Summary: This is the 4th sermon in the series "Conversations With God".
Family Worship May 9, 2010
Bel Aire Baptist Church
Series: Conversations With God [#4]
SHUT UP AND BE STILL
As I began to prepare for today’s sermon, I looked at many passages of Scripture about mothers in the Bible. I read about Samuel’s mother, Timothy’s mother, Jesus’ mother, etc… I really didn’t plan on staying in our current series today, but then I reread a verse from last Sunday’s sermon- Habakkuk 2:20.
Habakkuk 2:20 (NIV)
“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”
As I thought about some of the interactions between my mother and I through the years, I thought about the many times my mother had told me to shut up and be still. If you have spent any time around my mom; you would definitely agree that this was something she wanted from her children that she didn’t know how to do herself. There are very few times that I can ever remember my mother being quiet or still, let alone both at the same time- Not even in her sleep. For those of you who know me or my mom, silence and stillness is not the first words that come to your mind. In today’s terms, we would be quickly diagnosed with AADD, (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder). I am learning that just because someone is a talker, doesn’t mean they are great communicator. Often times, those who talk a lot don’t like silence and don’t listen very well. That’s probably why mom became a teacher and why I’m a preacher- We’re in a place where we have a captive audience. I have been known to be a conversation dominator and although I try very hard to not do that- If I’m not paying attention; I will talk over people, cut them off, and generally fill the air with my thoughts and opinions whether they are welcomed or not.
I used to think I could fake being a good listener because I was a good hearer, able to remember and repeat what has been said to me. The truth is that I often only hear, and not listen; because I’m talking to myself about the great response I’m going to give and am just waiting until the other person foolishly takes a breath so I can give my wise response.
Silence is difficult for me. I realized this week that silence is difficult in my relationship with God. In my prayers, I never shut up, not for a minute. I am always giving God lists of requests and needs. It’s almost as if I’m not really talking to a person at all. It’s like going on a date, or having someone over to your house, where all they ever talk about is them. I wonder if God ever feels that way around me?
Silence with God and being silent before God is two different things. When we get mad at people and give them the silent treatment, that doesn’t mean that we are listening to them- It could mean that we are totally blocking them out. Habakkuk cried out to God about how evil the Jewish people were being and that God didn’t seem to be listening or doing anything about it. When God did respond to Habakkuk’s 1st complaint, Habakkuk quickly began his 2nd complaint. Why- Because, he wasn’t really listening? I think Habakkuk was already working on his next response while God was trying to talk to him. Habakkuk had assumed that he knew what God was going to say and so he began working on his next words.
Once God takes a breath, Habakkuk decides to speak again. After God’s 2nd response, Habakkuk’s actions are different- In the 3rd Chapter, Habakkuk begins to worship God. What had changed in Habakkuk that caused him to react differently? The answer is found in our text: Silence and stillness.
[“At this time, I want everyone to stand for a moment of silence.” Take a stop watch and see how silent they are for 30 seconds.]
Now that was tough wasn’t it? 30 seconds of being quiet and still is almost unnerving. How can we expect God to speak to us, when we can’t be quiet before Him? In order to hear from the Lord, we must…
1. Realize what godly silence is.
We have often talked about ways that God speaks to us; but how does God listen to us? You would agree with me that when you speak to God, you want Him to listen to your every word- Right? How do we listen to God like He listens to us?
To listen like God does, we must…
> Be respectful. When I teach my children how to listen to people, the first things I teach them is to be respectful of the person talking. That means they are to be quiet, make eye contact, (which means the person speaking has their attention), and be still. If you think that you can pray to God while laying your head on a soft pillow, then you are more talented than I am. If I lay my head down and try to pray, that’s better than taking a sleeping pill. If you think that you can pray to God while doing your work, then you are more talented than I am. We need to be still, focus on God, (that means stop talking out loud or in your head), and be quiet.