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The Sound of Silence

by Mark Batterson

The Hebrew word for "whisper," demamah, can be translated "silence" or "stillness" or "calmness." Simon and Garfunkel weren't far off the title of the 1964 hit single, "The Sound of Silence." The same Hebrew word is used to describe the way God delivers us from our distress: "He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed." And that psalm foreshadows the way Jesus would stop a storm in its tracks with three words: "Quiet! Be still!" 

His whisper is gentle, but nothing is more powerful. 

My dictionary defines whisper as "speaking very softly using one's breath without one's vocal cords." The use of breath instead of vocal chords is significant. Isn't that how God created Adam? He whispered into the dust and named it Adam. 

Adam was once a whisper. 

So were you. 

So was everything else. 

Whispering is typically employed for the sake of secrecy. No form of communication is more intimate. And it seems to be God's preferred method. The question is why. And I won't keep you guessing any longer. 

When someone speaks in a whisper, you have to get very close to hear. In fact, you have to put your ear near the person's mouth. We lean toward a whisper, and that's what God wants. The goal of hearing the heavenly Father's voice is just hearing His voice; it's intimacy with Him. That's why He speaks in a whisper. He wants to be as close to us as is divinely possible! He loves us, likes us, that much. 

When our children were young, I would occasionally play a little trick on them. I'd speak in a whisper so they would inch closer to me. That's when I'd grab them and hug them. God plays the same trick on us. We want to hear what He has to say, but He wants us to know how much He loves us. 

"The voice of the Spirit is as gentle as a zephyr," said Oswald Chambers. "So gentle that unless you are living in perfect communion with God, you never hear it." Aren't you grateful for a gentle God? The Almighty could intimidate us with His outside voice, but He woos us with a whisper. And His whisper is the very breath of life. 

Chambers continued, "The checks of the Spirit come in the most extraordinarily gentle ways, and if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice you will quench it, and your personal spiritual life will be impaired. His checks always come as a still small voice, so small that no one but the saint notices them."


Mark Batterson talks about hearing God's voice this Monday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson. Copyright ©2017 by Mark Batterson. Published by Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Used by permission.