“In order to speak the language of God, we must learn to be silent and listen.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 18, 2021
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. Genesis 17:1-3a (ESV)
My children are fascinated by accents. Whenever they hear someone from another part of the world speak, they are instantly captivated, hanging on their every word, listening for slight variations in pronunciation or word choice. As such, though they are surrounded by American culture, it’s entirely normal in my home to have a child channel their inner Paddington and greet me with a rousing and heartfelt “Cherrio!”
Speech, whether it is our accent, the vocabulary we use, or our cultural points of reference, is never formed in isolation. These are communal activities, a social enterprise. As my children remind us, these words reveal a deeper longing and desire. We often experience an attraction and interest in culture and community. Each of us longs to find our place in the world, our tribe and our people. And so we learn the language, as it were, of that music scene, sport, or hobby in hopes of finding a place to belong.
When you commit to following Jesus, you do so, not in isolation, but alongside his people. To live as a Christian is to learn the language of God. We enter into an entirely new way of living, and within the family of God we are invited to live all of life in reference to Jesus Christ, to find in him the answer to our deepest passions and longing for purpose. Every desire to belong is fulfilled within the family of God.
In order to speak the language of God, we must learn to be silent and listen.
It is remarkably easy to approach God with open mouths and closed ears. We offer him an endless list of needs and requests, asking him in turn to hear us and orient his life to ours. Yet do we ever pause, even for a moment, to listen, to reorient our life to his? Similarly, we can do the very same thing to our family and friends. We can talk at someone incessantly, yet fail to truly see or hear them.
In Genesis 17, Abram models for us the correct posture before the Lord. When God draws near, Abram doesn’t launch into his own list of expectations, questions, doubts, or concerns. Of course he had them, but before speaking, he is first silent in worship, falling on his face before the Lord (Genesis 17:3).
Speech is central to our life with God and others. It invites us in to the family of God and is a means to both worship the Lord and speak blessing over others. Yet before we rush to speak, let us learn to be silent. Silence must precede speech and teach us how to truly respond.
Father, thank you for the gift of belonging. Teach us to speak and live as faithful disciples, listening to you and learning from you every step of the way, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
How can you practice stillness and silence before the Lord, learning as you do to truly speak and live as a member of his kingdom?
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