By Andrew Murray
Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted" (Isa. 7:4). "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" (Isa. 30:15). Such words reveal to us the close connection between quietness and faith. They show us what a deep need there is of quietness, as an element of true waiting upon God. If we are to have our whole heart turned toward God, we must have it turned away from man, from all that occupies and interests, whether of joy or sorrow.
God is a being of such infinite greatness and glory, and our nature has become so estranged from Him, that it requires our whole heart and desires set upon Him, even in some little measure, to know and receive Him. Everything that is not God, that excites our fears or stirs our efforts or awakens our hopes or makes us glad, hinders us in our perfect waiting on Him. The message is one of deep meaning: "Take heed, and be quiet"; "In quietness...shall be your strength"; "It is good that a man should . . . quietly wait."
Scripture abundantly testifies how the very thought of God in His majesty and holiness should silence us: "The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him" (Hab. 2:20); "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD" (Zeph. 1:7); "Be silent, 0 all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation" (Zech. 2:13).
As long as the waiting on God is chiefly regarded as an end toward more effectual prayer, and the obtaining of our petitions, this spirit of perfect quietness will not be obtained. But, when it is seen that waiting on God is itself an unspeakable blessedness—one of the highest forms of fellowship with the Holy One—the adoration of Him in His glory will of necessity humble the soul into a holy stillness, making way for God to speak and reveal Himself. Then, it comes to the fulfillment of the precious promise, that all of self and self-effort will be humbled: "The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day" (Isa. 2:11).
Let everyone who wants to learn the art of waiting on God remember the lesson, "Take heed, and be quiet" (Isa. 7:4). "It is good that a man . . . quietly wait." Take time to be separate from all friends and all duties, all cares and all joys; time to be still and quiet before God. Take time not only to secure stillness from man and the world, but from self and its energy. Let the Word and prayer be very precious. But remember, even these may hinder the quiet waiting. The activity of the mind in studying the Word or giving expression to its thoughts in prayer, the activities of the heart, with its desires and hopes and fears, may so engage us that we do not come to the still waiting on the All-glorious One; our whole being is prostrate in silence before Him.
Though at first it may appear difficult to know how thus quietly to wait, with the activities of mind and heart for a time subdued, every effort after it will be rewarded. We will discover that it grows upon us, and the little season of silent worship will bring a peace and a rest that give a blessing not only in prayer, but all day.
"It is good that a man should . . . quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD." Yes, it is good. The quietness is the confession of our meekness. It will not be done with all our willing and running (Rom. 9:16), with all our thinking and praying. We must receive it from God. It is the confession of our trust that our God will, in His time, come to our help—the quiet resting in Him alone. It is the confession of our desire to sink into our nothingness and to let Him work and reveal Himself. Do let us wait quietly. In daily life, let there be, in the soul that is waiting for the great God to do His wondrous work, a quiet reverence, an abiding watching against too deep engrossment with the world. Then, the whole character will come to bear the beautiful stamp—quietly waiting for the salvation of God.
My soul, wait thou only upon God!