Monday, December 13, 2010

Silent and Still

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
(Psalm 62:5)
Once again, David has come before the Lord. He waits silently before God. It is not that he is settled in the midst of calm. Quite the opposite. He is surrounded, once again, by those who seek his downfall, false friends who pretend to bless him while inwardly cursing him (vv. 3-4).

But David comes quietly before God. It does not happen naturally. He has to remind his soul, perhaps even repeating it over and over to himself: “Soul! Wait silently for God alone.”

“Wait silently” translates one word, not two. The waiting implies silence and the silence implies patience. The word also speaks of stillness. David is not scouring his heart, trying to come up with some sort of plan to deal with all the treacherous pretenders on his own. No, he has instructed his heart to sit quietly and still before God alone. Nothing else will do. Only God can help him.

“For my expectation is from Him.” Some versions translate this as “For my hope is from Him.” In the Bible, hope is expectation. What is especially interesting here is that David says, “My expectation is from Him.” Not in but from, as if to add a layer of specificity. David does not have just a general hope in God, or that things will somehow turn out okay. No, he expects something from God, for God to move specifically on his behalf. He has a personal relationship with God, so his expectation is for God’s personal attention.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I will not be shaken.
My salvation and glory depend on God;
My strong rock, my refuge, is in God. (vv. 6-7)
Though surrounded by disloyalty and deceit, David stills his heart before God. The longer he remains in that inner quiet, the more he realizes how much he needs God, but also how much God is for him. Now the assurance rises up in him: He will not be shaken. His position is secure, for God really is his strong rock of refuge. Now he turns to those who have remained loyal to him, and who are disquieted by the dangers that have threatened him—and them.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your hearts before Him.
God is our refuge.
The world does not slow down, nations do not cease their striving, obligations do not go away while we quiet out hearts before God. We must quiet them anyway, reminding our souls that our expectation is from God alone, that He is our rescue and refuge, and that our glory, every good thing in our lives, comes from Him. It is in that realization that we come to know that whatever is happening in the world cannot shake us, for we are not founded on the world but on God.

Though the world does not know what do with it, Advent is a season for quieting our hearts and setting our expectation on God. For He comes, as He did so many centuries ago and has so many times since, bringing His salvation and releasing His glory. In the quiet of Advent, our hearts are refreshed as we wait for expectation to be fulfilled anew.

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