“And Moses said unto the people; stand still, and hold your peace.”
Exodus 14: 13, 14
King James Version
“Stand Still and Be Quiet”
“In the depths of my being
I become quiet and still;
I wait for You, my God,
Source of my salvation.”
Do I take time to be silent before my God?
“There should be in the soul -- halls of space, avenues of leisure, and high porticoes of silence, where God walks.”
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.”
Psalms 62: 1
Revised Standard Version
Last week I attended an 8th grade graduation program at a school where the Headmaster is a friend I’ve known since we were teens.
It was quite a program, with energetic and enthusiastic kids running everywhere, talking and laughing and frankly, just being themselves.
Since I had been asked to be the speaker for the program, I was invited to meet all the graduates before the official start of the festivities. I had to smile as I watched my friend try to “round up” the rambunctious kids. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. And finally in his, “I’m in charge here” voice, he shouted out, “Sit down and be quiet, now!”
I thought about this experience as I read Exodus 14: 13, 14. Sometimes, God has to send a message to us, “Sit down and be quiet!”
After listening to the crying and murmuring and complaining and griping, God said, “STOP and be quiet, hold your peace.”
What do you think the children of Israel would have heard if they were quiet by the Red Sea? I got to thinking about what I hear each day when I stand outside in the evening and am very quiet. I can hear a variety of cheery bird calls. I often hear the rustle of leaves caused by a soft breeze. Occasionally, I’ll hear a dog bark. That’s about it.
Now go with me out to the desert where the children of Israel were camped. Silence in a desert with no city noise can be stunning. In fact, it might have been possible that the children of Israel could have heard the thump, thump, thump of distant horses hooves as Pharaoh came closer toward the trapped throng.
If we go forward in Exodus 14 to verse 21(K.J.V.), we find that during the night, the “Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night.”
The other night we had a wind so great the howling went on from dusk to dawn. It was impossible to hear anything but the wind. It blocked out every other sound.
So let’s think about this situation. God tells the children of Israel to stop and be quiet. And what happens, they hear the pounding of Pharaoh’s army. But then God sends a wind that blocks out the noise from Pharaoh’s troops and it is this wind that solves the problem of deliverance for God’s people.
Here’s the lesson I learned from this wonderful passage of Scripture. If I get so busy and caught up, complaining and moaning and groaning and listening to Pharaoh’s army heading my way, the noise of defeat will block out the sound of God’s deliverance. This is why God asks us to be silent. It’s so we can hear the sounds of His salvation.
I love these words penned by Nicola Slee:
I meet You in the mystery of life
The sudden silences
Intensity of presence
That makes me stop
Catch my breath
Lift up my head high to
Catch the glory of Your moment
You are of a grandeur and
Glory I long after.”
It’s impossible for us to hear God’s deliverance when we are filled with the noise of our own confusion.
The poet, John Greenleaf Whittier penned one of my favorite passages:
“Drop Thy still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our soul the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.”
With a mighty army on one side and a mighty sea on the other, God had Moses tell His frightened children, “Stand still and be quiet.” And when they stopped and listened they heard the east wind – the powerful salvation of their God.
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
2 Timothy 4: 18
New International Version
Serene and tranquil light,
Shine into the depth of my being,
Come, and draw me to yourself.
Free me from the chatter of my mind,
And draw me through and beyond
All words and symbols,
Into the silence,
That I may discover You,
The unspoken Word,
The pure Light,
Piercing and transforming the darkness
That veils the ground of my being.”
F. C. Happold
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