“When the Lamb ripped off the seventh seal, Heaven fell quiet—complete silence for about half an hour.” (Revelation 8:1 MSG)
Recently, on my own, I have been studying through the book of Revelation. This week, as I started verse one of chapter eight I decided to camp out on that verse for a while. Such a small verse relays such a huge truth: sometimes when we encounter the awesome power of God, all we can do is be silent. And this concept isn’t new to us. We have experienced moments of silence whenever we experience something monumental or epic in our lives. We are silenced at the end of a great movie (Schindler’s List, The Passion of the Christ). We are silenced when we are the recipients of some monumental act of compassion or generosity. We can be silenced when we are in the presence of those who we greatly admire (celebrities, musicians). Being silent is our natural response when we experience admiration, reverence, respect or fear of something or someone. But how often as human beings do we experience silence? In Revelation 8:1 it says that “Heaven fell quiet—complete silence for about half an hour.” When was the last time you or I really remained completely silent for a full half an hour unless we were asleep? If your life is anything like mine we can go from church to work, from concerts to family gatherings, from deadlines to Facebook … silence might seem to us like a pipe dream!
Could it be that we have spent so much energy “doing” things for Jesus and for those in our lives and ministry that we have missed out on experiencing the awesome presence of God in our own lives that can leave us speechless? So what does the Bible say about rest and silence before God? A lot. But here are the CliffsNotes:
In Psalm 62 David writes:
“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2 NLT)
The author of Hebrews writes:
“God’s promise of entering His rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it.” (Hebrews 4:1 NLT)
And Jesus even said:
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)
And again David writes:
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” (Psalm 46:10 NLT)
So maybe all of us should think about doing a silent day. No cell phones, no text messaging, no computers, no talking for an entire day. Let it be a time of fasting from speaking. During that time we can reflect on who God is, what He has done in our lives and what He is trying to tell us. Maybe if you and I can cut out all the busyness and distractions we face every day we just might hear the voice of Him who causes the Heavens to be silent.
I know God will do great things in our lives if we can slow down enough to let Him.