The Quiet Sensitive God
19th May 2011, hej
1) Hearing God in sound of Silence
People have heard of the God of Israel being described as Jealous, they have read that his voice may thunder, but it seems people may miss that Yahweh Elohim loves quiet in his dwelling.
We are so assaulted by noise, most of us today feel uncomfortable with the sound of silence, and silence has a sound. In the sound of silence we will hear evidence of the wind. The word for wind in Hebrew is ruach. It is the same word for the spirit of Yahweh. To Hebrews the wind was due to the work of energy of Yahweh and they must have known. In silence we can hear the work of the spirit of Yahweh Elohim.
Hearing in the quiet of the day
In the record of the very first interaction of Yahweh Elohim with humans, it was not while they were busy during the day that he came to them, but with the cooling evening breeze, with his ruach.
And they heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool-breeze ruach of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God amongst the trees of the garden. (Gen 3:8)
The presence of Yahweh Elohim comes in the quiet of the day. Before dusk, often the wind drops, to a zephyr and the natural world is still, and softer sounds such as the voice of Yahweh Elohim will carry further.
But there is more evidence that Yahweh loves quiet and that he speaks in the quiet. Elihu speaks of at night when the world seems still and everyone is sleeping of feeling the ruarch then silence – then in the silence hearing a voice.
Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.
Then a spirit (ruarch) passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence,
and I heard a voice, saying,
Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his messengers he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it. Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom. (Job 4:12-21)
We need like Elihu to sit in silence to ponder such a question as Elihu was asked. To consider the excellency in us that goes away and that our houses are only dust.
When Yahweh speaks it is sometimes a Hebrew word 'na'am' which means to whisper, 'n'um' the oracle. The first and most powerful occurrence is when Abraham, in silence on a hill top, in obedience offers Isaac, and is given a great promise.
“By myself have I sworn,” whispered the LORD, “for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: (Genesis 22:16).
When the Israelites murmured, Moses was told to his ear,
“Say unto them, As truly as I live, whispered the LORD, “as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you” (Numbers 14:28)
Balaam uses the word when speaking of his prophecy. Most occurrences of the word are in the prophets. Isaiah uses it to describe how Yahweh makes the great promise to us,
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, whispered the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. (Isaiah 66:22)
Other references give a sense of the intimacy,
“If thou wilt return, O Israel,” whispered the LORD, “return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.” (Jeremiah 4:1)
“And it shall be at that day,” whispered the LORD, “that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.” (Hosea 2:16)
“Therefore say thou unto them, 'Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, whispered the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you', saith the LORD of hosts.”
“I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel?” whispered the LORD. (Amos 2:11)
“I have loved you,” saith the LORD. “Yet ye say, 'Wherein hast thou loved us?' Was not Esau Jacob's brother? whispered the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, (Malachi 1:2)
There is an interesting contrast. The prophets spoke loudly words which were whispered to them.
Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried called out loudly, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, whispered the LORD. (Zechariah 1:3-4)
Elijah flees to the silent wilderness, where an angel speaks to him. From there he is strengthened to go to Mt Horeb where, in the quiet after the noise of strong wind and earthquake, he hears a still small voice.
The sense of relationship is very strongly marked in the words of the unnamed man of God to Eli, which it seems in context was witnessed by the child Samuel.
Wherefore the LORD God of Israel whispered, “I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD whispered, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” (1Samuel 2:30)
Samuel first heard the word of Yahweh in the silent temple at night as he was about to sleep.
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