The Lord your God is in your midst,
a Mighty One who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you by His love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.
Have you ever been quiet? I mean really, really quiet? I had the opportunity to practice being quiet last year at a silent retreat in the mountains of Colorado. I joined a group of men who took a vow of silence for three days. No phones. No TV. No talking. All we had were our Bibles and instructions to show up with no agenda other than the prayer, "Here I am Lord, do with me as You wish." Transitioning into immediate quietness is a very awkward, uncomfortable proposition coming from a frenetic life filled with lots of words, noise, and busyness. But an amazing thing happened over the following days. As my heart and mind quieted, I began to hear God speak to me.
Beginning the three-day journey of silence, what was I to do? How was I to start? How was I to become quiet? With only my Bible in hand, the concordance guided me to scripture having the word quiet in its text and quickly found and started praying through Zephaniah 3:17. The prophet's words spoke to me, "He will quiet you by His love". There was the answer to my question of how to be quiet—God's love! I do not have the power or devices to quiet myself, but God does. By focusing on the reality of His love for me, my mind and heart can be quieted. And what an amazing love it is. "But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
As God quieted my heart through this truth, then came the next question: Lord, why do you want me to be quiet? Through the voice of Zephaniah some 600-700 years before Christ, there in the verdant mountains near Gunnison, Colorado, God spoke into my heart. He wanted me to be quiet and listen—to listen for Him, to listen to Him, through focusing on His Word. Zephaniah's prophecy was warning Judah of God's wrath for forsaking Him in their pride and idolatry. In Zephaniah 1:7 He instructs Judah to be silent before Him. God was speaking of future judgments and His people were to sit and listen. They had no excuses for their disobedience and no defense. Likewise, as the Lord quieted my heart, He spoke to me revealing the idols remaining in my life, revealing my pride, my desire to perform and to people-please. Like Judah, God was speaking to me—be quiet and yield to Me.
As the Lord removed noise and distraction from my heart, He tenderly showed me through His Word how to be quiet by focusing on His love demonstrated on the cross. He wanted me to be quiet to hear His voice and know His desire to have all of my heart and life. Then He focused my attention on the intimate regard He has for me and the celebration that Zephaniah describes:
"He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will exult over you with loud singing."
There was the truth! God rejoices. God exults. With gladness. With loud singing! God is glorified when we quiet our lives and hearts and bow to Him in full dependence and obedience. He provides the means to do so. "The Lord God is in your midst; a mighty one who will save." Indeed, all the work has been done on the cross to quiet us in the midst of all of life's busyness and storms. Through this place of quiet, He reveals to us areas of our lives that we should yield.
By the third day in Colorado, quiet became my friend. It was no longer awkward or uncomfortable. God sweetly revealed Himself to me in new ways. As I prayed and meditated on God's Word, He revealed His deep, deep love for me. He strengthened my faith. Indeed, God revealed to me that He was in my midst. He quieted me with His love and gave me a love for being quiet with Him!