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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Silence speaks volumes

1-2 Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God, and also obedience.
      You hear the prayer in it all. 
(Psalm 65:1-2)

The "prayer in it all" is the key to this verse - God hears both our silence and our spoken word - but don't forget the third thing he "hears" - our obedience.  Silence is the absence of sound or noise - when there is a "perfect stillness" we call that an absence of motion.  We often don't think we have made a connection with God unless we are able to experience the noise or movement of that connection (like when we cry out loud or lift our hearts in worship).

Our psalmist reminds us that silence is praise!  Even in the quietness of waiting in his presence, we praise our God.  It is a difficult thing to do sometimes, but when we actually do stop long enough to simply admire him, we connect with him in new ways!  

He also reminds us that our obedience is also praise to God.  We rarely equate obedience to praise - but God does!  Obedience is submission to the control of another - who better to have in control of our lives than Jesus?  God's control is sometimes more rewarding when we just "hush" long enough to enjoy it!

God hears the "prayer" in it all - even in silence, prayers are lifted.  It is important to remember that prayers are more than words that are spoken.  God knows us intimately and he connects with us in the silence.  Maybe this is because this is where he is best able to see the submissiveness of our hearts!

The next verses give us a little insight into how we actually approach God:

2-3 We all arrive at your doorstep sooner or later, loaded with guilt, 
   Our sins too much for us— but you get rid of them once and for all. 
(Psalm 65:2-3)

We all "arrive" at his doorstep - no one is exempt.  Some of us come to his doorstep willingly - others kicking and screaming.  Still others come before him with the awfulness of not knowing him!  The fact is that no one is exempt!  We are drawn to his doorstep - through his love.  That "doorstep" is a destination with a purpose - but the journey is unique to each individual that comes.

Our psalmist tells us that it is "sooner or later" that we all arrive - I think we'd do much better if we'd listen to his invitation SOONER!  We'd save ourselves a tons of issues, loads of guilt, and a boat-load of disappointments if we'd come to him sooner!  We arrive "loaded" down - carrying more than any one person was ever meant to carry.  We are loaded down, burdened under the weight of our guilt, sins too much for us to handle.

We don't even "arrive" in good shape!  How would you feel if every time the Fed Ex driver came to your door the package was dented, dinged, and damaged?  You'd probably dread opening the door!  Not Jesus!  We come to him with our full load of blame and condemnation, probably not fully aware of the violations in our conduct, but sensing the associated guilt all the while.  We were never meant to bear the guilt of our sin - the cross did that.  We are just meant to lay that guilt down, walking away free in his presence.

The awesome part is that Jesus answers the door!  Completely, thoroughly, and without a trace of evidence that our sin ever existed, he embraces us!  Too bad that we struggle with "memory disease" - remembering all that he has already forgotten in his love and grace toward us!  We arrive in pretty miserable shape - he "re-shapes" us by his touch!  

If you think your silence is not praise - think again.  If you think your obedience doesn't matter - rethink that one.  If you think you are "too far gone" for anyone to love and accept you - think again!  Jesus envelopes our silence, relishes in our obedience, and welcomes us into his graces.  We are truly a blessed people!