Thursday, November 13, 2008
Current Study: People Who Made a Difference
Today’s Topic: Sometimes God Is Silent
The park ranger was leading a group of hikers to a lookout tower in Yellowstone National Park. Along the way he pointed out some of the famous sites in the park. He was so intent on the stories he was telling, that he paid no attention when his two-way radio received a message. He turned it down. Later they stopped to look at some flowers and view some of the birds in nearby trees. Once again his radio distracted the ranger, so this time he turned it off. As the group neared the lookout tower they were met by a nearly breathless ranger who asked why the guide hadn’t responded to the messages on his radio. From their viewpoint, high in the tower, some other rangers had observed a large grizzly bear stalking the group. They had been trying desperately to warn the hikers.
Many times we are so involved in personal activities and pursuits in this life, we don’t pay attention to the voice of God trying to get through to us. Sometimes we turn down the volume. Sometimes we are distracted by other things and don’t hear Him. Sometimes we even turn Him off. But we must know this – God is always paying attention even when we aren’t, and He is trying to get through to us.
But what about those times when we are waiting to hear from Him and He is silent? If God were like me I could understand His silence – he is paying me back for all the times I chose not to listen. I am so thankful that He is not like me. His silence is never payback for inattentiveness. But His silence does have a purpose.
Today’s story of King Saul relates one of the reasons for God’s silence when we seek Him – SIN. In preparation for their last battle, the army of Israel had been directed by the King to not eat until after the fighting was over each day. The king’s own son, Jonathon, disobeyed that order. Even though the King’s order was poorly thought out and harmful to the soldiers, he was still the king, and God requires respect for authority. God wanted the sin exposed. So when Saul came to the Lord to inquire about the next move the army should make, God was silent. Saul knew immediately that the primary reason God removes Himself from any situation is because He will not work where sin is honored.
We must understand clearly that sin is not the only reason for the silence of God, but it should be the first place we look in our lives if He is silent. Here are some other examples from Scripture.
· King David said in Psalm 66:18, If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
· The Lord spoke to Ezekiel the prophet about Israel’s sin and said, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?
· Elihu, the friend of Job, said, He does not answer when men cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked.
· As Solomon begins the book of Proverbs, he warns his readers that there will be a consequence to rejecting the truth and living according to the desires of the flesh. He says, “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.
· Jesus, while on the cross and at the moment the sin of the world was placed upon Him, quoted the beginning of Psalm 22 which says, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? The next verse says, Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer.
When the sin of the world was placed on Jesus, God became silent. When we allow sin to remain unrepentant in our hearts, God will be silent when we seek Him. Again, there are other reasons He is silent at times, but this must be our first point of spiritual assessment when He is. So today, do an assessment of your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the sin in your life. Be ready to be honest and humbled. Then confess it, repent of it, and accept His forgiveness. You will hear from Him again.