Five years ago, the sound system in my car died. I’ve been thinking about getting it fixed. But then, what would I give up if I did? I’d give up silence.
– Silence shows me pretty quickly what’s in my heart and on my mind. My inclinations.
– Silence shows me pretty quickly whether or not I am delighting in Christ and the gospel.
– Silence shows me pretty quickly if the resources of the gospel have been packed in my soul. Can I reach in and bring out a “gospel promise”?
– Silence creates an opportunity for a conversation with God
The devil hates this kind of silence because as George McDonald writes,
” Heaven [is] the regions where there is only life and therefore all that is not music is silence.”
C.S. Lewis captures the dark lord’s strategy exactly in the mouth of demon Screwtape, in The Screwtape Letters, (page 119):
“Music and silence — how I detest them both! how thankful we should be that ever since Our Father entered Hell…no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all have been occupied by Noise — Noise, the grand dynamism, audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless and virile — Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end.”
David’s life, like ours, was full of noise, the noise that serves to drown out the conscience, the noise of the machinery of our own passions and fears, the noise of endless conflict. How could he hear and follow God with so much noise in the ear? We learn from Psalm 62.
David shows us four qualities of the silence that prevails.
My soul is in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Purposeful silence, seeking silence, serving silence – in silence for God.
Dedicated silence, pure, guarded, concentrating, attentive to God alone silence – in silence for God only.
Revealing silence. I see who God is to me and what He has done for me – My salvation, My rock, My stronghold.
Job sees God and shuts his mouth (Job 40:3) and alone with God in silence, we begin to hear/receive his word.
“Silence is the simple stillness of the individual under the Word of God.” Bonhoeffer, Life Together (p.79):
Encouraging silence. My confidence in Him and what He has done for me grows – not greatly shaken (Ps. 34 – “not fall headlong”).
This prevailing silence is found only in…
The Lord of Silence
Apart from Christ there is no refuge from the noise. He walked into the devil’s cacophony with imperturbable silence.
- In the wilderness temptations, He walked alone, listening to God’s Word. The devil’s noise did not overcome Him.
- In the bustle of ministry the voices of sinners, broken and needy could be heard at nearly every moment. The silence still reigned in Him. He always listened in His Father’s presence.
- In His condemnation: (Matthew 26:63; 27:12-14; Isaiah 53:7) He did not open His mouth in reply to the many charges brought against Him. He carried that imperturbable silence all the way to the cross.
Christ has won silence for us who are in Him. For unless His silence had prevailed on the cross, we would have all been lost in the noise of our own conscience, passions and conflict. We could have never been quiet again.