Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Another version says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” 

I would translate the verse as, “Be quiet. Stop the busyness.  Listen to God!”

We assume wrongly that God always speaks through lightning bolts, burning bushes, or tongues of fire. When I hear God speak, His voice is quiet.  The key to hearing is not God speaking loudly but listening softly.

In a counseling session years ago, the participants were Pastor Grant, Wife, and Husband. We were discussing a huge financial mistake that the husband had made. The wife said that she had tried to warn her husband against dealing with a business partner. The husband said that he didn’t remember his wife saying anything.

Should the wife have spoken loudly or was it the husband’s responsibility to listen softly.

There is wisdom in listening. The Book of Proverbs contains at least 20 verses on listening softly.

My favorites:

Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail when you don’t listen, but there is success when you value the advice of others. (OGV)

Proverbs 28:26 A fool listens to the voice in his mind while wisdom is found by listening softly to others. (OGV)

Leaders often play tricks in their minds. They say that they want comments. They hold meetings and invite others to speak.  They pride themselves on their team.  But they aren’t listening.

Those who follow are aware of what can and can’t be said to their pastor, their boss, or their spouse. They speak with a soft nuance, meant to warn, but not too loud.  They need plausible denial.

The leader now claims, following a disaster of his or her making. “Nobody warned me.” Those surrounding think, “Yes we did.”

Rule #1 of Listening Softly:  You listen softly and don’t expect others to speak loudly.

Proverbs 19:20 reads, “Those who listen softly, building teams with honest conversation, gain wisdom for the future.”

Rule #2 of Listening Softly: You stay silent while others speak. You don’t need to have the last word in conversations.

Rule #3 of Listening Softly: You can make bold moves that others respect.  Your decisions will be respected (even if there is disagreement). Because you listen, your decisions are trusted and grace extended when you make mistakes.

Rule #4 of Listening Softly: You develop loyalty in others!  A great leader has even greater leaders walking alongside.