Daily D – Habakkuk 2:20
But the LORD is in his holy temple; let the whole earth be silent in his presence.
HABAKKUK 2:20 (CSB)
Quiet everyone—a holy silence. Listen!”
Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Just as dreams accompany much labor, so also a fool’s voice comes with many words.
(Ecclesiastes 5:2, 3)
Designing Women was a television show that ran from 1986-1993. Each episode featured a conflict one of five southern women had in a world that was not progressing fast enough for them. Everything led up to the main character making a politically correct speech about how things ought to be. The live television audience (and canned laughter and applause) roared their approval.
It has been said that everyone has a book in them. Likewise, everyone has a speech they would like to deliver if they only had an audience.
Much to be preferred is not to be heard but to listen attentively to God’s Word. Whatever is on our minds, whatever is in our hearts, pales in comparison to what God has to say. We cannot hear him if we insist on talking. We cannot hear him if we insist on making our speech.
A friend of mine took a long walk one day to yell at God. He cursed. He accused. He blamed God for all of his problems. When he returned, he said he felt better. He felt better, but he was unchanged. I am pretty sure he did not listen to God that day. He is not listening still.
Rather than express your need to be heard, maybe sit and listen for a while. There are times when you need to pour out your heart to God. This is good. There are times when you explain to him your thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires. This is appropriate.
Do not, however, leave before the benediction. Listen all the way to the end. Do not move on until you have heard from God.
Some years ago, our staff led a Hearing God retreat for a local nonprofit. One woman determined that she would not hear from God because God does not speak and she wasn’t sure there even is a God. Her obstinance lasted twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes of our twenty-four-hour retreat. Then she heard from God and her heart melted. Tears overflowed their ducts. Peace replaced angst.
Our Father in heaven wants to speak to your heart. For him to be heard, you and I need to stop talking and start listening. There is no room for impulsive behavior. God will not be ruled by the time and calendar on your Apple Watch. He will not be hurried by your To-Do list. He is not concerned about all your other priorities, those things you place between him and you.
God speaks to those who listen. God speaks to those who attune their hearts and incline their ears to him and will settle for nothing less. There is nothing more important than hearing God. Get comfortable with silence. Eliminate hurry. Be still. Be quiet. Listen.
Little Samuel’s prayer is a good one to begin your time alone with God (1 Samuel 3:9). Silence is your friend. Peaceful sitting or walking without a timer places you where you need to be. Invite God to speak. Expect him to do so. Acknowledge his truth when you hear it. Do what he says.
I will focus on hearing God.
Our Father, what you have to say is far more important than anything on my mind. I will cultivate a heart at ease with silence. I will place myself in a place of readiness to hear from you. I will receive whatever you say with joy. I will follow your directions. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”