Psalm 19: God Declared in Silence
I’ve been mulling over Psalm 19 all day going back to it via the NIV and The Message. I love it. It’s majestic and wonderful. It’s verses 1-4 that have really grabbed my attention though the whole Psalm pulls together as something beautiful, contrasting silence and word and bringing them together in harmony.
Ultimately it’s about the Creator who reveals himself and can be known in that which he has created. Verse 1 has David saying that the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies show us the work of his hands day and night. They give us a message and reveal knowledge. Who hasn’t experienced those many times we look up to the sky and catch a sense of wonder and awe that draws us beyond ourselves whether you believe in God or not?
What I adore about the psalm is how poetically it follows up those words about the messages and knowledge found in the skies. It’s in verses 3 and 4 that I’m captured:
I love those verses. They’re so freeing! Many of us would use those circumstances to justify busyness and acting like martyrs for the cause in the process while also using it as an excuse to place any sort of devotional life well into the background if it exists at all. Jesus placed the latter front and centre. My guess is that he knew he really couldn’t serve those people without that alone time being the foundation everything else flowed from thus he made everything else make way for it. He carved that space out. Jesus was a contemplative. His life was devoted primarily to his union with the Father.
A regular morning practice of alone silence has become a foundational part of my life. It provides the opportunity to strip my life away for a moment and simply be - quiet and still with the simple motivation to be in the presence of God.
The idea of silence enabling presence needs to flow into other areas of my life as well. The cultivation of silence when around others rather than the constant need to fill the space with my own words or the constant thinking about what I’m going to say lends itself to being truly present with them and and the growth of true focused/mindful listening as I put myself aside for them.
May this be something I grow in.
You feel the movement first, then act, and the movement stays with you like the lingering sounds of the bell rung till even the silence is delicious and free. dotMagis Blog – IgnatianSpirituality.com
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of The Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence,
for The Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust -
there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to the one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.
I posted this after being inspired by my friend, Tim Sisarich.
I love the sense of seeking God and finding hope, peace and God himself in silence, humility and even disgrace. He is the God who is found in the cross and glorified in the new life that follows death.
A number of these words from Lamentations are reflected later in the teachings of Jesus. His teaching on prayer to the disciples reflects the idea of sitting in silence and praying in humility. Offering the cheek to the one who strikes is reflected in Jesus teaching to turn the other cheek.
It’s a brilliant little piece to set the tone for our walk in life - quiet humility.
May the practice of silence and prayer become like breathing for me in 2013.