“But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:20
As you enter into the doors of your local grocery store, you find it there. It is there in the car beside you as you pull up to the stoplight. It is there as you listen to the news and in every commercial. It is pumped into the ears of the children through their ear buds, through their video games and their websites.
If you have not already guessed, I am talking about audible sound. For many of us, sound seems to be ever-present in our everyday lives. In fact, it is very seldom that you will not find it present wherever you may go in public. There is a wide range of sound levels, from very loud sounds that occur abruptly, such as a thunderclap, all the way down to the sound that would barely register on a decibel meter. Whether it manifests itself in the form of music, the noise of traffic, the cacophony of a crowded mall, or your phone’s ring tone, we are surrounded with sounds. Naturally, some sounds we have no control over, but some we do. Some sounds are necessary, while some are not and can be turned off. Today’s society has been weaned on a steadily increased diet of audible sound over the past many decades to such a degree that society has become almost addicted to it. They crave its invisible spirit and are taken in mentally, physically, and emotionally by the heart through the ears. It does not matter where the people are from or whatever religious affiliation, sound and noise seem to have gained a grip on most people throughout the world and it is becoming stronger. Over time, and particularly in urban centers, we have become desensitized to all this noise and are not even aware of much of it anymore, like the person living next to the railroad no longer hears the rumbling noise of the passing train. And there are now those who cannot stand silence. Ask them, they will tell you! To some people, particularly with the young people of today, all this incessant noise has even rendered silence to have actually become irritating to them. More noise than ever is being forced on us as is evident in the marketing strategies of retail outlets. They have long since taken to using popular music pumped through the store sound systems to create a nightclub atmosphere thereby causing people to stay longer and spend more. The noise seems to be getting more pervasive and more distracting, particularly to the Christian believer who should be listening for the voice of God in their hearts. Is there anything we can do to quell the noise so we can focus more on our Lord’s instructions prompted in our hearts?
Some have said silence is golden. According to the Encarta Dictionary, the word “silence” as a noun denotes quietness and not speaking. From a physiological stance, silence is supposed to be peaceful and calming as opposed to noise, which stresses the nerves and disturbs one’s sober state of mind. I submit to you that peace and quiet is normal and that every normal person, given the choice, would prefer peace over stress. That’s a no-brainer, but how do we control all this noise?
Just like Grandma likes to say, “…better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!” God’s Word has much to say about peace and quiet. It says that the wise choose to keep silent and spares his words.
“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27-28
We can control the amount of noise surrounding us by beginning with ourselves. We ought to be wise about what comes out from our lips. Do you have the tendency to speak your mind and be proud of it? Hold that thought! Put it through the filter of prayer before saying too much out loud. It is certain that once the words are out you can never put them back in. Have you ever been sorry that you said something out loud? Perhaps it unintentionally resulted in hurting someone, damaging a relationship or even hurting yourself. Do you ever wish that you could go back and ‘un-say’ something that you said? The Lord provides protection from this potential damage by giving us the wisdom to wait and then say the right things in time, not just everything that comes to mind on the spur of the moment. That is the sin of pride manifesting itself, plain and simple. Consider our good biblical examples:
The Preacher wrote in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Eccl. 9:17;
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” I Thess. 4:11;
Peter wrote, “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” I Peter3:4; and
Jesus, our greatest example, standing before Pilate and being asked questions, refused to answer. Our Lord knew when to speak and when to keep silent.
“And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.” Matthew 27:12-14
Yes, silence is peaceful, but could there be silence that is not good for us? In fact, a silence that is actually dangerous?
Good Silence vs. Bad Silence
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8
Silence is good and beautiful, but there is a wrong type of silence that exists as well. As I am talking about silence, I do not promote an eastern type of meditation, but simply the peace that comes from meditating on God’s Word. By “bad silence”, I mean, the type of new age meditation that is practiced in the world today. You would think that this is relegated to Hindus and New Agers or perhaps those of the Emerging Church crowd, but sadly, this type of silence continues to be openly practiced even by those, so-called, “good Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches”. I know of an IFB pastor’s daughter who spoke proudly of her father using his television based gaming system to practice yoga for exercise. My dear friends, that is not exercise as in calisthenics. Not even close! What kind of example is that to set before the congregation? It will not be long before we learn of the damage that was caused to the flock of anyone who will use an occult version of silence in the name of exercise. Yes, Hinduism is occultic. Chapter 10.30 of the Hindu book, the “Bhagavad-Gita”, it claims that Krishna is the prince of demons; “I am Prahlaada among Diti’s progeny”. Yoga and eastern meditation is quite simply Hindu prayer. The evidence of that leaven is growing more and more evident in our churches, even today. The Bible talks about a little leaven that leaveneth the whole lump. Please! Brethren and Pastors in particular, pray for discernment! Do not this thing! The mindless practice of this type of silence is designed to wipe your mind clear of any thoughts, even godly thoughts, allowing evil spirits to have freedom to manipulate you. Be not deceived! Clearing your mind is opening yourself up to the spirit realm of Eastern Mysticism and the Kundalini spirit, that coiled serpent at the base of the spine as they teach. Even the Hindu Yogi’s will warn you that this is the most insidious spirit and not to be trifled with! Other types of silent meditation include: transcendental meditation (TM), labyrinth walking meditation, not to mention many other forms.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Eph. 5:11
Keep Silence Before Your King
“Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.” Isaiah 41:1
What can we do? To be successful, be sure to cultivate a close relationship with your Heavenly Father through prayer and reading of His Word every day in the morning and throughout the day. If you are married and you are able, make time to read with your wife and with your children. Get a hymnbook to sing from. Let the good doctrine from those songs sink into your heart. (Yes, stick with the hymns and don’t listen to those liberal scorners and naysayers, they will always have an argument to do what satisfies the flesh!) Sing praises together to Him and He will fill your heart with pure songs, which will lift you higher and higher and carry you through the trials. He will speak more to your heart as you draw closer to Him. So, now, as He speaks more to your heart, you will find a song playing in your heart. As you are aware of this, you may be tempted to disrupt that song with a worldly distraction. Do not turn on that television! Do not turn on that car sound system! Choose to keep silence before your King! Teens: choose not to turn on that phone or that computer and meditate on His Word and the song He placed in your heart instead. Ask the Lord to provide an escape for you not to distract yourself from His presence. You will find your heart becoming more and more peaceful as the days go by and you will draw ever closer to the Lord and His Word.
Finally, Paul taught not to be brought under the power of anything in I Cor.6:12. It is high time for us Christians to wean ourselves off this steady diet of noise and worldly distractions. To be successful at this you must listen for God’s voice, listen for what He has placed in your heart. Are you listening for His voice? Can you hear Him when He provides the way of escape in times of temptation or is the volume of the world turned up too loud? Can you hear Him warn you of danger or are you listening to something and someone else? (If you ever hear yourself saying, “He is not close to me these days…”, well, just guess who moved? Not Him!) God’s Word teaches that there are angels of Satan lurking all around us like lions, trying to destroy us by distracting us as children of God. There is always some form of distraction that they will have ready for you to place ahead of our Holy Saviour.
Be not deceived! Let the peace of God rule in your hearts and wherever possible and strive to have a quiet heart before God and man. ~R.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
© Remi Fernhout 2013; 2019