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Mark Batterson

October 23, 2017

The Sound of Silence
MARK BATTERSON

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

According to interruption science, we’re interrupted every three minutes. Sound familiar? (Or maybe three minutes is the most you’ll have today between interruptions!)

The very fact that we have a field of science dedicated to interruption is evidence of how bad noise has gotten in our world.

Consider this: For the past 30-plus years, an acoustic ecologist named Gordon Hempton has compiled what he calls “The List of the Last Great Quiet Places.” It consists of places with at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted quiet during daylight hours. At last count there were only 12 quiet places in the entire United States! And we wonder why the soul suffers.

It’s hard to tune out the voices of others, the call of social media, and the constant demands to do more and be more. But silence helps us hear God’s voice and sing His song.

Silence is the difference between sight and insight.
Silence is the difference between happiness and joy.
Silence is the difference between fear and faith.

Have you ever tried to quiet a loud room? Attempting to yell above the crowd usually doesn’t work. It’s far more effective to hush the crowd with a shhh. That’s the method God employs. His whisper quiets us, calms us, stills us. As we see in today’s key verse, “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’” (Psalm 46:10a).

The “white noise” of the world might be the greatest impediment to our spiritual growth. By definition, white noise is a sound that contains every frequency a human can hear. And because it contains every frequency, it’s very difficult to hear any frequency — especially the still, small voice of God.

When our lives get loud, with noise filling every frequency, we lose our sense of being. When our schedules get busy, we lose our sense of balance, which is a function of the inner ear.

Can I go out on a limb?

Your life is too loud.
Your schedule is too busy.

That’s how we forget that God is God. And it takes very little to distract us. “I neglect God and his angels, for the noise of a fly,” said the English poet John Donne.

Over the past decade, I’ve recorded a dozen audiobooks with a brilliant sound engineer named Brad Smiley. During our last recording session, Brad told me about standard operating procedure for sound mixers in his industry. Before going into the studio, they let their ears relax and recalibrate through absolute silence. Only then are they ready to listen, really listen. Acoustic ecologists call the process ear cleaning.

If you want to hear the heart of God, silence is key.
If you want the Spirit of God to fill you, be still.

The psalmists referred to God as their refuge, their fortress, and their ever-present help in time of need. But my favorite descriptor might be the “hiding place.” You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7, NIV).

The voice can reproduce only what the ear can hear. My prayer is that you’ll learn to discern God’s voice. When you do, His songs of deliverance can set you free.

Simply put, God often speaks loudest when we’re quietest. Silence is so critical to our spiritual vitality that it’s worth meditating on one word or phrase of Scripture at a time:

Be.
Be still.
Be still, and know.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
— Psalm 46:10a

Lord, I want to hear Your whispers louder than the noise of the world surrounding me. What do You want to say to me today? In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 5:3, “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (NIV)

1 Kings 19:11-12, “The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker, taught us how to talk to God. Now his latest book, Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God, teaches us how to listen to God. Learn more and start reading for free at MarkBatterson.com/Whisper.

CONNECT:
Enter to WIN a copy of Whisper by Mark Batterson. In celebration of this book, WaterBrook & Multnomah will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, October 30, 2017.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one thing you can do today to limit the noise in your life? When during your day could you sit in silence for 1-3 minutes?

© 2017 by Mark Batterson. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks WaterBrook & Multnomah for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org
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