In youth group we have been teaching through Romans and reading through a chapter Micah each Wednesday. This past week we read Micah 2 and I was struck by a phrase in verse 12. God promises His people that He will gather them “like sheep in a fold, like a flock in a pasture, a noisy multitude of men.” It’s that last phrase that stuck out to me. A “noisy multitude of men.” I was talking with a friend recently who said “church work is messy.” (He works in a different church, far far away from wherever you are.) This got me to thinking.
God has gathered to himself a people who are a noisy mess! Let’s be honest, we are… aren’t we? Beyond the humor of the church being symbolized as one of the most helpless, half-witted creatures on earth: sheep, we are also sometimes privy to the view of what we look like from the outside. Here in Micah 2:12 that is: noisy. So let me just bring to light some of what is going on in my head at the moment. I don’t like noise. However, I used to. You see, I always had some sort of noise around me. A TV playing, a radio, a Walkman, a sibling yelling, a friend talking, etc… (Props to anyone who remembers Walkman!) The sound was a constant divergence to the things around me. It kept me from ever having to deal with the real issues going on in my soul. That is until my Dad passed away and we moved to a new house. My mom started to sit out on the back porch with some frequency. She would drink hot tea and watch the birds. It was quiet out there.
For a while I stayed inside and watched the normal every day lineup of reruns. Friends, Sinfield, etc… (you watched them too!) TV, Radio, Internet… any noise that would distract me from my soul. Then I began to realize that mom was on the back porch (I’m sad to say I can’t tell you when I noticed… like most teens I was so self-absorbed that it could have been a year before I realized her routine). So, one day I went to join her. Let me set the scene. Mom comes home from work, I’m lying on the couch, being a typical teenage boy hoping she doesn’t ask me to sweep or take out the trash. Ginny was in her room watching Sound of Music, interactive style. Now… just so you realize, mom is a whirlwind of activity… even to this day she is a whirlwind. She comes into the house lays down her bags, starts a pot of hot water, gets dinner going, goes to her room to change into jeans, picking things up in the midst of all this, comes back out into the living room, says hi to her silly teenage son on the couch, grabs her hot tea, opens the sliding glass door, shuts it behind herself and sits down with her cup of hot tea for about 20 minutes before going back inside to face the noise. She was sooo loud when she came home!
So one day I walked outside and there was no sound other than the wind and birds. I didn’t know I would like tea. So I sat with my mother and had hot tea. It was a peaceful moment in an otherwise fiercely noisy day. Our lives are generally a noisy mess. As a community we live in a noisy mess. Sometimes more mess than noise. In my mother, God taught me about noise. You see, God has something better for us than just aimless noise. He leads us to still waters, he restores our souls. (Psalm 23) We are a noisy mess, but He can be the back porch. On that porch God dealt with my noise. I learned to love being noisy for Him and I started to care less about the noises around me. So… now I don’t like the noise of this world. But, the noise God makes: AWESOME.
Now just to be careful, the noise that we make is not always a bad thing. In the 13th verse of Micah 2 the image is that of a King leading sheep as if he is a warrior and they are his army. He is the King who can deal with the noise and lead us to direct the noise the right way. A noisy mess of people following their King to battle! Oh that we could be a noisy mess that way!! Oh that we could terrify the world with the noisy power of the love of God that invades every painful crevice of this world! What a noise that would be! It seems to me that God wants us to make noise in this world. He wants us to stand up and be the noisy mess that challenges this life, the noise that shuts off entertainment and shallow nonsense for the sake of making a bigger noise for His Name. He calls us to make a noise for Him, to shout His name, and to watch the walls of oppression fall down. So… let’s make some noise… He will lead us to the back porch when necessary, let’s you and I make some noise for the Kingdom. (more on “how” later.)