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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Listen to the Silence

Isn't that a cool blog title?

A number of years ago I wrote an historical novel with that title. The main character was a young deaf woman, although she hadn't been born deaf and could communicate with those around her. Kinda impossible to write a novel without dialogue, ya know? Alas, that book never made it to print. I don't even have a copy of it anymore (it was saved on a floppy disc, don't'cha know), but I've always loved that title.

Listen to the silence.

Today Pastor Joe Champion of Celebration Church continued his message series entitled "Breakthrough Summer." He's teaching out of Joshua 6:1-10, the story of the fall of Jericho.

Who knew there were so many, many nuggets of wisdom in that little story?!
  • So far we've learned to hear from God.
"Then the Lord said to Joshua..." (6:1)
  • We learned to see what God is doing.
"See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands..." (6:2)
  • Next we learned to move with God.
"March around the city..." (6:3)
  • Today, it was all about being silent.
"Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word..." (6:10)

Being silent isn't always easy. I doubt it was easy for the Children of Israel to be silent while they marched around the city of Jericho for seven days. The Jericho residents probably hurled all kinds of insults and taunts from the safety of the high walls. I know if I'd been there I would'a wanted to yell right back. I think it's especially hard to be silent when you believe you are the one doing what is right and good. But God had a plan and silence was part of it.

Communication is almost a constant thing these days, even if you don't actually utter one syllable. We text. We email. We post comments on Facebook and Twitter. We blog. We comment on news sites and other public boards and forums. Some of us even write for a living (or try to, anyway). Always, always, we're striving to make our voice, our opinion heard, whether we're talking to friends and family, or to strangers via the 'net whom we'll never meet. 

But is our voice really the one that needs to be heard above the din?

Proverbs 10:19 says, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." And Ecclesiastes 10:14 says, "...and the fool multiplies words."

Wow. I don't think any of us want to be fools! I'd much rather be wise, wouldn't you? "When words are many, sin is not absent." Yikes! Not only can you be foolish as you prattle on and on, but you can also sin. (Judging, cursing, lying, etc.)

James put it this way: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." (1:19-20)

God delivered the city of Jericho into the hands of the Israelites on the seventh day. It was their shout after all those days of silence that brought the walls tumbling down. (Joshua 6:20) They had been obedient -- no small feat for this group of grumblers! -- and God rewarded them. 

"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." (Lamentations 3:25)

It's pretty clear to me I need to be silent more often. Just like Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, there is "a time to be silent and a time to speak." When we're silent, we aren't just being quiet. We're allowing God to speak to us! And don't you know it's rude to talk when Someone else is speaking!

So here is my challenge for you this week: Listen to the silence! It would also be a great exercise to journal what God says in those moments. Even if you have complete doubts about everything I've written here, I still throw out the challenge. 

You might just be surprised at what you hear!

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This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Germany, Ukraine, Russia 

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