Stepping Into God’s Presence
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Ecclesiates 5:1
I tend to think I have many important things to say in life. Even as I write this reflection I am considering all the significant ideas I have and how I might say them. I think it is a bit arrogant to imagine my thoughts, ruminations and reflections could be so significant as to write them down and then share them with others. But here I am, writing a post and hoping it will be meaningful to others. That being said, I think part of what defines our humanity is the ability to communicate our thoughts, feelings and revelations. Having been made in the image of God, this communication is one way we identify and connect with Him. But in any conversation, I can easily make my words primary and dialogue quickly is reduced to a monologue. If I’m honest, I really like the monologue, because it keeps me at the center of the conversation. I can speak and carry on a conversation in such a way that no one else can get a word in edge wise.
I can especially do this with God. It is one of the ways I take advantage of His perfect and patient ability to listen. What is fascinating is that I often don’t consider that the One whose word called forth creation and whose whisper of breath formed and animated humanity might have anything worth listening to. It sounds ludicrous even saying it out loud.
The writer of Ecclesiates seems to have the right idea when entering the presence of God. He says that we should come to listen rather than offering the sacrifice of fools, which I believe might be the long lists of words, ideas and plans I tend to think are so important. He says we are to guard our steps and I think he is warning me of how easily my steps drift into my own monologue rather than listening to the One who truly has something life-giving to say. The writer also says that I need to slow down both my mouth and my heart. It seems that my many words are a reflection of an agitated and hasty heart. If I’m truly to manifest fewer words I must attend to and still my heart to some degree. The listening to which God calls me involves not just stilling my mouth but stilling my heart from all the concerns, desires, ideas, plans and agendas that are swirling about there.
So, I am called to a new path when I enter God’s presence. It is a path to stillness and to silence and to the space created by that stillness and silence to receive from God what is truly worth listening to, His words, His thoughts, His plans that lead me in the way of life and love. Entering the presence of God is a privilege and the time there will be further enhanced by the posture of stillness, silence and listening. How might your experience in God’s presence this day be enhanced by stillness, silence and listening? What might the Lord have for you that can only be discovered as you guard your steps from the temptation to be hasty with your heart and words, rather than honor the moment with stillness and silence before the One whose words truly matter? May this day be filled with the dialogue that is best realized when we wait for God to speak His transformative words of grace, love and purpose into our lives. Here is a song to encourage your journey into His presence.