Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
Have you ever felt that God was giving you the “silent treatment”? How should you respond when God seems distant?
Every one of us has dreams and goals in our heart. There are promises that we are standing on. May be you are believing for a breakthrough in your job, your career, your ministry, your child, breakthrough in your family etc. Deep down you know God has spoken that to you. But so often because it is taking a long time and you are not seeing any signs from God, you are getting discouraged. You ask, seek, and knock but God is quiet. On the other side, the devil is telling you that you are going to lose and you are trying your level best to hold on.
The reason many people do not see God’s promises come to pass is because they get discouraged and give up too soon. Just because you do not see anything does not mean that God is not working for you. Just because you cannot see what God is doing, that does not mean that God will not fulfil your promises. God is faithful to his word. All of his promises are yes and amen.
1. HUMAN RESPONSE TO GOD’S SILENCE.
Many times when we do not see anything in the natural we cry out in despair. We get disappointed and discouraged. People get confused which will eventually lead to doubt, guilt (Some people feel they have sinned), anger and fear. These are all signs of giving up in life.
Psalm 28:1-2 1To you, LORD, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. 2Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.
Habakkuk 1:2 How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!”but you do not save?
Men and women throughout the Bible voiced their disappointment when they felt heaven was silent. Here they are crying out to God because God is silent towards them. They could not see anything happening in their lives, they were getting fearful and losing hope.
I understand some of you are in your silent years in certain areas of your life. You are telling, “Lord I do not understand why I am going through this trouble. I do not know why my life has become like this. Lord, I cannot take this any longer.” You feel God is far away and are ready to give up your faith. In the natural David and Habakkuk were losing faith but if you really read their books further, they waited by faith and God lifted them.
When you come to the end of Psalm 28 David said:
Psalm 28:6-7 6Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. 7The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.
Habakkuk 3:17-18 17Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
When your promises are taking long, don’t give up, never lose your faith. God is right with you. God smiles at you seeing your faith, but devil smiles at you seeing your fear.
Do you know that God created you in your mother’s womb with his very own hands? There is nothing about you that is an accident. There is nothing about you that God is not proud of. There is nothing about you that God does not think is misplaced in life. Just because you are going through a trouble, just because you are not hearing from God, just because things are not working out does not mean that there is something wrong with you. God is at work in your life. He loves you. You are precious to him.
In the Bible we find many examples of God’s silence and whenever man felt God was quiet there were lessons to be learnt.
2 LESSONS FROM GOD’S SILENCE.
a. God is always at work. God always works in the background. The Israelites were in bondage in Egypt. They cried, they prayed to God but God was silent for a long time. They lived in Egypt for 430 years but the time between Joseph’s death and Exodus out of Egypt was the darkest period, almost 150 years. God was silent, they could not see God doing anything but in the background God was actually preparing a deliverer for them in Moses. God was always working in the background.
Today, maybe you are not able to see anything but God is working in your behalf unbeknownst to you. If you can open your spiritual eyes, you will see God moving things in your favour.
In the book of 2 Kings 6, the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by King Aram’s army for doing the work of God. When the servant of Elisha got up and went out early in the morning an army had surrounded the city. The servant was terrified and thought they were surely doomed. 2 Kings 6:15-17 The servant asked, “Oh, my Lord, what shall we do?” “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
When you go through those dark periods, you need to ask God to open your spiritual eyes; you will be able to see God’s work in the background. You are not alone. God and his mighty army is with you. God is at work in your life. He will never abandon you.
b. Silence reveals God’s glory. We know the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus had been with them many times. He spent time with them, he ate with them but when they needed Jesus the most they felt he was away. John 11:5-65Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
Lazarus was sick, he died, they buried him, dark days came across their family. Jesus was no where around but he knew what was happening back home because he is God. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! We know the story, Jesus came after 4 days, he wept with the sisters, walked to the grave and brought back Lazarus to life. The glory of the Lord Jesus Christ was revealed after the silent hour. Silence reveals God’s glory.
It did not happen as they expected. The miracle did not happen when they wanted it but it surely did happen. God does not abandon anyone who puts their trusts in him. Our breakthrough may not happen on our timetable, but God is a faithful God. It will happen; he will not let you down. That is what God said in Hebrews 13:5-6 Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what can mere mortals do to me?”
You need to let that sink down on the inside. God is saying, “I will not fail you. Everything is going to work out. I am in complete control. I know what the medical report says. I know your financial situation. I see the people that are against you. I know how big your dreams are but hear me clearly. I will not fail you. I will not let you down. I will not let that problem overtake you. I will cause you to be the over comer.” If you keep your trust in God in days of your silence, he will always make a way even though there is no way. I can see some of your wilderness blooming in my spiritual eyes by faith.
c. Silence follows human rebellion.
Sometimes God chooses to be silent to reveal us our sins. Saul was selected the first king of Israel. He was good initially, but he sinned in the battle against the Amalekites. Instead of destroying the enemy he took their best cattle. God confronted him through Prophet Samuel. Saul instead of repenting of his sins lied to the prophet and God rejected him as king. Later when the Philistines came to battle Israel, Saul started praying to God. 1 Samuel 28:6He enquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.
Saul was so desperate to hear from God that he consulted a spirit medium which eventually lead to Saul’s and his children’s death.
Sometimes sin and rebellion is followed by silence from God. Maybe God is silent to make us aware of our unconfessed sins. For some of us it is time to introspect and give careful thought to our ways.
3 HOW TO RESPOND WHEN GOD IS SILENT?
The life of Abraham is a great lesion for us. Abram believed and followed God but he never got a child that God promised him. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned to months, and months turned into years. It has been 10 years and still no sign of a child in his life. He found no answer to his prayer and obedience to God.
Sarai is in her mid 70s and Abram in his mid 80s. Time seems to be running out for a child but God is silent on the other end. Finally, they are trying to figure out their own ways to deal with the situation. Genesis 16:1-2 1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
Sarai loved Abram and knew he longed for a child. She decided to make a sacrifice no women would make. She responds with an idea of her own. Her idea did not come from prayer or from faith. It was a wrong step when God was silent in their lives.
When God is silent:
a. Consider your ways. Our idea can lead us away from God’s will.
Abraham should have prayed about this idea. He should have listened to God’s voice instead of his wife’s voice.
When God is silent be very careful on the steps you take. If you do not have a clear conviction in your heart, hold on. Always weigh the option that comes before you, place it before God’s presence and he will show you the way.
2. Be patient in Faith. God wants us to be patient until his promise is fulfilled.
Waiting for the promise Abram and Sarai grew impatient. He obliged to Sarai’s idea. In other words Sarai, Abraham, and Hagar were in agreement with this idea. Sarai thought she could build her life through Hagar. She thought when the plan materializes both she and her husband would be happy. Abram on the other end wanted his wife happy. Hagar thought her status would be uplifted in the house. They forgot that real joy comes from God. All the 3 thought they could build their life on other person’s expense. They were impatient waiting for the Lord and their plan terribly failed.
Genesis 16:3-4 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
Hagar conceived and what was conceived was a son of flesh, not from God. The news brought unrest to and tension into the house.
Once the problem started they started blaming each other. No one in the house was happy. Hagar despised Sarai. Sarai lashed out at Abram and blamed him for the mess. Abram turns the blame right back to Sarai. Very diplomatically Abram washed off his hands. Here, once a happy family has become a family full of anger, disappointment, and resentment all because they did not wait patiently for the Lord’s time.
Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. We do not serve a deaf God. He is hearing you, he is in control over everything. God’s delays are not denials. Even if God seems silent if we wait on him he will answer us in his time which is the perfect time for your miracle.
c. Depend on God.
Look at Abram and Sarai; when the natural ability to bear children was fading away by age they lost hope in the promises of God. They put their own ideas into action and they failed terribly.
God’s promises are not based on our natural capacity. Your future is not based on what you have or what you are right now. We know the story of Abraham, God gave them a son when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90. This is much beyond human thinking and imagination. There are many Isaac’s waiting to be born but in order for this miracle all what God needs is our inability and complete trust and faith in him.
Your miracle does not depend on your ability. Trust God’s timing. God knows what he is doing in your life. You may not always understand why things are taking a long time but sometimes God will delay an answer on purpose simply so he can show his power in a greater way.
If your breakthrough may be taking longer than you thought, it does not mean that God is not concerned about you anymore. If you cannot see answers to your prayers, it does not mean that God is not speaking to you. God is constantly speaking to us; only thing is we are not able to perceive it.
Job 33:14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it.
God is still speaking, many of us are not listening because we are so caught up in our pit. Now God is speaking to you. I will not leave you nor forsake you, so hold on.
Habakkuk 2:3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Wait for God. God is working on your behalf even when you cannot see him working for you.
Friends there are set times in your future. Now quit worrying about when it is going to happen. God can see the big picture. He knows what is best for you. We ought to say like David, “God my times are in your hand.” When you rely on God, it takes all pressures off you. You do not have to worry, try to force things to happen, you know God is in control, you can relax and enjoy your life while you are waiting for God’s promises to happen. Now if you enter into this rest, trusting God’s timing you will not give birth to Ishmael’s, you will give birth to Isaac’s.
Because you have faith and patience I am going to declare that you are going to receive set times of favour, set times of healing, set times of promotion, set times of breakthrough. God is going to give you the desires of your heart. Everything he has promised you will come to pass. In Jesus’ name, Amen!