Friday, March 5, 2021

KNOWING IN THE SILENCE


 KNOWING IN THE SILENCE - AUDIO





As you know, Father has asked me to go on a fast.  Normally I would not tell anyone when I go on a fast, but when it is for so long and with no communication with the outside, it is best to let people know you did not vanish off the earth. Unlike the normal fasting of food, the “food” I was required to fast from has been from words.  No communication.  

Originally when He showed me that He wanted me to fast with communication, I thought that it only meant that I was to fast from speaking to others.  However, He showed me later that it was more than that.  It was no communication between the Lord and I as well!  This seems contrary to His words to the enemy that man shall not live from bread alone, but from every word that proceeds from the mouth of God - that living relationship where the Spirit daily speaks to you in all things. The mere thought truly overwhelmed me!   Not speaking to my Lord for 40 days... crazy, I know.  That took me to a serious level of, “What?  I would rather fast from literal food for 40 days than from not speaking to Him!” That’s it.  No ifs or buts about it.  Just total shutdown.  

The reason for the silence, not only between Him and I, but as well with others, was vital for what He was about to teach me.  When I finally found the nerve to contemplate this, His wisdom as usual just amazed me.  You see, I have grown very sufficient in my spirituality.  I am not talking about a religious spirit.  Rather, these gifts and talents and even all that I have become have been for His glory and honor.  They are part of who I am, but not who I am.  Like clothes.  You dress a certain way and that is in some degree part of your personality or character.  Only part, not the whole.  But remove that, and you are left naked.  He was not showing me that my spirituality was wrong or religious, He was drawing me to a greater death in Him.  Which was a greater dependence on Him.  Think about Jesus.  Everything about Him was both human and spiritual when He walked this earth.  At the cross He was stripped from everything and left naked.  And His disciples were scattered with only a few that stood at the cross.  They were heartbroken, because they thought that He would be the One to save them from this cruel world.  A more pathetic and broken person on a cross you cannot imagine!  Quite the opposite of how they imagined His victory.  The Lion of Judah reduced to a slain lamb and dying. 

The wisdom of Father in this silence was that He was teaching me not to depend on what I have learned through all the years.  That though what I have learned through the years were right, there was in fact something that I needed to understand about them.  You may recall a word He gave me a while ago in which He asked me whether I am willing that He strips me of everything, especially the spiritual, to stand before Him alone.   He was teaching me to walk by faith, but in a whole new way.  This all was at the heart of the fast of silence.  He told me in my previous 40 day fast last year that in order for me to hear His voice, I have to silence all other voices.  And in order for Him to speak through me I have to silence my voice.  And as you know He has been talking about sackcloth and ashes, because He needed to reduce me to ashes…to nothing, so that He could speak and I would hear.  Ashes do not speak.

Isaiah 50: 3 – 6

I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.

The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakens morning by morning, he wakens mine ear to hear as the learned.

The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Just before the fast He said, “Be still and know that I am God” – Ps. 46.10.  He was teaching me to be still, but not just physically still, but still in my very being.  For that, everything else had to become still itself.  My doing, and my being.  BE still.  I cannot begin to tell you how difficult it was in the beginning.  Waking up every morning for me is to greet Him with a smile and say, “Good morning Lord!” No good mornings.  Or just thanking Him for the good meal I was about to eat.  Not to mention the way I just speak to Him right through my day.  He is my best friend.  Or when I saw a need, wanting to pray for someone.  Or my daughter with tears in her eyes about the next “major” outfall with her best friend, knowing that she needs my prayers.  Not to mention when she goes into her panic attacks.  Or when I discover something amazing that I just want to lift up my hands and worship Him, but “no can do”.  So in intimate and stressfull times, I was to be silent.  He is my morning, noon and night and everything in between.  

At the end of the first week, someone contacted me wanting to know if I was available and willing to do something that is time sensitive.  They needed an answer, and my answer was, “I will have to pray about this first”.  Well, there was no praying.  This was what you would call a “catch 22” situation where I had no real way of knowing what to do.  But is was also the very provision of me understanding to what He is calling me to in this fast.  I needed to know whether it was His will that I should do this, but most importantly I needed to know whether this would derail that which He has done in me thus far in the fast, being very jealous for Him to have His way with me.  How was I going to get the answer I so desperately needed and so quickly?   Somehow I knew that He was not going to talk to me.  He made that clear.  He was not going to give me something palpable and factual and undeniable.  And yet I had to come up with an answer. 

I decided to listen to a sermon of one of my mentors, Art Katz called Hearing God’s Voice.  I have listened to it many times before, but somehow found myself drawn to listen again.  He started out with the following words that arrested my attention immediately.  In fact, this devotional is birthed out of the first 5 minutes of that sermon, because Father was speaking directly to me through this wonderful man.

He said, “What was profound of Jesus was His silence in His thinking", quoting P T Forsyth.  He said the reason we do not hear, is because of our lack of simplicity, our own agitation, fears and insecurities.”  Well, that brought me right back to the sleepless night I had before with regard to the answer I needed to give.  He said that our noise is the opposite of simplicity.  You will remember that I spoke in my previous devotionals of three words, SIMPLICITY, SOLITUDE and SILENCE.  I mentioned that these three are intertwined and influence one another.  So in this one sentence, Art Katz used the words simplicity and silence and I knew I was on the right track.

This reminded me of the scripture of Isaiah 50 where He says that He gives me the tongue of the learned and morning by morning He awakens my ear to hear as the learned.  I knew in that instance that this fast was about learning to hear from God.  Now, I have learned to hear from Him through the years, but this was something new.  Art further says, “Any demands from me, even subconsciously, impedes in my hearing the way I should.  That which I have already presupposed or logically thought out, that which constitute fear or even a sense of duty, impedes on my ability to hear from Him as I should.  These are the noise that He was addressing and therefore the need for silence and solitude in simplicity.  These noises dismiss the still small voice of God. 

And that is just it.  He was teaching me how to listen to His still small voice.  It is still.  Now, most of us see this as a whisper.  That still is the Strong’s word H1826, which means:

to be silent, be still, wait, be dumb, grow dumb

How do you hear that?  This is what He was teaching me in saying to me “Be still and know that I am God”. This still is another type of still that is required of me.  It is the number H7503 in the Strong’s Concordance and it means:

to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened

This is where the part of the fast comes in.  To get myself in sackcloth and ashes.  To sink low and down and see myself as the nothing I am.  Because let’s face it…what are we without Him and everything He has given us?  He was not asking me to just stop doing things, but stop in my being.  To put on sackcloth and see myself as I truly am and that He required of me to stop doing all the wonderful things I have been doing for Him so that I once again I can be stripped bare before Him in order to hear Him speak.  Because unless I am “still” the way He intended, how will I know?  Still and know goes together.  You cannot have the one without the other, not in the degree He intends for us.  This stillness is an essential condition in the absence of any determination from my part for anything.  In other words, my will must be given over to Him even at great cost, even if it means rejection by those I love.  The absence of self-awareness, or self-preservation.  No agenda of my own, completely free from my ends. 

This made me think of Lazarus and how he was completely shut up in the grave, with no hope, dead to all, until He heard the Lord say His name.  Can you believe that this is the extent that He is willing to go with you should you want to hear the still small voice of God?  That there is a death needed for you to have the ear of the learned? 

P. T. Forsyth, one of my favorite writers of the early 1900’s said the following of Jesus in the emptying of Himself referring to Philippians 2. 

“Jesus was silent in the agony of knowing only the Father’s will and not even the Father’s way.  His self-emptying meant self-limitation and the limitation of knowledge.”

In other words, not a clear directive.  Similar to what He said to Abraham in following Him and THEN He will show him the land.  “Leave everything, and follow Me”.  Not because you know the Bible or doctrine so well, but out of a lifetime of obediences, that causes you to know the will of the Father in a given situation.  Without having to hear His voice in a situation that demands that you have to have the answer and clear directives.  Jesus emptied Himself not only of knowing, but the principle of knowing.  Why is this important for us to know?  Because to be still, means to empty yourself of all your preconceived ideas of how God should speak to you and when, even your past experiences.  To forgo the “right” in this relationship that He should and must speak to you as He has done thus far, and to trust Him.  This was exactly what I needed to do when I got up and were not allowed to just say “Good morning Father”.  I had to know that He knows that I love Him and that He knows that He is the first thing on my mind.  When my daughter needed prayer, I had to know in that moment that prayer was not to be given, but trust to be had, that He loves her and will look after her, even if I did not ask a single thing.  I had to know that He knows and trust that He will do what needs to be done.  I had to do this every day and I am still doing it. It has been both scary and liberating to say the least. 

And this is also what lies so close to the essence of self.  Self, the “I” wants to know.  Eve wanted to know what the fruit of that tree tasted like.  We like to be in control.  We want to know what is expected of us, when and how.  We want to know what our odds are, our future and what others think.  We want to know that we know and therefore all the boxes are checked and nothing can go wrong. Because we made sure we did that we knew what to do.  We want the security of knowing.  This is our safeguard against disappointment, even disappointment towards God.  And so, if we can say, “God has said”, who then can argue that we acted in obedience, because He has spoken.  But what if He is silent and He requires of us to act?  What will you then say to others when they require of you a reason for your actions?  We want hard facts, or at least something close enough for ourselves and others.  We want to know. Only He can bring you to this place of hearing.  And it will be through the cross.  The cross is at the heart of hearing, at the cost of silencing all the noise.  But, in knowledge do we trust.  In knowing the outcome, even if it is just a fair guess.  

The tree of the knowledge of Good and evil is something that has puzzled me.  We know it was not an actual fruit.  I like fruit, but I do not desire it.  The part that came to my mind was the fact that in this act, their eyes would open and they would know the difference between good and evil.  Well, I don’t know about you, but isn’t that a good thing?  Why would Father want to protect them from this knowledge?  My suspicion is that it had to do with the “seed” of independence that was sown in that moment into their hearts.  For this independence is nothing short of rebellion and witchcraft that cries out against God that I will trust in my own understanding and knowledge.  I will in fact not need Him to make it through life.  I myself know now and therefore nothing will be impossible for me.  I will be my own god.  Who needs God when you can be god?  Well, you may think that this does not apply to you, but I submit to you that the word says clearly that the flesh, that animal nature in you that exists without God, is in enmity with the Spirit.  This seed of independence knows how to grow and form deep roots into our being and from birth it grows within us producing the self-same fruit they saw in the garden.  In fact, your heart is the garden.  And this is the reason He came.  To lay the ax to the root of the tree – Luke 3: 9. 

This is why Paul said, “I am determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified”.  Let us consider Paul.  A man with his credentials has all his proverbial ducks in a row.  All his files in alphabetical order, knowing what is required according to the law and experience.  But he says he is determined not to know anything among them, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Which is to say that he is determined to “To walk by faith”.  He had to restrain from leaning on his own knowledge, for at the heart of self and the depravity and sinfulness of sin, lies the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The ability to make decisions from out of yourself, your own self-dependency, which is self-idolatry.  God wants us to have no confidence in the flesh.  He wants to deal with all our categories, especially our spiritual categories, because “self” hides in the spiritual.  He has to show us our dependency on self.  

His desire is to lay the ax to the root, so that we no longer live by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but from the Tree of Life.  From that incorruptible seed of life of the Word of God, not living by our life, the self, but by His life. 

“The need to know has to be crucified.  There has to be a willingness to proceed with the absence of knowing.  Trust without knowing is at the heart of the moral personality.” – Art Katz

We do not sufficiently understand the depths of our desire to know.  We do not see how it is rooted in that horrible tree called self.  Self wants to know what the fruit tastes like.  The will to know is what drives the rebellion to not relinquish control in God’s hands.  And Jesus gave up that will to know by emptying himself and that in itself was His provision to walk by  great faith.  At the heart of it, we want to be in control.  And “self” desires to rule no matter the cost, even if it is through religious means.  There it will hide and from there it will rule, looking moral and ever so poised, but still in control.  This is why all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags, because “self”, the very heart of hell, resides in the fiber of those rags. 

I am not advocating that we should all throw caution to the wind and not ask Father for confirmations or scriptural ‘back up” in our decision making.  With all things in the spirit there are degrees.  What I am saying is that we are all at different levels in the spirit, but that this is the place He desires to bring us all to.  A place of knowing.  Whilst we still need to be told, we are still maturing in our hearing, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But matured sons know.  Not by hearing, but by being silent, by being still so that you may hear the still small voice and therefore have the ear of the learned.

And maybe this is part of being a eunuch for God, being cut off from that which are your crutches, even the voice of God.  We, as children of God, live by what we hear from Him.  How would you like that mode of being, that life support to be cut off?  We live by voices, whether it be our own, the enemy’s, the Lord’s or other people.  We live by these voices.  And too many voices drown out the still small voice of God.  The reality is that once we become silent, His still small voice will be heard, but not in the way we have always known.  It will not be mixed with all the other voices.  It will not have the clutter of other voices, even our own, because we have been cut off.  So that like little Samuel we may hear him call us, when we rest.  From out of this rest, the stillness of the voices and a life of obedience comes a walking in knowing.  This is the true rest of God.  This faith that works not by the hearing, but by the knowing.  That like Jesus we can say, “I only say what the Father tells me to say, and the works I do, He does through me”.  And how can we fully obey if we do not first let go and crucify the need to know, the reliance on our own understanding. Especially our spiritual understanding.

Trusting the Father with all your heart lies at the very nexus of walking by faith, which is a knowing in silence.  Knowing Him who knows.  A confidence and a trust that does not require a knowing of what needs to be done or the outcome of our obedience.  Not just for a moment in time, but a moment by moment way of life.  This is the faith He is calling us to and also working in us.  This faith is childlike faith, because at the heart of it is trust. 

John 16: 13 - 16 

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

There are times when He has to "go away from us" as we have come to know Him, so that He may reveal Himself to us afresh.  These are the times when He does not speak, but shows us by His Spirit.  Silence is a gift of immeasurable value, and the gift is Him.

For those who are going through this season, or who will one day go through this season, I would like to leave with you a word that He gave me 5 months ago, in which I now see and experience the fulfillment.  May you be richly blessed by learning to walk in the "knowing of silence".

Word received 18th September 2020

My child, you are in a new season.  This season will require of you to trust me inextricably without boundaries.  More than ever to be as a child.  To not doubt, but always believe.  Do not concern yourself with this world, but as I have said, 'Look unto Me".  Stay focused, stay committed to the way I have chosen for you.  You may not understand, and this is good.  For I do not desire for you to understand, but to trust.  Trust and obey.

I have said that I will guide you with My eye upon you.  Not with My mouth, not with reasoning, but with My eye.  Though you may not understand, you may know this.  I love you.  I know you love Me.  Never doubt these two facts.  For love is the fulfillment of the law.  Draw near to Me, stay near to Me.  Not by doing, but by a disposition of love.  For love conquers all.  Love endures all, hopes all and believes all.  So come and do not fear.  I am always with you.

There will be times where you will feel that you can no longer endure, but as I said, "Love endures all".  Nothing more is required but love.  Not your love, but Mine.  I will pour out My love into your heart at the right time.  Will it be as you expect?  No.  For you cannot put Me into a box.  Faith has no limits, neither does love.  So come, come in the ensurance that I will never leave you and remain in the posture of hope, faith and love, of which the greatest is love.  

Hope does not disappoint, faith has no boundaries and love endures forever.

I am your rewared.  Not a crown, not souls, nor anything else.  I am.  Have I not said that I am able to do super abundantly above all that you could ask or think?  Know then that I am your all in all.  That I fill all and so I will fill you.  This is your reward.  I AM your reward. 

I love you My child, I love you. 


PLEASE READ:

Psalm 32

Proverbs 3: 5 – 8

Isaiah 50: 3 – 11

Jeremiah 17: 5 – 10


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