By David Faust
Excessive noise can cause hearing impairment, sleep disturbance, and emotional distress. Some studies link noise pollution with high blood pressure, changes in the immune system, and anti-social behavior. Racket may be inescapable if you live near an airport or work in a noisy factory, but we can control the volume of the TV at home and the music in the car.
Even some church services are too noisy. There’s a place for exuber-ance and joyful songs in corporate worship, but we also need times to recognize, “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). When a crowd gathers in a stadium for a sporting event, there’s something inspirational about a moment of silence to honor the sacrifices of a military hero or to remember a famous person who recently died. If we can share a moment of silence in a stadium before a game, why can’t we do it in church?
We need to rediscover the Lord’s powerful pronouncement recorded in Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Our Source of Strength
Quiet moments remind us, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
Quiet moments renew our courage. “Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (v. 2). In the midst of chaos, when the very earth itself seems to be crumbling around us, we need to calm down and listen for the Lord’s still, small voice. “The effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17, NIV 1984).
Twice in Psalm 46 the psalmist uses the same refrain: “The lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (vv. 7, 11). “The lord Almighty,” the all-powerful Creator who rules the universe, is also “the God of Jacob,” the Lord of the individual who calls us by name. The God of awesome power is also the God of personal compassion. As the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” puts it, he is both “merciful and mighty.”
God’s Larger Purpose
Psalm 46 isn’t all about quiet-ness, though. When we read, “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall” (v. 6) it sounds like today’s news about the recently toppled governments in Egypt and Libya, the faltering economy in Greece, and the political turmoil in our own nation.
Quiet moments put things in perspective as we remember God’s larger purpose. Even in tumultuous times, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day” (vv. 4, 5). Yes, our world is filled with violence, but God ultimately “makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire” (v. 9). In the end, God says firmly, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (v. 10).
In the meantime, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Be still and be assured: The Lord is still on his throne.
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of the Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of THE LOOKOUT.
THELOOKOUT’s Bible Reading Plan for February 26, 2012
Leviticus 24, 25
Leviticus 26, 27
Numbers 1, 2
Numbers 3, 4