majesty of God calls for a response from us. Serving God is not a merely passive matter. But we must take the time to stand still and be lost in wonder before we rush out to do God’s bidding. And even as we actively carry out God’s instructions, we must often pause in silence to steep our minds in His grandeur. If we fail to do so, our activity will lack the essential ingredient of reverence. Without the qualities that come from reverence, our service will be shallow and our lives will be little more than an accident waiting to happen. It is stillness and silence that produce the best doers and speakers of God’s word. And the louder the world, the harder these are to come by.
In this age of the world, we’ve discovered how to multiply our own words vastly, and we’re frequently reminded of the power of these words. But we dare not forget their danger. “The Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20).
“With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence” (A. W. Tozer).