God challenged Job. I like the way The Message puts verses 1 and 2. “God then confronted Job directly: ‘Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?” The thought of man hauling God off to court is not that far-fetched. How often do we question God accusingly asking him why this or that? Are we not hauling him off to court asking him to explain himself?
I like Job’s response in The Message: “I’m speechless, in awe – words fail me. I should never have opened my mouth! I’ve talked too much, way too much, I’m ready to shut up and listen.”
We can learn from Job. He decided to quit talking and listen. Proverbs 17:28 tells us, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue (NIV).” We would do well to stop talking and listen.
It is easy for our prayer time to be filled with talking, talking, talking and very little listening. We need to talk to God, and he asks us to do so, but if all we do is talk and never listen, then we miss the best part of prayer, the part that builds relationship. It reminds me of an elderly relative on my husband’s side who was infamous for cornering someone in one-sided conversations. At family gatherings, I did my best to stay out of her trap while still being congenial. I remember at our wedding, she cornered my unsuspecting mom. I looked up and there was my mom, trapped. Mom gave me a look that said, “Get over here.” I just smiled and waved. I wasn’t about to get ensnared on my wedding day. This lady’s incessant talking didn’t help her to make new friends. It actually drove others away.
True friendship is two-way. If we never stop to listen to God, then we can’t develop relationship with him. He does long to hear our pain, but he also wants to speak words of hope, peace, encouragement, guidance, and sometimes even discipline into our lives. He cannot do that if we spend all our time at the altar talking. We would do well to follow the words of Psalm 46:10a, “Be still and know that I am God” (NIV).