Last Sunday’s game between the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks was unlike any other because of Madison Square Garden’s decision to eliminate music, video, and in-game entertainment during the first half. 

Players, fans, and broadcasters weren’t quite sure how to handle this unfamiliar atmosphere since they’ve grown accustomed to loud music and lively entertainment while watching on court action.

Most of the feedback I heard was negative, but I love what Frank Isola from the New York Daily News tweeted: “No wonder it’s so quiet in here. Thank you NBA & Knicks. No bells & whistles, just basketball.”

I appreciate the idea to let everyone experience the game in its purest form because we often get caught up in everything else and ignore the simple sounds of the game.

 The music and videos drown out and distract us from what the players and coaches are saying and doing on the court, and as fans we typically miss out on these elements to their fullest extent.

This idea probably won’t catch on because people love to hear Justin Bieber songs, instead of the ball bouncing on the court, but I think we can still be challenged by the motives behind the arena’s decision on Sunday.

In our own lives, do we become distracted by the “bells & whistles” or the “music, video, and in-game entertainment” that surround us every day? How often do we really experience silence or life in it’s purest form?

More importantly, are we making sure we hear God’s voice or is He being drowned out by all of the other sounds and voices we’re listening to instead?

Psalm 29:3-4 (NLT) says, “The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.”

I believe God desires to speak to each of us, but we can’t clearly hear Him when other sounds are turned up so loud. Today, let’s be encouraged to eliminate the unnecessary noise, and actually listen to our loving Heavenly Father powerfully speak to our hearts. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I know You’re speaking to me all the time, and I pray that I would clearly hear Your voice above all the other noise. Please help me to eliminate the sounds I am listening to that are distracting me from Your powerful and majestic voice. Thank you for your willingness to speak. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.