By: Steve Negley

Posted: February 4, 2023

Category: Daily Devotional

I prefer noise to silence. When I wake up in the morning, I grab the remote and turn on the TV to hear the weather forecast. But I don’t turn the TV off after I have learned what I need to dress for the day. As I go to the kitchen for breakfast, another TV is employed to be the noise maker. When I get in my truck to drive to work, my 9-minute commute necessitates talk radio. I prefer noise to silence. But sometimes, God chooses to speak to us in silence.

In the story of the prophet Elijah and a conversation with God that we find recorded in the New Revised Standard Version of I Kings 19, God can make noise, but also speaks in a quieter way.

1 Kings 19:11-12

11[The Word of the Lord] said [to Elijah], “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

At the sound of sheer silence, Elijah went out from where he was hiding, and the Lord spoke to him.

God sometimes speaks to us in moments surrounded by silence.

A man named Cleland Boyd McAfee, a Presbyterian minister and hymn writer, repeated what Elijah had discovered in his hymn “Near to the Heart of God.” He wrote the song after the concurrent deaths of two of his young nieces, caused by diphtheria.

In the silence that surrounded these sad events, McAfee attested:

There is a place of quiet rest,
near to the heart of God,
a place where sin cannot molest,
near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
sent from the heart of God,
hold us, who wait before thee,
near to the heart of God.


God, help to take the time today to escape the noise and encounter your presence in sheer silence. Draw me close to your heart, through my blest Redeemer, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.