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February 23, 2016

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Heaven and earth, listen,
because the Lord is speaking:
“I raised my children and helped them grow up,
but they have turned against me.
An ox knows its master,
and a donkey knows where its owner feeds it,
but the people of Israel do not know me;
my people do not understand.”
How terrible! Israel is a nation of sin,
a people loaded down with guilt,
a group of children doing evil,
children who are full of evil.
They have left the Lord;
they hate God, the Holy One of Israel,
and have turned away from him as if he were a stranger.
— Isaiah 1:2-4 NCV

A few years ago Lee Smith from Fresno, California, took my family to Yosemite National Park, and we walked a few of the many trails of that vast and breath-taking nature preserve. My son and I chose to walk up the trail to one of the beautiful waterfalls, and it took us more than an hour to make it to the top.

The further we went away from the crowds and the lower splash of the falls, the higher we climbed, the more quiet it became, and we could begin to see the slow moving waters that tumbled down hundreds of feet below, but above the falls was calm, serene, and we could listen to the birds, hear each other talk, and enjoy the peaceful silence of ours and other feet padding up the trail and onto the large rocks above the falls.

Isaiah was called out of his life at the lower falls and higher to a place where he could hear Yahweh speaking. He had to stop what he was doing, move to a place where he was still and could hear, and listen to God.

The first words of the whole prophecy are, "Listen."


Try praying without words today. Sit and just listen. What do you hear, if anything?


Fast from words today. Just as you speak less or not at all to God, so also use sparingly the words you speak to others. As my friend, Randy Harris says so well, speak only what love requires.


Give in to silence. Give yourself to silence, to the joy of not speaking, not pouring out your heart, being at peace. Give yourself to a peaceful existence. Give others this peace. A wise person once said, "When a person is at peace, the world around him or her is saved."