Thoughts From The Prophets: Keep Silence Before Him

But the LORD is in His holy temple.  Let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20).

The context concerns idols.  The previous two verses read, “What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, the molded image, a teacher of lies, that the maker of its mold should trust in it, to make mute idols?  Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, ‘Arise!  It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, yet in it there is no breath at all” (Habakkuk 2:18-19).  These words seem to be about Chaldea (Babylon).  Jeremiah described them saying, “It is the land of carved images, and they are insane with their idols” (Jeremiah 50:18).  Trust in idols is foolishness (Isaiah 41:21—29; 44:9-20; Jeremiah 10:14-16).  They are mute, silent, and have no breath (Habakkuk 2:18-19).  However, it is a teacher of lies (Habakkuk 2:18), through its false prophets (cf. Zechariah 10:2).  In reality, “an idol is nothing in the world” (1 Corinthians 10:14).

Habakkuk 2:20 sets forth a great contrast.  Notice the word “but.”  The LORD is in His holy temple, that is in heaven (Psalm 11:4).  The ESV Study Bible comments, “There is a tremendous contrast between silent, inanimate idols and the awesome living God who sits enthroned in heaven and rules over the earth.  He is the one who deserves the honor and reverence bestowed on worthless idols.”  Let all the earth keep silence before Him.  What does this mean?  Homer Hailey comments, “Silently submitting to His divine rule and judgment, rejecting the dumb idols that cannot answer or help” (Hailey, A Commentary on The Minor Prophets, p. 288).   Stephen Wiggins writes, “Jehovah God is on His heavenly throne.  He is in complete control and all are to silently submit to His divine rule and judgment” (Editors Thomas B. Warren and Garland Elkins, The Minor Prophets, Power Lectureship, p. 218).

It is a bit off subject.  However, someone once pointed out to me that many will not walk into a room when prayer is being offered to God, but do not even give a second thought to walking into the same room when scripture is being read.  He asked if we thought our words to God were more sacred than His words to us.  Do we respect the word of God as we should?  When Ezra the priest read, we are told, “the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law” (Nehemiah 8:3).

“The Lord is in His holy temple: Let all the earth keep silence before Him; keep silence, keep silence, keep silence before Him” (Song: The Lord is in His Holy Temple by William J. Kirkpatrick)

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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