God the silent
Where oh where has God gone? Jeremiah uttered words that we moderns, even believers, have difficulty identifying with:
You have set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, to this day , and in Israel and among other men; and You have made Yourself a name , as it is this day (32:20)
You have made a name for Yourself? Of today's six billion people, barely a quarter worship the biblical God, and many of them restrict their worship to “the Jesus-Christ-version of God” while ignoring or even rejecting the “God of the Old Testament”. And as we showed in a recent editorial (Jesus and the Holy One of Israel), to reject the Old Testament God is tantamount to rejecting Jesus Christ! In short, hardly anybody today gives a passing thought to the Father of Jesus Christ, the One Who revealed Himself to Abraham, Moses, and the people of Israel. Yet it was He Who sent Jesus Christ, and of Whom Jesus said, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). Yet in Jeremiah's time this God, the one true God, was well-known among the nations. Most people were aware of His awesome power (Ps. 106:8). In those days He did mighty things, such as delivering Israel from Egypt through the most spectacular series of miracles ever seen. He sent prophets to foretell the fate of ancient nations, and then brought their predictions to pass. He was known and feared by many as a God who acted. Yet after the mighty miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, He fell silent. And so He has remained ever since.
That silence has led many to believe that He either never did exist in the first place, or that He has sunk into decrepitude and senility. As one writer puts it,
The "God is dead" movement, though no longer in the headlines, is itself far from dead; it reflects a profoundly felt consciousness among many honest and sensitive Christians that the sovereign God honored through many centuries of Western history has been deflated like a punctured beach ball. God no longer manifests a rule that claims the holy fear of modern men and women (The Suffering God)
Though once He brought the proud, prosperous, powerful nation of Egypt to its
knees, today He is totally silent. Followers of Jesus Christ know that Jesus' Father is not dead but lives. In faith, they submit to divine silence as an act of God in its own right. They recognize that God's silence today is as purposeful in His great plan for man as was His awesome intervention in the past. Believers are awed at His capacity to restrain Himself against all “temptation” to once again move mightily in the affairs of men. Perhaps it could be said that silence is one of God's greatest works! After all, He…
- is angry with the wicked every day (Ps. 7:11),
- feels the suffering of His children (Is. 63:9, Matt. 14:14), and yearns to bring them relief (Ps. 107:41),
- yearns to administer justice for all human beings (Is. 42:4),
- loves to bless human beings (Deut. 7:13),
- is zealous to see Jerusalem prosper (Zech 1:14),
- hates to see His followers ill-treated (Luke 18:1-7),
- desires all human beings to repent and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation (2 Peter 3:9).
If anything at all presents a challenge to God, surely it must be to remain silent. No, God is not dead, nor has He lost His potency. In His infinite Wisdom He knows that to remain silent today will work for our ultimate benefit, and in His infinite self-control He checks every temptation to break that silence. Until… Yes, until the moment is right:
Be silent , all flesh , before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation! (Zech 2:13).
I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once (Is. 42:14).
The trumpets will eventually sound, heralding the end of divine silence and the beginning of the new era of divine, hands-on involvement in the story of man (Rev. 8:7, etc). Then God's power and glory will be seen by all (Hab. 2:14). In the meantime, He is watching every one of us and monitoring our thoughts (Ps. 11:4-5). Don't let His silence lead you to despair. Those who love Him will be exalted. Wait patiently for Him.