About 30 years ago I made a grandfather’s clock out of walnut wood. I bought a solid brass clock movement and installed it. It had the swinging pendulum that kept the clock regulated, and the three brass weights that operated the clock and the chimes. That movement lasted about 15 years until it no longer kept accurate time. I replaced it with another brass movement that worked for about ten years or so. Not wanting the expense of a third, I replaced it with an electronic clock movement. It continues to keep perfect time, chimes electronically on the quarter hour and hour, doesn’t need the weekly winding, but only a battery replacement about once a year. But something is missing. The chimes sound good but not the same as the striking bell. The brass weights are still there, but only as decoration, no longer moving or indicating the day of the week by their fall. The pendulum still moves, but has no real function. We have efficiency, but no longer the beauty that was once there. The advances in our modern world are important. I don’t mean to give them all up, but we do need to take care in considering what we may lose in the change. Sometimes the less efficient, the slower, the more expensive gives us a beauty, a bit of time to think, a deeper personal satisfaction, than provided by our modern means. And maybe even a deeper way to see our Lord’s hand in the midst of life.
It is always amazing to hear the statistics about the growth in human knowledge, or the pace of change in technology. World events move rapidly, and we have no control over any of it. Our own days are full of many activities, and at times it can feel like a Merry-go-Round running at triple speed. So, where is our rest? Where is the solid ground on which we can stand? Even thousands of years ago, the Psalmist seemed to have the same problem. He gave the answer, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”(62:1-2) This really is our only solid answer. We can take days off, and vacations, but we come back to the same world, the same pace. In the midst of all that is around us, and all that we have to do, God is there. He is unchanging, solid, caring, our source of hope, and peace. “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. “(vs.5)
We live in a noisy world. In many homes the TV is on from morning to night. The workplace is filled with activity, and just getting to and from work is a trial. Restaurants and waiting rooms have music or TV constantly playing. Our children face similar pressures, and when free, are at a video game, or closed in by the ear buds of an ipod. Most don’t know how to sit for an hour on the sofa just reading a book. I don’t think I overly exaggerate. With such activity we lose the ability to hear God. He has said, “Be still, and know that I am God…”(Ps.46:10) God has never intended to be silent with His people. He speaks through His Holy Word, and through the “still small voice” of His Spirit to our hearts. Our Lord is patient, and kind. He uses many avenues to open our hearts to Himself, but He does ask us to listen. The Lord said through the Prophet Isaiah, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” (30:15) Find times to let your heart become quiet before the Lord, and listen.
Yesterday my wife and I had a visit to a doctor’s office. We sat for a time in the waiting room. The TV was on to one of the daytime programs. No one in the room was paying the least attention to the TV. The same is true wherever we go. Restaurants have music, usually bad, or TVs around the walls. Ear buds are everywhere. Are we really so afraid of silence? There is really something spiritually significant here. Quietness reaches to our inner being allowing God’s Spirit to work. Noise blocks Him out. God said through Isaiah, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”(30:15) Repentance, that is, turning to face our Lord, coming humbly to rest before him. In quietness and trust we draw upon His strength. Unfortunately, God immediately followed this statement to Isaiah’s people saying, “but you would have none of it.” Tragic, and led to their downfall. Quietness, calmness of heart and mind, is a beautiful thing. It is not to be feared, but embraced. Make time for quietness each day.
A quip in the morning paper says that, “progress is man’s attempt to complicate simplicity.” Our lives do become complicated, and with the complications worries mount. “What about this? What if that happens? Will I get this done on time?” There is no easy answer to our complications, but our Lord does want to help us ease our burdens. Is. 30:15 says, “in quietness and trust is your strength.” Unfortunately, to the people to whom Isaiah wrote, he immediately followed this by saying, “but you would have none of it.” Let that not be our response. Our Lord continually invites us to quiet our soul by trusting completely in Him. Let’s not borrow trouble ahead, or add more complications to life. Do what is needed for today, and leave the rest in the Lord’s hands.
There is an old expression about running around like a chicken with its head cut off. When one reads the news today that seems like an apt expression for all that is going on. Confusing and dangerous things happening here there and everywhere. A war calms down in one area, and two more trouble spots break out elsewhere. Many offer solutions, but no one really has answers. The Lord offered the right path to Israel many years ago. “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”(Isaiah 30:15) Unfortunately, Israel didn’t listen. The Prophet continued, “but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.'” I am not optimistic about the nation or the world heeding God’s call. We can’t even agree on who the Lord is. But we can, as individuals, and as church, become quiet before God, coming to Him in repentance. Even as Daniel prayed, “Forgive me for my sins and the sins of my people.(read 9:4-19) God is looking for those who are willing to humble themselves before Him.
A quip in the morning paper says that, “progress is man’s attempt to complicate simplicity.” Our lives do become complicated, and with the complications worries mount. “What about this? What if that happens? Will I get this done on time?” There is no easy answer to our complications, but our Lord does want to help ease our burdens. Is. 30:15 says, “in quietness and trust is your strength.” Unfortunately, for the people to whom Isaiah wrote, he immediately had to followed this by saying, “but you would have none of it.” Let that not be our response. Our Lord continually invites us to quiet our soul by trusting completely in Him. Let’s not borrow trouble ahead, or add more complications to life. Do what is needed for today, and leave the rest in the Lord’s hands.