The Silent Treatment

The Silent Treatment

Apr 21, 2016

by Pastor Scott Hausrath

Seventh Day Baptist Church

North Loup, NE

Has your spouse (or a close friend) ever given you “the silent treatment”? You know what I mean. Because that person is angry at you, or extremely frustrated with you, s/he decides to withdraw verbal communication from you. Of course we all know this is a very immature and counterproductive way to behave, but as long as there are humans there will be the silent treatment.

What about God? Does God ever give us the silent treatment? Some people say that He does. They say that, for whatever reason, sometimes God chooses to shut down His communication with us. Have you ever experienced this yourself?

My answer to the question is a definite “No.” No, God does not give us the silent treatment. There are many reasons I believe this, but let me share with you just three of them.

Man reaches up for help

First, there’s God’s written word, the Bible. As followers of Jesus Christ, we believe that God speaks to us through the words of Scripture. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Every time we read the Bible, God is actively speaking to us. We may not feel Him speaking as we’re reading, but that’s a moot point. God’s word is God’s word, whether we feel it or not. With this in mind, the question isn’t “Is God failing to speak to me?” The question is “Am I failing to listen to God?” God is never silent. Just open His word and see for yourself.

Second, there’s God’s creation. In Psalm 19:1-4, for example, David states that “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Let me challenge you to do this: find a patch of God’s creation, whether it be a patch of sky, a forest, an ocean, a mountain lake, or a desert. Take a solid hour and do two things: look and listen. As you’re looking at His creation, listen to what He’s telling you about Himself, about yourself, or about something else.

The apostle Paul also looked and listened. In Romans 1:20, he said that “since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” This is what theologians call “general revelation.” Wikipedia defines general revelation in this way: “In theology, general revelation, or natural revelation, refers to knowledge about God and spiritual matters, discovered through natural means, such as observation of nature (the physical universe), philosophy and reasoning.” God is never silent. Just step out into nature and see/hear for yourself.

Third, there’s an amazing gift that God has given us: eternal life. Not quite sure whether you have this life? The apostle John talks about it this way: “This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13) If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the one who died in your place, for your sins, then guess what: You have eternal life.

This begs the question, “What is eternal life?” Jesus answered this question very clearly when He was praying to His Father. He said to him, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Eternal life is knowing God. This makes sense, because the Bible teaches us about a God who wants to be known by His people. In fact, God has such a deep longing to connect with His people that He sacrificed His own Son to make this connection possible. If this is true, God would never hold back His communication from us, because in order for us to know God, we must hear from God.

We believe in and worship a God who longs to connect with His people. This God would never give us the silent treatment. Instead, He is constantly speaking to us, through His word, His creation, and in other ways. God is constantly reaching out to each of us. Are we reaching out to Him?

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