No Words Necessary: The Silent Cry In the House of Religion

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of the Psalms, which is a compilation of prayers, praise and petition contained within psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters one-hundred through one-hundred and four of this Old Testament book. AN INVITATION TO WORSHIP! MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE! MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO THE LORD! SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS! COME BEFORE HIS PRESENCE WITH SINGING! KNOW THAT THE LORD HE IS GOD! ENTER INTO THIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING! ENTER INTO HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE! BE THANKFUL UNTO HIM! BLESS HIS NAME! MAKE! SERVE! COME! KNOW! ENTER! BE THANKFUL! BLESS! [KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN! KNOW OF WHOM YOU BELONG! KNOW WHOSE YOU ARE] JOYFUL NOISE! GLADNESS! SINGING! THANKSGIVING! PRAISE! IT IS HE THAT HATH MADE US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES! WE ARE HIS PEOPLE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE! THE LORD IS GOOD; HIS MERCY IS EVERLASTING! HIS TRUTH ENDURETH TO ALL GENERATIONS! I WILL SING! I WILL BEHAVE! I WILL WALK! I WILL SET! [I HAVE THE WORK OF THEM THAT TURN ASIDE; IT SHALL NOT CLEAVE TO ME] A FROWARD HEART SHALL DEPART FROM ME! [I WILL GUARD THE COMPANY I KEEP! I WILL BEWARE OF MY COMPANIONS! I WILL BE AWARE OF WHO MAY BE IN A POSITION TO INFLUENCE MY LIFE!] MINE EYES SHALL BE UPON THE FAITHFUL OF THE LAND, THAT THEY MAY DWELL WITH ME! [PSALM 1] [I WILL GUARD THE COMPANY I KEEP! WHO YOU WALK WITH CAN INFLUENCE YOU! WHO YOU WALK WITH CAN IMPACT YOUR LIFE! [A PRAYER FOR THE AFFLICTED WHEN HE IS OVERWHELMED, AND POURETH OUT HIS COMPLAINT BEFORE THE LORD] AFFLICTED & OVERWHELMED! POURING OUT YOUR COMPLAINT BEFORE THE LORD! IN THE DAY WHEN I AM IN TROUBLE! IN THE DAY WHEN I CALL! MY HEART IS SMITTEN! I HAVE EATEN ASHES LIKE BREAD, AND MINGLED MY DRINK WITH WEEPING! THOU HAST LIFTED ME UP, AND CAST ME DOWN! THOU, LORD, SHALT ENDURE FOR EVER; AND THY REMEMBRANCE UNTO ALL GENERATIONS! SO THE HEATHEN SHALL FEAR THE NAME OF THE LORD, AND ALL THE KINGS OF THE EARTH THY GLORY! WHEN THE LORD SHALL BUILD UP ZION, HE SHALL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY! HE WILL REGARD THE PRAYER OF THE DESTITUTE, AND NOT DESPISE THEIR PRAYER! [THIS SHALL BE WRITTEN FOR THE GENERATION TO COME: AND THE PEOPLE WHICH SHALL BE CREATED SHALL PRAISE THE LORD] HE HATH LOOKED DOWN FROM THE HEIGHT OF HIS SANCTUARY! FROM HEAVEN DID THE LORD BEHOLD THE EARTH! TO HEAR THE GROANING OF THE PRISONER! TO LOOSE THOSE THAT ARE APPOINTED TO DEATH! TO DECLARE THE NAME OF THE LORD IN ZION! [ISAIAH 61].

When you come to this particular set of psalms, the first thing you will notice is the wonderful and powerful invitation to worship before the living and eternal God. If there is one thing we must realize and recognize concerning the book of the Psalms, it’s that it is a powerful invitation to the saints and servants of the living God to enter into worship before and unto the LORD. In all reality, I would dare say that the entire poetic book of Psalms is essentially like the outer court of the Temple—that place where the nations of the earth could gather together with their gifts, their offerings, their tithes, and their sacrifices with which they come and appear before the LORD. The more I read the Old Testament book of the Psalms the more I come face to face with and encounter the awesome reality that it is a tremendous and beautiful invitation to come before the LORD with whatever you have to offer—regardless of whether or not it is a song, a prayer, a petition, a complaint, grief, anguish, sorrow, despair, suffering, hurt, pain, agony, anguish, rejoicing, singing, and the like. What we must realize and understand about the Old Testament book of Psalms is that it is an invitation to come before the LORD—not with our honesty, our vulnerability and our transparency, but to also come and appear before Him with whatever we have to offer. One of the most tragic realities facing countless men and women who enter into the sanctuary of the LORD is thinking that they have to come and appear before the LORD with singing, with a joyful noise, with rejoicing, with gladness, and the like. There are countless men and women who think and believe that they can and should only come and appear before the LORD with joy and gladness within their hearts, and as a direct result of this misconception and deception men and women have either avoided coming into the presence of the LORD altogether, or if they have come into the presence of the LORD, they feel the need to pretend, to act, and to put on a show before and in the sight of the living God. Such men and women feel as though they can only enter into the presence of the LORD, and can only be accepted by the LORD if they come with songs, with thanksgiving, and with joy in their hearts, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. We would be incredible naïve, remiss, and even deceived if we thought—even for a moment—that the only way we can come into the presence of the LORD is with singing, with praise, with worship, and with joy within our hearts and souls.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by the fact that there are countless men and women who are avoiding entering and coming into the presence of the LORD because they have been led to believe that the only way they can enter into His presence is with praise and worship. Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that God has never been afraid, nor has He ever been ashamed of honesty? Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that the living God has never been and will never be afraid of vulnerability before Him in His presence? What if I told you that the living God has never been and will never be afraid of transparency in His presence? I write these words and I am absolutely and completely convinced that our entrance into and our coming into the presence of the living and eternal God must be with an honest and sincere heart, and nothing more, and nothing less. We do ourselves a great disservice if and/or when we think that we need to have everything all together in order for us to enter into the presence of the LORD—and even to be accepted in His sight and presence. We put great stress and great strain on our relationship with the LORD—and even upon our heart and soul—if we think that the only way we can come before the LORD is with singing, with dancing, with rejoicing, with worship, with praise, with laughter, with worship, with joy and gladness, and cannot also come before Him in His presence with sorrow, with anguish, with despair, with frustration, with discouragement, with loneliness, with fear, with terror, with dread, with anxiety, with cares and burdens. We tend to think that in order to come into the presence of Almighty God we need to be prim and polished, and need to put our best foot forward, and always have a smile on our face. Oh dear brother, oh dear sisters—there is a great and inherent danger in thinking and believing this to be true. If and as you read the Old Testament book of the Psalms you can and will come face to face with the reality that not only can and does God handle our honesty, but God also desires above everything else our coming into His presence with whatever we have to offer Him. If all we have when entering into the presence of the LORD is a cry, then dear brother, dear sister—come into his presence with that cry. If all you have when entering into the presence of the LORD is a groan, then dear brother, dear sister—come into His presence with a groan. If all you have when entering into the presence of the LORD is is a complaint, then I strongly invite you to come into the presence of the LORD with that complaint. If all you have when entering into the presence of the LORD is anguish and sorrow, then please, according to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, come into the presence of the LORD with that anguish and sorrow.

COME JUST AS YOU ARE! The question I can’t help but find myself asking within my own heart and soul, as well as asking you who might be reading these words is whether or not you believe this. Do you within the very depths of your heart and soul truly believe that you can come into the presence of the LORD just as you are? Do you believe that you can come into the presence of the LORD without any need to pretend, to put on a show, or to be someone you are not? Do you trust that God can handle your honesty, and that you can truly enter into the divine presence of the living God just as you are without the need to hold anything back, and without the need to pretend as though you aren’t hurting, as though you aren’t broken, as though you aren’t confused, and even as though you aren’t angry, frustrated, upset, and the like? Would it surprise you think about the fact that your heart—in whatever condition it might be in—is and can still be a gift in the sight of the living God? We tend to think that our heart—even and especially if it is broken—cannot be offered before and unto the living God if it is wounded, if it is broken, if it is consumed with sorrow and pain. We have been taught to believe that if and/or when we enter into the presence of the LORD we need to always come with singing, with dancing, with rejoicing, with worship, and with praise, and that anything less is simply not acceptable in the sight of the the LORD our God. I have to admit to anyone who possible thinks and believes this to be true that nothing could be further from the truth, and to think about this particular reality would be to completely and utterly deny the power and message behind the four gospel narratives found at the outset of the New Testament. If you look at and examine the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find that more often than not those who entered into His presence came with their hurt, came with their need, came with their brokenness, came with their need, came with their cry, came with their prayer, their petition, and the like. Very rarely will you see and find any who would enter into the presence of Jesus who did not enter in with honesty, with sincerity, with vulnerability, and with transparency. In fact, I would dare say that more often than not during the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ those who entered into His presence did so with a plea, with a cry, and with a groan. Consider how many times within the four gospels those who were in need cried out to Jesus the Son of David to have mercy upon them. Think about how many men and women came unto Jesus and came into His presence with nothing more than a need and a cry. ENTERING INTO THE PRESENCE OF JESUS WITH A NEED AND A CRY! You cannot read the four gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ and not come face to face with the reality that most of those who entered into the divine presence of Jesus the Christ did so with a need and a cry.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE MOST POWERFUL THING YOU HAVE IS A CRY? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE ONLY GIFT YOU HAVE TO OFFER IS A BROKEN HEART? It’s almost as if we have forgotten the words which are found within the scriptures concerning the sacrifices and offerings which are truly pleasing to and in the sight of the living God—namely, a broken and a contrite spirit, and a broken heart. It’s almost as if we have forgotten that the very first beatitude Jesus spoke concerned those who were poor in spirit, for theirs was the kingdom of heaven. We tend to forget the fact that more than the blood of bulls, more than goats and sheep, and more than turtle doves and pigeons, the LORD is looking and has always been looking for broken hearts and a contrite spirit. We dare not and must not ignore the fact that there are times when we can’t enter into the presence of the living God whole and complete, but will enter into the presence of God broken and incomplete. There are times when we cannot enter into the presence of the LORD with anything but our broken heart, and within anything but our downcast soul. Anyone who would dare make any attempt to declare unto you that you cannot enter into the presence of the living God if and unless you are singing and rejoicing is a con artist, a liar, and a deceiver, and the truth is not in them at all. Those who would dare lead you down the path of believing that the only way to enter into the presence of the LORD is with gladness and joy in your heart is misguided, deceived, poor and wretched, and has a great need to truly read, examine and study the Scripture. As you read the four gospel narratives concerning the life and ministry of Jesus you will find that the only ones to ever enter into the presence of Jesus confidently, arrogantly, proud and boastful were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the chief priests, the elders and the scribes. The only ones who would dare enter into the divine presence of Jesus with anything but humility, with anything but brokenness, and with anything but worship would be those who were religious in their very nature, and those who were righteous in their own eyes, and those who pretended as though they had it all together. Oh, I can’t help but think about one of the greatest sins and tragedies of the religious leaders and system that was present during the days of Jesus was the Pharisees and the Sadducees pretended that they had it all together, and that they had absolutely no need for anything. You never found within any of the four gospel narratives a Pharisee, a Sadducee, nor a chief priest, scribe or elder coming into the presence of Jesus expressing their need for him. Perhaps the only exception was Jairus a ruler in the synagogue whose daughter lie sick and on the verge of death.

ONLY RELIGION THINKS THAT IT CANNOT ENTER THE PRESENCE OF JESUS UNLESS IT HAS EVERYTHING TOGETHER! One of the greatest lies of religion, one of the greatest lies of hypocrisy, and one of the greatest lies of legalism is thinking and believing that you somehow need to have your life put together, and need to have everything in line for you to enter into the presence of the LORD. In all reality, I would dare say that in the book of the Psalms we have an invitation to enter into worship before the LORD our God, however, we must recognize and understand that even our worship of the LORD can contain a cry, can contain a groan, can contain anguish, can contain sorrow, can contain distress and affliction. WHEN WORSHIP IS A CRY! WHEN WORSHIP IS A GROAN! We cannot and must not think and believe for a single moment that our worship before and unto the LORD our God needs to be absent any type of anguish, affliction, sorrow and grief within our heart and soul. If you read the entire book of the Psalms you will encounter and come face to face with the reality that there were times when the psalmists would indeed come into the presence of the LORD, yet they wouldn’t immediately come before Him, nor would they come into His presence with singing, but would come with a groan and with a cry. There are countless times within the psalm when before the song comes the cry, and before the praise comes the groan. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THE CRY COMES BEFORE THE SONG! THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THE GROAN COMES BEFORE THE PRAISE! WHEN THE SONG IS PRECEDED BY A CRY! WHEN PRAISE IS PRECEDED BY A GROAN! The more I read and the more I consider the words found within the Old Testament book of the Psalms the more I can’t help but encounter the truth that there are times within our hearts and lives when we can’t muster a song before the LORD, and we can’t truly enter into and worship the LORD, for the cry and the groan within our heart and soul is too great. Oh, what do you do when the cry and the groan within your soul is greater than your song? WHEN THE CRY IS GREATER THAN THE SONG! WHEN THE GROAN IS LOUDER THAN THE PRAISE! Oh, I can’t help but wonder how we would respond and how we would react if we entered into the sanctuary of the LORD and either heard, or witnessed someone who was truly pouring out their heart and unburdening their soul before the LORD. Could we truly handle the honesty, the vulnerability, and the transparency of those before and around us in the sanctuary of the LORD? I can’t help but be reminded of the narrative that is found in the Old Testament book of First Samuel. Within the first and opening chapter you will not only find one who was provoked by an adversary, and not only one whose heart and soul was greatly distressed and burdened, but one who entered into the sanctuary of the LORD and poured out their heart before the LORD, only to be considered drunk with wine. Consider if you will the following narrative beginning with the sixth verse of the first chapter:

“And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up h er womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why we-pest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons? So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no rasor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips m over, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli though she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be broken? Put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Elia answered, and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:6-17).

PROVOKED! MADE TO FRET! SHE WEPT! SHE WAS IN BITTERNESS OF SOUL! PRAYED UNTO THE LORD! WEPT SORE! CONTINUED PRAYING! SPOKE IN HER HEART! HER LIPS MOVED, BUT HER VOICE WAS NOT HEARD! OF A SORROWFUL SPIRIT! POURED OUT MY SOUL BEFORE THE LORD! OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF MY COMPLAINT AND GRIEF! If there is one thing I find so absolutely captivating about the narrative of Hannah, it’s that when she entered into the house of the LORD—she entered in with an abundance of grief and a sorrowful spirit, and yet she did not even open her mouth in the sanctuary and house of the LORD. Hannah entered into the house of the LORD and yet she made absolutely no sound, she made absolutely no noise, there was no sound that was heard from her lips, and yet she spoke to the LORD within and from her heart alone. It’s necessary for us to recognize and understand this particular reality, for it helps shine a great deal of light on to a reality we must understand about our own entrance into the sanctuary, and into the presence of the LORD. It’s necessary for us to understand that there are times when we enter into the presence of the LORD, and when we enter into and come in His presence we cannot make any sound with and from our lips because of the great sorrow, and the great anguish that is present within our hearts and our souls. Oh that we would recognize and understand that sometimes there is no language but a cry, and sometimes there is no language but a groan? Would you be surprised if I told you that crying is a universal language that can be understood in the natural, as well as in the spiritual? Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that crying is its own language in the sight and presence of the LORD? There are times when we enter into the presence of the LORD, and the only thing we can do is to weep, and to cry, and to mourn. There are times when we enter into the LORD, and the only thing we can do is to pour out our tears before the LORD and at the feet of Jesus. Do you want to know what so inspires and amazes me about the woman with the alabaster jar? What so amazes me about this woman is that Scripture never records her saying or speaking a single word in the presence of Jesus. The only language this woman spoke in the presence of Jesus was the language of tears, and the language of crying, and the language of humility and sorrow. If you take the time to read the narrative of the woman with the alabaster jar you will find that she spoke no word, made no petition, issued no prayer, and made no request of Jesus, and yet her actions spoke louder than any words, and the language she did spoke was louder than any amount of words could ever be. Consider if you will the narrative of this woman who entered into the presence of Jesus without a voice, without a cry, and without any words, and yet who spoke more in a single encounter than most of us would ever hope to:

“Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on His head, as he sat at meat. But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this o intent might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her” (Matthew 26:6-13).

“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very previous; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they. Murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and when soever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come a forehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her” (Mark 14:3-9).

“And one of the Pharisees desire him that he would eat with him And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had hidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” (Luke 7:36-50).

I am absolutely and completely inspired with and by the narrative of this woman, for in each of these three accounts we find her not speaking a single word in the house of the Pharisee, and even in the presence of Jesus. SPEAKING NO WORD IN THE HOUSE OF RELIGION! SPEAKING NO WORD IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS! What’s so incredibly challenging—and also quite shocking about this narrative is that this woman uttered not a single word in the presence of Jesus, nor in the presence of Simon the Pharisee, nor perhaps in the presence of those who were in the house. This woman entered into the house of religion to find Jesus, for she had heard how Jesus was in the house of religion, and she came not with words, but with an alabaster box which she broke at the feet of Jesus. This woman came not into the house of religion, nor into the presence of Jesus with any type of language other than the language of tears, the language of weeping, and the language of crying. This narrative is truly astonishing and remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for the words which are found within it reveal the incredibly powerful truth that it is possible for us to enter into the presence of Jesus, and yet enter into His presence with no words, with no language, with no prayers, with no petitions, with no complaints, and with nothing more than tears. The narrative of the woman with the alabaster box revealed something she had to bring into the presence of Jesus, and when she brought that into the presence of Jesus, she didn’t bring it alone, for she also brought into the presence of Jesus something that was far greater and far more powerful than anything that was in the alabaster jar—namely, the language of tears and the language of weeping. This woman brought an alabaster jar of very precious and very costly perfume and ointment, and yet what we must recognize and realize is that she brought something that was far more valuable, and something that was far more costly in the presence of Jesus than anything that was in that jar. This woman brought into the presence of Jesus in the house of religion the language of tears and the language of her heart, and that was what she truly and ultimately poured out at the feet of Jesus. This woman knelt behind Jesus—perhaps trembling as the woman with the issue of blood who had been healed did when she came up behind Jesus to be healed, and even when she came into the presence of Jesus after she had been healed. This woman knelt behind Jesus at His feet and anointed His feet with her tears, and proceeded to wipe them with the hairs of her head, and what those who were present there on this particular day witnessed was something that was far beyond their comprehension and understanding.

If there is one thing the narrative of Hannah, and the narrative of this woman in the house of religion reveals, it’s that it is possible to enter into the presence of the LORD with nothing more than a cry, and with nothing more than tears of anguish and sorrow, and actually speak and say more than if we actually uttered words from our mouths. Oh that we would recognize that sometimes the truest language is not that which proceeds out of our lips and out of our mouths, but that which proceeds out of our hearts and souls. I continue to believe that there are times when what comes forth out of our lips and out of our mouths isn’t the true picture and the true sense of who we are and what we are feeling, and we are being dishonest in the sight and a presence of the LORD. I am convinced that more often than not the greatest language that we can bring into the presence of the LORD is the language of our tears, and the language of our crying. The woman with the alabaster box entered into the house of religion, for she had heard of Jesus being present therein, and not only did she seek to find Jesus in the house of religion, but she sought to express herself in His presence in that place. What if the only language that can and should be truly heard in the house of religion is the language of tears and the language of crying? What if the only language that can be heard in the house of legalism and hypocrisy is the language of weeping and tears, for anything and everything else is superficial? What I love about the narrative of the woman with the alabaster box is that her entrance into this house of religion, and her actions in the house of religion cut like a knife through all the superficiality, all the religion, all the legalism, all the pride, all the arrogance, all the religious boasting, all the hypocrisy, and so much more. Jesus chose to enter into this house of religion, and Jesus chose to dine with this Pharisee—and perhaps other Pharisees—and this woman not only showed up uninvited, but also interrupted what I am sure this Pharisee had in mind. What’s more, is that it was a sinner who showed up in the house of religion to find Jesus and enter into His presence, and when she was in His presence she uttered no words, and undoubtedly didn’t make a single sound except for perhaps the sound of her crying and weeping at His feet. Please stop for a moment and think about this reality, as it has the ability to dramatically alter and shift your entire perspective of entering into and coming into the presence of Jesus, for there are too many times when we think that we need to come into His presence holy, and righteous, and perfect, and yet the narrative of this woman reveals how a sinner entered religion’s house to find Jesus and bow behind Him at His feet that she might freely weep in his presence and anoint his feet with her tears. This woman held nothing back, and offered every part of her there at the feet of Jesus in His presence in the house of religion as the language of her tears and the language of her weeping filled the house.

I sit here today and I can’t help but wonder what filled the house of religion more—the language of tears and the sound of weeping, or the aroma of the fragrant perfume and ointment that was poured out at the feet of Jesus. What is the greater element in the house of religion from a sinner who kneels and bows at the feet of Jesus and weeps uncontrollably, and allows her tears to flow down upon His feet? What do you say to the language of tears? What do you say to the language of weeping? Far too often, and far too many times we think and believe that we need words to speak when entering into the presence of Jesus, and yet the truth of the matter is that there are times when words aren’t necessary. There is an old adage that says “Preach always, and if necessary use words,” and I would like to adopt and adapt this phrase and when speaking about entering into the presence of Jesus, declare “Speak always, speak freely, and if necessary use words.” We get it all sorts of confused when we think that words are oftentimes the greatest and only language that is needed and accepted in the sight and presence of the living God. What would you say if I suggested that sometimes you have entered into the presence of the LORD and the words which have come forth from your mouth have been an affront to the language within your heart, as you have presented what you think the LORD wants to hear rather than what the LORD needs to hear? There is an unseen and unheard language of the heart that can only be discerned in the spiritual and supernatural realm, and is found in the midst of a groan, in the midst of a cry, and in the midst of a deep affliction and anguish of the soul. We must come to understand and recognize this language, for even when you come to the one-hundred and second psalm you will find the very heading of this psalm using the following words: “A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.” Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and tremendous reality, for it can and must radically transform and alter how you feel you need to enter and come into the presence of the LORD. We dare not think that there aren’t times within our lives when the only thing we can bring before and offer the LORD is a complaint, is a cry, is a groan, and is our tears and weeping. This woman who was a sinner and dared enter into the house of religion to weep before and in the presence of the Jesus said more through and with her tears than anyone would have said with their lips and with their mouth. Oh beloved, I continue to believe that more often than not our tears and our weeping is the single greatest language we have to come and appear before the LORD, and even the one-hundred and second chapter of the book of the Psalms describes that soul which is afflicted and overwhelmed and appear before the LORD to pour out their complaint before the LORD.

This woman who was a sinner and dared enter into the house of religion uninvited in order that she might find Jesus and express her longing, her desire, her humility, her brokenness, her tears, and her weeping perhaps wasn’t afflicted, but perhaps she felt overwhelmed—overwhelmed by her sin, overwhelmed by her guilt, overwhelmed by condemnation, overwhelmed with thoughts from her past. Even Simon the Pharisee is recorded as thinking within himself how if Jesus only knew what manner of woman this was He would have perhaps stopped her from engaging in this act before His feet. The text itself acknowledges the fact that this woman was indeed a sinner, and I would dare say and suggest that she perhaps was overwhelmed with and in her sin. Is it possible that the source of her tears, the source of her weeping, the source of her crying, the source of her sobbing in the house of religion at the feet of Jesus is because she—in her state of being overwhelmed—sought to find forgiveness. FINDING FORGIVENESS FOR SIN IN THE HOUSE OF RELIGION! Pause for a moment and consider the fact that when the narrative of this woman was finished and completed—not only did Jesus declare unto her that her sins were forgiven, but He also declared unto her that her faith had saved her. Stop and think about the fact that this woman found forgiveness for sins and salvation in the house of religion—and this despite the fact that Simon himself spoke within himself concerning what type of woman this was, and if Jesus knew what type of woman she was He would not have let her touch Him. The truth of the matter, however, is that Jesus did know what type of woman this was, and knowing what type of woman she was, He still allowed her to touch Him. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider this fact that Jesus did in fact know what type of woman this was, and He knew that she was a sinner, and not only did He allow her to touch Him, but He would also bestow upon her forgiveness and salvation. Moreover, Jesus would allow this woman who was a sinner to touch Him in the house of religion, and in the midst of touching Him in religion’s house this woman would find forgiveness and salvation for her sins. Even more than this, we find that this woman would leave the house of religion going forth in peace, as the final words which Jesus spoke unto her was to “go forth in peace.” Oh please don’t miss this, for before this woman left religion’s house after spending time in the presence of Jesus, she found forgiveness, she found salvation, and she found peace.

What a truly wonderful and astonishing reality is found in this narrative, and how greatly it reveals the truth that we can indeed enter into the presence of the living God completely and utterly broken, afflicted and overwhelmed, and we can not only find salvation, but we can also find peace. I absolutely love the narrative of this woman, for this woman uttered not a single word in the sight and presence of Jesus, nor in the house of religion, and the only language that was heard was the language of her heart, and the only sound that was heard was the sound of her weeping. THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART, THE SOUND OF WEEPING! This woman entered into religion’s house with no language but that of her heart, and with no sound but the sound of her weeping, and it was in that process and in that moment she found everything her heart longed for, and everything she was seeking. I would dare say this woman entered into religion’s house afflicted and overwhelmed with guilt, with shame, with condemnation, and the like, and upon leaving the feet of Jesus she found forgiveness, she found salvation, and she found peace. Please don’t quickly move past this reality, for it is one which we must truly understand and recognize within our hearts and lives, for it is possible to enter into the presence of the living God, and enter into the presence of Jesus the Christ, and enter with nothing more than a cry, a groan, and with our weeping, and before we leave the presence of the LORD we find everything we longed for, and everything we were seeking. It is possible to enter into the presence of the LORD, and into the presence of Jesus completely and utterly broken, and to speak no words and utter no speech, and yet Jesus hears our cry, He sees our tears, and He sees the condition of our heart and soul, and He responds accordingly before we leave and depart from His presence. Oh that we would recognize and understand the tremendous power of tears, and the tremendous power of weeping in the presence of the LORD, and the true language of the heart and soul within his presence. The narrative of this woman demonstrates the absolutely wonderful and beautiful reality that we c an enter into the presence of Jesus—even in the house of religion (perhaps the church or some body of believers)—and through nothing more than our tears, and nothing more than our weeping in the presence of Jesus find everything we have been looking for, and everything we have been seeking. I can’t help but wonder how many men and women might enter into the house of religion seeking Jesus, and upon finding Jesus express themselves in the deepest and most intense way possible through their tears, through their weeping, and through their anguish and travail.

Hannah was one who was not only afflicted and overwhelmed, but she was also provoked continually be her adversary, and when entering into the sanctuary of the LORD she uttered no speech, spoke no words, and made no sound with her lips, and yet she was heard by heaven. Hannah made no long prayer, used no poetic phrases and prose, and simply asked the LORD to remember her, and the LORD would hear her cry and respond but allowing her to conceive and bring forth a son. Even though Eli marked her mouth and saw her speaking but heard no sound coming from her lips and thought she was drunk, Hannah continued to reveal her deep anguish and her deep sorrow in the house of the LORD. Hannah was not ashamed, nor was she afraid of her emotions, and she did what was perhaps the only thing she knew and thought to do—namely, weep and cry out in the presence of the LORD. Hannah wept continually, yet this time she came into the sanctuary and perhaps decided she would take her tears, take her crying, take her weeping, take her affliction, and take her anguish and sorrow and present it to the LORD in His holy sanctuary. Oh I feel the great and tremendous need to once more emphatically declare that we would be incredibly naïve and deceived into thinking that the only language the LORD hears is the language of words and that which proceeds forth from our lips. We would be incredibly naïve to think and consider the fact that we need to utter long words and long speeches in the sight and presence of the LORD, and not realizing nor recognizing that the LORD already knows what we have need of, and what the burdens and cares that our upon our hearts. With this being said, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by Matthew concerning the words Jesus spoke, as well as the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Consider if you will the following words which are written and recorded in both of these passages concerning our speech before the LORD and in His presence:

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask kHIm. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:5-13).

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:31-34).

“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they considered not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7).

We would like to think, and we have been taught to believe that we need many words, and polished words when entering into the presence of the living God, and yet the underlying truth of the matter is that more often than not words aren’t even necessary. Jesus emphatically declared that the Father knows what we have need of before we even utter a word, and Solomon instructed us to be not rash or hasty with our words when entering into the presence of the LORD, and coming into His house. When we read the Old Testament book of the Psalms we encounter an invitation to honesty, an invitation to vulnerability, an invitation to be transparent, an invitation to be truly sincere with our words and our language in the sight and presence of the LORD our God. There is absolutely no need to hold anything back in the sight and presence of the LORD, for the LORD already knows what we have need of, and the LORD already knows what is troubling and burdening us. Hannah entered into the house of the LORD in Shiloh and completely and utterly unburdened her heart and soul before the LORD, and she opened not her mouth, nor made a single sound. The woman who was a sinner and dared enter into the house of religion uttered no word and made no sound save the sound of her weeping, and the sound of her sobbing in the presence of Jesus. Both women found everything their hearts and souls were looking for, and both women entered into the presence of the LORD with something they didn’t have, but desperately wanted. Hannah entered the sanctuary barren and unable to conceive, and yet the LORD would hear her cry and would open her womb. The woman who entered into the house of Simon did so a sinner overwhelmed with affliction, with guilt, with shame, and with condemnation, and yet she would leave forgiven, saved, and experiencing peace in the sight and presence of Jesus. What’s more, is that the woman who dared enter into religion’s house not only left the presence of Jesus forgiven, saved, and at pace, but she left the presence of the religious forgiven, saved and at peace within her heart and soul. Oh how absolutely wonderful and beautiful this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it. Both women would enter into the presence of the LORD and would utter no speech, speak no words. It is truly something worth being amazed and captivated by when we read the narrative of both of these women, and read how they both felt completely overwhelmed, and how they both found everything their hearts and souls longed for without uttering a single word in the presence of Jesus, and without uttering any speech before the LORD in His presence.

WHO TOLD YOU YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER? WHO TOLD YOU HAVE TO SING ALL THE TIME? WHO TOLD YOU YOU HAVE TO BE JOYFUL ALL THE TIME? WHO TOLD YOU YOU COULDN’T CRY? WHO TOLD YOU YOU COULDN’T BE BROKEN? WHO TOLD YOU YOU COULDN’T BE IN ANGUISH AND FULL OF SORROW? I sit here thinking about the language that is found in the Old Testament book of the psalms and I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the fact that this book—as much as it is it is an invitation to worship, and as much as it is an invitation to sing before the Lord, it is an open invitation to honesty and transparency before the Lord. Through the book of the Psalms we find that most of the authors had moments—perhaps days, perhaps weeks, and definitely seasons—when they suffered, when they were full of sorrow and anguish. There were those found within the book of the psalms who found themselves being completely and utterly overwhelmed by their present situation and circumstances, and the only thing they could do was cry out before the Lord. The if you want to something to challenge yourself, I invite you to look up how many times words such as “cry,” or “tears,” or “groaning,” or words along those lines are used within this poetic book. Do a study on how many times years and weeping are found within this book, and how many times the psalmist cried out in utter anguish and despair before the Lord. I am convinced you will be absolutely and completely amazed to find how many times the psalmist cried out before the Lord rather than singing and rejoicing. There were times when the psalmist could not do anything save cry and groan before the Lord. Time and time again you will find the psalmist pouring out their grief and their complaint before the Lord, and time and time again you find them doing the only thing they could do—perhaps the only thing they knew would make any difference—and that was to cry, to weep and to give themselves over to tears. TRY TEARS! I can’t help but sit here today and be completely overwhelmed with the fact that there are times within our lives when we feel completely and utterly overwhelmed, and no amount of singing, no amount of praying can make a difference within our lives. There are times within our lives when the only thing we are left to do, and the only thing we ought to do is give ourselves over to tears and to let our heart and soul do the talking. There is a great tragedy in thinking that we need to let our words and our mouths do all the talking, and yet we fail to realize and recognize that what is needed above everything else is our tears. More often than not it is the unspoken and silent language of the heart and soul that speaks the loudest, and that which the living and eternal God desires to hear more than anything else. I firmly believe that there are times when we thought the living God wanted to hear the words from our mouths, and yet that which He wanted to hear is the unspoken language from our heart and our soul. I am absolutely and completely convinced that tears, that weeping, that travail, that mourning and crying is the true language of the heart and the soul, and that which the living and eternal God truly desires to hear and listen to. Oh I would dare say the Lord is not as pleaded with your plethora of words, your poetic prose, and your polished phrases as He is the sincerity and honesty of your heart and soul.

The more I think about this reality, the more I can’t help but consider the narrative of the woman with the alabaster jar, and how she brought this precious and costly ointment into the presence of Jesus, and yet how even though she broke the jar itself, it was her herself that was broken. Even though a fragrant aroma was poured out and filled the room, it was her tears and the the language of her heart and soul that were poured out before the Lord. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the greatest treasure there in the house of religion wasn’t the ointment that was contained within the jar, for once that ointment was poured out and used it would never surface again. This was not so with her tears, nor with the true condition of her heart and soul, for there is not a doubt in my mind she remembered and would remember that day and that moment for the rest of her life. This woman was one who was completely overwhelmed in her sin, in her grief, in her sorrow, in her anguish and affliction, and she did the only thing she thought to do—namely, enter into the house of religion uninvited and interrupt the meal with the aroma of her ointment and the sound of her weeping. This woman uttered no speech, for words would have been too cheap. The greater worth and value in the house of religion and in the presence of Jesus was the sound of her tears and the sound of her weeping. She was even able to enter into the house of religion as a sinner, and would speak no word from her mouth, but only the sound of her weeping would be heard. Oh that we would get this within the depths of our spirit and within the depths of our soul. Oh that we would recognize and understand this, and truly understand it within our minds that we might be able to truly understand that which the Lord our God desires and what He is pleased with. If and as you read the words which are found written and recorded in the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will find that the words which are contained therein are a powerful and beautiful invitation to worship the LORD our God, however, one thing we must recognize and understand when reading this poetic book is that pouring out our heart and our soul in anguish, in sorrow, in distress, in despair, in agony, and in the midst of our being afflicted and overwhelmed is just as much worship as singing with joy and gladness within our hearts. There are times within our lives when the only thing we have to bring to the LORD is a broken heart and a downcast soul. There times within our lives when the only thing we can truly bring before and offer the LORD is simply our hurting, wounded and bleeding heart, and we must understand that if this is the only thing we have to offer the LORD when we enter into His presence, then it is okay, and there is absolutely no shame in that whatsoever.

In the Old Testament books of the Scripture known as the Pentateuch you will notice the LORD speaking unto Moses and instructing him concerning three times during the year when men were to come and appear before Him, and when speaking unto Moses concerning this truth, the LORD declared that no man should come and appear before Him empty-handed. Whenever man came and appeared before the LORD they were to always come with a gift and an offering in hand. It is important that we recognize and understand this absolutely wonderful reality, for we must recognize that when and as we enter and come into the divine presence of the LORD we are not to appear before Him empty-handed. Scripture speaks of entering the courts of the LORD with praise and into His gates with thanksgiving, and yet there are times when thanksgiving simply isn’t present within our hearts, and when praise isn’t found upon our lips. There are times within our lives when we feel so absolutely and completely overwhelmed and distressed that the only thing we have to offer and bring before the LORD is our complaint, is our frustration, is our brokenness, is our sorrow and our anguish. The Old Testament book of the Psalms is a wonderful invitation to the downcast soul, and to that heart that is broken and bleeding before and in the sight of the LORD to come boldly and confidently into His presence with whatever we have—even if what we have is simply our tears, our crying, and our weeping. The women who dared enter into religion’s house came uninvited and brought what was perhaps the greatest treasure she had to offer—even greater than the alabaster jar and the costly ointment that was contained inside. This woman who was a sinner came into religion’s house with this costly ointment and perfume, and she would consider it of little value to herself to count so dear that she would keep it for herself. I can’t help but wonder how long this woman had this alabaster jar of perfume, and if she was waiting for the right moment to use it, or the right occasion to use it, or perhaps even the right person to use it for. Scripture isn’t clear on what this ointment and perfume meant to the woman, however, we can be absolutely sure that this woman felt within the very depths of her heart, and very depths of her soul that this ointment ought to be brought into the presence of Jesus and offered at His feet in worship. Scripture is unclear what went through the heart and mind of this woman, however, we do know that the language of her heart and the language of her soul was heard by Jesus, and was heard in heaven. The ointment and perfume was needful for the burying of Jesus the Christ, but the tears which she cried weren’t at all about the burying of Jesus the Christ, but rather about the burying of her old self, and the burying of her old nature.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with and by the narrative of this woman, and how this woman entered into religion’s house a sinner, and she did so willing to risk being ridiculed, willing to risk being mocked, and willing to risk the stares and the side comments for one reason and one reason alone—namely, because she heard that Jesus was in the house, and sat at the table to sup with this Pharisee. This woman most likely entered into this house feeling completely out of place, for how does a sinner enter into—much less interact within a house of religion? This woman was willing to endure the stares, the comments, the ridicule, the mockery, and even the judgment and condemnation in the house of religion because she heard that Jesus was in the house. If Simon knew that this woman was a sinner, I would dare say that this woman herself knew that she was a sinner, and yet this sinner was willing to brave entering into religion’s house because there was someone in that house whom she needed to encounter. I can’t help but wonder what it was like as this woman entered into Simon’s house, and as she made her way to Jesus as no one but perhaps Jesus knew what her intentions and motives were. I have to admit that I commend and applaud this woman’s bravery and courage in entering into the house of religion that she might appear before Jesus, for she was willing to endure all the comments and the stares directed her way that she might be able to pour out her heart and her soul before the LORD. This woman made no confession of sin in the presence of the LORD, this woman uttered no speech in the presence of Jesus, this woman offered no poetic prose and polished phrases in religion’s house before Jesus, and yet what she spoke is something that so needs to be heard in the house of religion in this generation. I would imagine the entire house either grew silent as all eyes were upon this woman and her actions at the feet of Jesus, or if not perhaps completely silent—certain side comments that were spoken under the breath of those which were present. We know and understand the disciples murmured against the woman because they felt the breaking of the alabaster box and the pouring out of the ointment contained inside was a waste. We know that Simon thought within himself that if Jesus knew who this woman truly was—knew that she was a sinner—He would not have allowed her to touch Him. We know of at least the thoughts of Simon and the disciples, and yet I would imagine that aside from that this house was completely and utterly silent, as all eyes were upon this woman who was at the feet of Jesus weeping, as she anointed His feet with her tears, and as she dried His feet with her hair. What’s more, is that even when speaking unto Simon, Jesus emphatically declared that He entered into his house, and yet he offered no water for His feet, He greeted Him not with a kiss, and His poured no oil upon His head. This woman, however, entering into religion’s house—a house that was not her own, and perhaps a house she had no right or place being in—and she did for Jesus those things religion would not and did not do. Oh that we would truly see the beauty, and the wonder, and the splendor in this, for Jesus would speak directly unto the woman and declare unto her that her sins were forgiven, would declare unto her that her faith had saved her, and even instructed her to go forth in peace.

If there is one thing we must truly understand, and one thing we must recognize when reading the words which are found within the Old Testament book of the Psalms, it is that we cannot and must not be ashamed, nor be afraid to enter into the presence of the LORD with a cry, and with weeping and mourning. We dare not and should not be ashamed or afraid to enter into the presence of Jesus with nothing more than a groan within our heart and soul, for we might not be able to open our mouths in singing and worship before the LORD. Oh that we would understand that not every time we enter into the divine and holy presence of the LORD we can do so with joy and gladness within our hearts. The book of the Psalms is a wonderful invitation to worship before the true and living God, and yet we must understand that there are times within our lives when the only thing we have to offer before Him is our broken heart and out downcast soul. We must understand that there are times when the only thing we have to offer before and unto the LORD is the language of our heart and the language of our soul, for the language of our lips and the language of our mouth would simply be an affront and lie before and in the sight of the living God. Oh that we would truly be willing to enter into the presence of the LORD with full and complete honesty and transparency, and that we would hold nothing back as we pour out our heart and our soul completely and utterly before the LORD. The one-hundred and second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms is truly astonishing and wonderful, for what we find within it is the prayer of the afflicted when they are overwhelmed as they pour out their complaint before the LORD. Dear brother, dear sister—know of a certain that there is absolutely no shame with feeling afflicted and overwhelmed, and pouring out your heart and your soul before the LORD. There is absolutely no shame in pouring out your complaint before and in the presence of the LORD, for there are times when this is simply the only thing you have to offer. With this being said, we must understand that there is no shame with coming before the LORD with nothing more than a groan, for there are times when we simply can’t open our lips and open our mouth before the LORD because of how deeply and how greatly overwhelmed we feel in His presence. The Old Testament book of the Psalms is a wonderful invitation to not only come into the presence of the LORD, but to come unto the presence of the LORD just as we are without any hesitation and without any reservation. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely captivating and stirring reality, for if we truly get this within the depths of our heart and soul it grants us a great and wonderful freedom to be able to enter into the presence of Jesus and truly and deeply express ourselves before Him without any shame and without any fear.

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