The Sound of Silence

Spoiler Alert: Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  19:41
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Revelation 8:1–5 NLT
When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets. Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake.
I’m only going to talk for a short time this morning. I want to look at verses 2-5 and come back to verse 1.
What does the angel mix in? Prayers of the saints. What are they praying for? Judgement.
There is a day when God will come and claim his glory on the earth. And prayer is a part of that. That’s why the early Church had a communal prayer called the maranatha prayer. It simply meant, “Come Lord.” Because prayer is war. It is an effective weapon of war.
And there’s lightning, and thunder, signaling God’s approval. But what I really want to focus on this morning is the silence in verse 1. And I want to ask the question, “Why is there silence in heaven?”
There’s a prophet in the Old Testament, Elijah, and he has a show down with the prophets of Ba’al, and he wins, but he becomes afraid and runs into the wilderness, God says he’s going to show himself to Elijah, and there’s a huge tornado that breaks stones on the mountain, and God’s not in the Tornado. And there’s a huge earthquake that makes the mountain tremble, but God’s not in the earthquake. Then there’s a fire. But God isn’t in the fire.
So back to my question: why is there silence in heaven?
In the story of Elijah, after the fire, Hebrew says there was “the sound of soft silence.”
God was there, in the sound of silence.
Sometimes, it’s easy to miss God.
To miss what God is doing.
Why is there silence?
Because, God works most powerfully in silence.
Exodus 14:14 ESV
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Does this silence make you uncomfortable?
Why is silence so hard for us to deal with?
Do you ever experience silence?
Do you ever experience solitude?
Do you have a smart phone?
More than one TV?
Do you have the radio on all day?
At work, in the car, or at home?
Do you feel like God is distant?
Do you wish God’s voice would be louder in your life?
Is there a connection between the amount of noise in our lives and our inability to hear God?
We’re always connected.
When does it stop?
Try this:
Make yourself comfortable in your chair and begin breathing slowly as you read.
Psalm 4:4 NIV84
In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.Selah
Psalm 62:1 ESV
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
Habakkuk 2:20 NLT
But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.”
James 1:19 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
Matthew 11:28 NIV84
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
If you are not still, and you do not listen, how will Jesus give you rest?
Have you spent the same amount of time worrying and talking about your difficult, frustrating situations as you have spent in silence, listening to what God might have to say?
Why is talking so much easier than listening?
Even our Lord Jesus needed silence
Luke 5:16 NIV84
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
These were regular disciplines Jesus had.
Silence. Solitude.
When is the last time you were in a solitary place?
What is it about silence that is so difficult?
Why is it easier to surround myself with noise and keep moving than to stop, be silent, and listen?
How much noise do I voluntarily subject myself to?
Does my schedule, my time, and my life look like that of a person who wants to hear God’s voice?
Maybe the healing or guidance we need won’t be found in another conversation or counseling session, or meeting
or sermon, or book
But from simply listening for the voice of God.
Do you really believe that God’s voice is more interesting than the voices around you?
Is it possible that you have been searching for God in the winds
the earthquakes and fires,
and He is waiting to speak to you in the silence?
Ecclesiastes 5:2 ESV
Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
Pray these words to yourself:
Lord, I’m sorry I have not sought you in silence.
Forgive me for placing more importance on the large, flashy, and miraculous
than in stillness and silence.
Help me, by your power to seek you
with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Help me to meditate on your Word- to hear your voice.
Help me to seek you in stillness, and silence.
We’re going to break this silence to sing-
-to ask God to make us into the people he’s called us to be.
But if you feel like you need to remain silent, then stay silent.
If you are bearing a burden and need rest, come and be prayed for.
Exodus 14:14 ESV
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
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