Intercessory Worship Part 3

My general experience, particularly in our overly busy culture, is that we tend to associate worship with activity. Is that scripturally accurate? Years ago I heard of an old Hebrew saying, “The beginning of wisdom is silence.” The source is actually Solomon ibn Gabirol, an 11th century Jewish philosopher. While this saying is not from scripture is it scriptural in expression? If it is do we have a connection between silence and worship? If we have a connection does the definition I created and posted still apply? “I see Intercessory Worship as a dynamic blend of worship and intercession that engages the heart in His strategic purposes and is led by the Holy Spirit. It may be either individual or corporate.” After all, how active can silence be? Does Psalm 46:10 mean anything in our busy work, social, and church culture?

10  Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

To answer my questions I will look to scripture. See how Habakkuk connects silence with worship and how a right response is wisdom.

20  “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20 (NKJV) 

What else do the scriptures have to say?

1  Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. 2  He only is my rock and my salvation; *He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. Psalm 62:1-2 (NKJV)

13  Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts That the peoples labor to feed the fire, And nations weary themselves in vain? 14  For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:13-14 (NKJV)

1  In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2  Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3  And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:1-3 (NKJV)

1  When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Revelation 8:1 (NKJV)

We also have Yahweh’s command to Moses.

12  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” Exodus 24:12 (NKJV)

What has long struck me about this passage is the first part of the command, “Come up to me on the mountain and be there;” It isn’t about activity, it is about being available in His presence. We need His perspective. That is what clarifies and connects Habakkuk and Isaiah. Habakkuk says, “For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,” while Isaiah says, or at least the seraphim say, “The whole earth is full of His glory!” How do we reconcile the two?

What we see depends on the vantage point we look from. Habakkuk referred to a coming time, which I believe is at the door, where across the earth people would become aware of the glory of Yahweh. The seraphim dwelt in Yahweh’s presence and so saw everything in the earth through the lens of His glory. Paul said we are seated with Him so we have the opportunity to see from the same perspective as the seraphim!

So back to my silence quote. The fuller version is, “In seeking wisdom, the first step is silence; the second, listening; the third, remembering; the fourth, practicing; the fifth, teaching others.

We can come into Yahweh’s presence in silence to listen to His heart. I believe that is a key component in intercessory worship. As David wrote,

2  Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me. Psalm 131:2 (NKJV)

Our thoughts tend to wander and clamour for attention and it takes persistence and discipline to learn to sit in silence before Him. The process of weaning a child is gradually withdrawing from them something they desire, generally it is connected to nursing and the withdrawal of their mother’s milk. While they tend to resist and fight against the loss, a transition to adult food is necessary for growth and maturity. The same is true in the spiritual realm, we need to discipline our souls, our wandering minds and emotions. If David could do it without the indwelling Spirit surely we with Christ living within can learn to come and be at rest before Him to tune our hearts to His presence.

So let me apply my definition and see if silence fits. “I see Intercessory Worship as a dynamic blend of worship and intercession that engages the heart in His strategic purposes and is led by the Holy Spirit. It may be either individual or corporate.” To embrace silence before Yahweh requires a deep engagement of our hearts so let us again hear Habakkuk and embrace his exhortation.

20  “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20 (NKJV)

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