1 SAMUEL 14:36-37 – Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But He did not answer him that day.
THEME OF THE DAY. A VERY SAD SILENCE. We know the familiar idiom “Silence is golden.” It actually is part of an older proverb which reads, “Speech is silver and silence is golden.” When combined, we are enabled to see that in some situations and relationships if it is far better to be silent than to voice a word or two of opinion. Someone has said, “God gave us two ears and one tongue to show us it is far more important to listen than to talk.” And in many ways this is true. King Solomon wrote in his inspired wisdom book of Proverbs this warning, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Proverbs 10:19). So there is an important place in our lives for silence. We need it not only in our conversations but in our walks with the Lord. Silence is important for meditating upon His Word. Silence is necessary in our prayer lives. More often than not, we should be less talkative in our prayers and more silently waiting upon the Lord. However, there is a silence in association with our relationship with the Lord that is not good. It is a very sad silence and relates to our prayer lives.
In today’s scripture, Saul is battling the Philistines. His son Jonathan achieved a great victory over them and Saul is seeking wisdom and guidance from the Lord to finish them off. And the saddest, even most horrific words, that may ever have been said of a human being in relationship with God occurs – “And Saul inquired of God, ‘Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You give me into the hand of Israel?’ But He (the Lord) did not answer him that day.” God ignored Saul. Remember, this man had sinned grievously against the Lord by usurping the office of high priest earlier. Saul was finished as king. He presumed upon the Lord and suffered for it. And now, Saul is not in relationship with his God. There is no sweet communion of prayer. The Creator and creation are not on speaking terms so to speak. Shudder at the thought, believer. Though we will never experience the abandonment of God because of the glorious salvation and union we have in Christ, we can experience the painful and sad experience of a strained fellowship, a “no-joy” communion with God; a prayer life that is stale, routine, and lifeless. When these times of distant experience with God occur, there are multiple reasons, but here are two high on the list . . .
First, when our prayer lives lack real, felt, and enjoyable communion with the Lord, there may be undealt with sin in our lives. The Psalmist wrote, “If I regard, harbor, cherish iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not listen” (Psalm 66:18). Friends, if we are playing with sin, tolerating sin, or harboring ill feelings and thoughts toward another person, living in unreconciled relationships, and a host of other “acceptable sins”, we will meet a silent God. He will not give us the privilege of enjoying Him if sin is allowed in our lives – any sin.
Another cause of a lifeless prayer life is simply we don’t give ourselves over to unhurried and undistracted time in prayer to seek and hear God. David wrote, “You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek” (Psalm 27:8). Have we realized God loves us so much that He commands us to seek His face? Do we grasp that our greatest joy and satisfaction is found in seeking God’s face? And how do we seek His face? In His Word and prayer, and primarily through Word-guided prayer. God will be silent to us if we are silent toward Him.
Yes, silence is often golden but not always. May we not know the sad silence that comes from a God who, due to our sin and neglect, we have caused Him to be silent toward us.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to develop an intimate prayer life with You that brings me consistently close to You.”
QUOTE: “A prayer-less Christian is either a seriously backslidden Christian or perhaps not even a Christian.”