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Silence and Spiritual Walk: Self-Examination

Devotions

Jenn Granneman, author of The Secret Lives of Introverts, described “12 things introverts absolutely need to be happy.” One is “comfortable silences”—friends they can be with without talking. Another is “a quiet, calm space that’s all theirs,” as well as “time and space to work uninterrupted.” Yet another is “time to think before responding,” or even the freedom not to respond at all.

Silence enables many qualities and activities. One of these is self-examination, as David pointed out in Psalm 4. The purpose of silence in Christian self-examination is to help clear the mind of distractions in order to focus on God (Ps. 46:10). God is the source of accurate self-knowledge, and, as we seek to reflect on our experiences, we need His help to understand them fruitfully. Scripture also uses such words as “meditate” and “ponder” to describe this discipline (see Ps. 77:12; 107:43).

Psalm 4 opens with a call for God to answer and help (v. 1). A warning is then issued that He is on the way (vv. 2–3). It closes with David’s confidence in the Lord, including the security, joy, and peace he experiences through trusting Him (vv. 6–8).

At the center of the psalm are two verses about the kind of worshiper David wants to be, and the kind of worshipers he as king wants his people to be (vv. 4–5). A genuine worshiper doesn’t respond to a crisis primarily in fear or panic, but rather with self-examination: “Search your hearts and be silent.” The search is focused on two implied questions: Are you offering “the sacrifices of the righteous”? That is, do you have any sin to confess? And are you trusting God completely? Such self-examination results in either repentance or increased faith, both of which will draw the worshiper closer to the Lord.

Apply the Word

It might be a helpful idea to post verses 4 and 8 of today’s reading near your bed as reminders. Verse 4 suggests, “When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” Verse 8 rejoices, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Another option is to “sing for joy” on your beds (Ps. 149:5)!

Pray With Us

Vice president and dean of Moody Theological Seminary, Dr. John Jelinek, invites you to praise God for the graduate education ministry He has granted to Moody over the years and to pray that the coming school year would continue to glorify Him.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer or editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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