“O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul…” -Ps. 131.1-2a
In our society, which moves at breakneck speed in a multitude of directions and pursuits, there is a remarkable temptation to involve our minds and hearts with matters too great and difficult for us. It is a rare thing to run into souls who have learned the art of quieting the soul before God.
In the world, men make success, promotion and knowledge the aim of all things, and if you would advance in those realms you’ve got to be a “go-getter,” an active mind, an ambitious, almost machinic person. Promotion and advancement have got to mean more to you than truth, family, and life itself, and you must be willing to climb the ladder of success by walking over the backs of others.
In the Church, the same kind of wisdom often festers and spreads. If we are not pursuing the same toys and statuses that the world pursues, we are often trampling our own souls with religious pursuits, ministerial striving, or other “Kingdom matters” which are too difficult for us. We ought never to engage our hearts in matters which remove us from a vital communion with Him, even if they are topics or ministries that appear valid and noteworthy. It is one thing to wrestle with a matter the Lord Himself sets before you, and to go along the trying pilgrimage hand in hand with the Great Shepherd. In those cases, there will be trial, stretching, and enlargement, but the whole journey will be marked by His nearness.
It is quite another thing to take up matters prematurely, and engage in thoughts and situations that the Lord never called us to touch. Are you being overwhelmed by fast-moving thoughts and anxieties? Are you looking in a multitude of directions to find the answers to the matters of life and spirituality? The Psalmist gives us the key to eternal liberty from the powers that influence us negatively. “Surely I have composed and quieted my soul…”
Thank God that Moses waited on the back side of the desert until the bush was inflamed.
Thank God that David received the word of the prophet Nathan, and waited in repentance until the heavenly “hyssop” cleaned his soul.
Thank God that Simeon was waiting for the true consolation of Israel, and was not satisfied with anything less than the appearance of the Son of God Himself.
Thank God that John the Baptist didn’t try to move into public ministry prematurely, and that he was willing to quiet his soul in the wilderness until the day of his showing forth.
Thank God that Jesus shot down the attempts of Satan to stir his humanity in the wilderness, overlooked the desires of His kinsmen to appoint Him King before the proper time, and pressed through the piercing pain of Gethsemane and Calvary for the “joy set before Him.”
Thank God that the 120 quieted their souls in the upper room, rather than raising funds for a new building and starting a campaign for Christianity.
What would have happened if all of these saints had chosen expedience over obedience? What would have happened if they would have looked to the world for help, or listened to the multitudinous streams of opinion and thought in their day? The revelation of God has broken into history upon the shoulders of weak men and women who have quieted their souls enough to hear what God Himself is speaking. The Lord chooses to reveal Himself by those means alone, and the fact that we have busied our minds and hearts rather than quieting our souls before Him is the primary reason our cities have seen so little of Him.
Jesus’ soul was quieted in the secret place, where He listened intently to the Voice of His Father. Because of this, He had an inward stillness and clarity in the home of Jairus, though his daughter had died, and He was surrounded by relatives whose emotions were in earthquake-mode. He brought a whole new reality into the midst of the instability of that home, and resurrection glory resulted.
The Lord means for His own people to manifest the same stillness and authority in these last days, and it’s only by quieting our souls and hearing the Voice of the Lord that we have the capacity for that kind of an expression. We have a calling to come into the holy place of stillness and communion, that our children may see His wonders, and that Israel and the nations would see in the Church “the glory of God in the face of Christ.” Only a people which has “composed and quieted” its soul will have the love and authority to speak to a bewildered nation:
“O Israel, hope in the Lord,
From this time forth and forever.” (v. 3)
Have you quieted your soul today, dear saint? If you have not consciously quieted your soul, it will immediately be swept up in the tide of this age. You can be assured that the thoughts and fears and confusions which plague the nations will soon enwrap your soul, for it is only in the conscious decision to quiet your soul that you are enabled to hear the Voice of the Lord. Lay down that which is too great and difficult for your soul. “Be still,” and know that He is God. There is a wisdom, peace, and grace which rests on the quieted soul, and you have unobstructed access to this blessed reality through the Blood of Jesus Christ. You need only to compose and quiet your soul before Him.
Then, as a precious 80-year old intercessor once charged me in regard to coming into the holy place, “You have to enter!”
The community of saints which comes into this kind of soul-quietude before God will become a resounding voice in the cities of the earth, whose words are as His, “spirit and life.”
(Jn. 6.63b) Remarkably, the souls who have quieted their hearts are the same ones permitted and privileged to speak in the time of their showing forth. Those who have consciously quieted their own souls are the ones to hear His voice, thereby becoming more than an echo of other men.
The Lord is wanting to form a holy community in the earth, who can with one voice proclaim, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!'” (Mt. 3.3)
For this, His voice must increase, and the activity of my soul and the varying voices in the world must decrease.
The quieting of the soul is not for the timid, dainty and cowardly. It is not simply a syrupy sweet journey through flat plains, highlighted by cloudless skies and warm breezes. It requires an inward violence to shut the gate against the hustle and bustle of this age and the distractions and pressures which will invariably strike our hearts when we set out to seek His face. We’ve got to come boldly, making every effort to enter His rest, and to quiet our souls before the Throne. John the Immerser “took it by force” (Mt. 11.12) in the wilderness, and so must we. Shut out the other voices, saints. If it requires shutting off the computer, unplugging the television, and taking the phone off of the hook, let it be done. Let your soul be composed and quieted before the Lord. There you will hear His voice, and Christ will be all in all to your soul.
Isn’t this what your spirit cries out for, after all?
Posted in Scripture Tagged with: Be still, God, hope, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, listen, quiet, rest, the church, wait for the Lord