The Tender ‘Quietness’ of the Lord

Posted on August 19, 2019

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By David Ettinger

It must have been at least 25 years ago that I was reading the Book of Isaiah. I remember being somewhat ill at ease that evening, somewhat agitated. I’m not sure what had occurred earlier in the day to throw me off my game, but I was definitely out of sorts.

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Then, like finding a cool, refreshing watering hole in the middle of the desert (at the time, I lived on the edge of the desert in southern New Mexico), I came to this soothing and calming verse, and it was balm to my soul. Isaiah wrote: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (32:17).

It was the word “quietness” which arrested my attention as I felt the warmth of the Lord’s peace come over me. I read the verse several times, and kept coming back to that word “quietness.” Even now, 25 years later, this marvelous verse still consoles me, its warmth tempering my inner turmoil, its promise of eternal “quietness” a salve to my outer turbulence and tumult. I realized then that one of the greatest gifts God bestows upon His children is this tender quietness only He possesses.

The Context
The context of Isaiah Chapter 32 is the coming Millennial (1,000-year) Kingdom where Jesus will rule prior to ushering in the eternal state. Verses 1-8 speak glowingly of the Kingdom, but then the chapter takes a slight detour in verses 9 through 14. Here, the Lord denounces the wealthy women of Israel who live complacently, seeking only that which brings them pleasure, but caring not a whit for the things of God. The Lord warns of impending judgment in the face of such selfishness, and contrasts it with the wondrous joy which will define Christ’s millennial reign.

It will be an era replete with God’s justice and righteousness (v. 16), which will result in peace and quietness (v. 17), both as a governing rule on the earth, and in the hearts of every individual who belongs to the Lord Jesus.

The Word “Quietness”

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The English word “quietness” comes from the Hebrew word shaqat. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, shaqat means, “to be quiet and tranquil, to be at rest, to be undisturbed, to be at peace.” Shaqat comes from a Hebrew root word meaning “to repose, to be idle.”

We also see shaqat in Isaiah 30:15: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness [shaqat] and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Here, the Lord condemns faithless ancient Israel for rejecting the peace and restfulness of soul He so longed to give them. God sought for His people to repent, rest, and quietly trust in Him, but tragically, they “would have none of it.”

Job, who suffered terribly before God restored him, understood what it meant to be inhabited by God’s tender quietness, and tragically knew what it felt like to lose it. He cried out from the deepest recesses of his soul: “I have no peace, no quietness [shaqat]; I have no rest, but only turmoil” (Job 3:26).

In Psalm 94:12-13, we see the word shaqat interpreted as “relief” or “rest”: “Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord, the one you teach from your law; you grant them relief [shaqat] from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.”

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What I love about the last three verses above is that we see God’s “quietness,” His shaqat, as not only a governing rule of the Messianic Kingdom, but also a reality here and now for His children. And notice in the Psalm passage how God grants His shaqat in the very midst of these dark and sinful days, these “days of trouble.”

A Precious Gift
God’s tender quietness is a precious gift indeed. It is something He bestows on those made righteous by the blood of the Lamb that we may have inner peace and quiet – the Lord’s quiet – in these thunderous and tumultuous days. God’s shaqat is “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” of Philippians 4:7.

As this world continues to spiral out of control and draws nearer to a confrontation with its Creator, may the tender quietness of the Lord – His treasured shaqat – be ever more present in your life with each passing day.

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