Be Quiet and Listen!
“May… the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psa. 19:14).
Read Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“When we come into the house of God, we’re to … cultivate an attitude of reverence, expectation, and a holy sense of resignation to his will” (David Jeremiah).
Once when I was preaching in Uganda they put a notice outside the chapel saying, “Danger. Worship in progress.” We don’t usually consider worship to be dangerous, although there are plenty of biblical passages to suggest that it is, including today’s reading. Contemporary worship overdoses on words and songs, with little space for silence. God must often tire of them, as Amos warned (Amos 5:21-24). We think it’s all about us addressing God. Ecclesiastes, however, is correct in suggesting really it should be about God addressing us. If we speak or sing too much we crowd him out. The tabernacle demonstrated that. Curiously, we know nothing of what was said in the tabernacle, only what God commanded.
Ecclesiastes gives two reasons why we should speak less and listen more. First, we should avoid rash words because of who God is (2,3). People speak of being awed into silence when they encounter royalty. We should remember in worship that while God is our Father, he also remains the supreme overlord of the universe. As with earthly rulers, the initiative in conversation lies with him. Second, we should avoid rash promises because of what God expects (4-7). How often do we promise God much in order to get out of a jam and then fail to deliver? God is not only awesome in power, but full of integrity in character. He expects that we should be people of integrity, too. Failure to observe these basic principles marks us out as fools and empty dreamers.
A chief way we listen to God is through reading his Word. How sad, then, that in many churches Bible readings are getting shorter and being squeezed out as we fill the air with our own, less-inspired, words. Ecclesiastes 5 is a healthy correction to this.
Practice spending time in silence before God, meditating on some scripture and letting God direct your thoughts.
Holy God, forgive me that so often I’m overly impressed with my words. I sometimes talk too much and listen too little. Help me listen more to You.
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