The Silence of GOD
Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions about GOD is that HE is easily accessible. The truth is far the other way. Scripture testifies that GOD is only accessible at those places and during those times when HE wants to be. The only begotten Son revealed that His Father was hidden (MATTHEW 6:6). King Solomon said that GOD dwelt in the "thick darkness" (1 KINGS 8:12). The apostle Paul exclaimed that the GOD he declared was unknown (ACTS 17:23) and also wrote that HE was invisible (COLOSSIANS 1:15). The psalmist declared that GOD "made darkness his secret place" (PSALM 18:11) and again that HE dwelleth in a "secret place" (PSALM 91:1). Righteous Job lamented "Even today is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find him!" (JOB 23:2-3). Isaiah stated it most bluntly when he said "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself" (ISAIAH 45:15).
Can't be? Scripture is very clear. The god which religion has constructed for us is very different then HE whom Scripture reveals. The ways of GOD are generally hid from HIS creation. We can only understand HIS ways to the degree HE purposes to reveal them. As Yeshua (Jesus) told His disciples, "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand" (LUKE 8:10).
The secret knowledge of GOD is only acquired as GOD wills to reveal it. Unless HE initiates a revelation, man cannot understand HIS ways. When HE does choose to reveal HIMself unto some person, it is not necessarily HIS desire to be revealed unto others. Almighty GOD solely determines whom HE will be revealed to, and whom HE will remain hidden from.
Reviewing the ministry of our Lord we can see this principle often repeated. "Tell no man" echoes through the land as He ministered to Israel. When a leper came to Yeshua and besought Him to clean him of his leprosy, Yeshua consented and "put forth His hand and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean". Then Yeshua instructed him, "See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them" (MATTHEW 8:3-4). Instead of bringing the healed leper in front of the cameras for a testimony of His greatness, Yeshua instead sought to conceal the matter.
On a different occasion, Yeshua was questioning His disciples saying, "Whom do men say that I the son of man am?" They answered that some said He was John the Baptist, others said Elias, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. HE demanded of them, "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." One would have thought that now Jesus would have commanded His disciples to go tell the world that He was the long awaited Messiah. Rather, scripture states, "Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ" (MATTHEW 16:20). He straightly commanded Peter that it was GOD who had revealed this secret unto him but that he was not to reveal it unto others.
On another occasion, Yeshua took Peter, James and John with Him into an high mountain and was transfigured before them. They beheld many glorious things and even heard the voice of GOD "out of the cloud". However, when they returned from the mountain-top experience, Yeshua "charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead" (MARK 9:9). He had withdrawn from the multitude into the mountains with only these three disciples because it was GOD's will that only they experience the vision, of which they were commanded to tell no man. This experience was part of their fashioning. They were only to reveal it at the described time He had set forth.
At another time, Yeshua raised a ruler of the synagogue's twelve year old daughter from among the dead, after which "...her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done" (LUKE 8:56). Yeshua's ministry was certainly different than many of those we read about today. If some miracle or mighty work is accomplished in their ranks, they broadcast it far and wide that all the world might know. But here, Yeshua did not want those outside the pale to know what was going on within it. It has been said concerning the gospel, that we are to shout it from the mountain. From where is this doctrine? It issues forth mostly from our hymnals.
Lastly, Yeshua was brought before the governor that he might hear His defense. Here, one would have thought that Yeshua was given a grand opportunity to present His ministry before a great and powerful man. Instead, "...he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly" (MATTHEW 27:14). Instead of using this final opportunity to speak the word and perhaps convert this great ruler, Yeshua simply stood silent.
Once we come to grips with the reality that GOD is in hiding, we will begin to understand why so many people doubt HIS existence. How many times have we heard someone say, "If there is a god, why doesn't he show himself?" In one sense HE does. As Paul wrote the believers at Rome, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (ROMANS 1:20).
All of creation testifies to GOD's existence and even points towards HIM. Therefore, there is no excuse not to believe in GOD. However, how much of GOD's ways a person understands after that, is purely left to GOD's discretion. GOD's existence is plainly seen. It is HIS ways that are hidden and only revealed unto those of HIS choosing.
That said, Scripture encourages those who desire to know and understand to "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (MATTHEW 7:7). And again, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (JAMES 1:5). And finally, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" (EPHESIANS 3:17-19). Though GOD dwelleth in a secret place, there is a way by which we can discover HIS hidden ways. We can know that which passeth knowledge. But it must be at HIS calling, at HIS choosing.
Herein is the way made known. That way is faith. As James continued in his epistle from which we quoted above, "But let him ask in faith..." If you would have an answer from the silent GOD, you must ask in faith. And as we quoted Paul above, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith...". If we would know the love of GOD which passes knowledge, it must be by faith. As was long ago made known by the prophet of GOD, "....the just shall live by his faith" (HABAKKUK 2:4).
The way into life is only through faith. Of course this way is too simple for most to accept, as when Naaman came to Elisha to be cured of his leprosy. He had expected the man of GOD to perform some grand display of GOD's power. Instead, Elisha simply sent a messenger to tell him to go and wash in the river Jordan seven times and he will be clean (2 KINGS 5:10). The way unto GOD is only through faith which is simply learning to hear and then believing that which is heard. Having ears to hear and eyes to see.
Many cling to the false hope that the way unto GOD will be found at some grand religious festival where there is moving music and motivational teachings. They suppose that if they perform some act or speak in some unknown tongue that enlightenment will come upon them as it surely must be upon those occupying the stage. Others think enlightenment comes at the end of a mental maze discovered by only those who are clever and determined enough to figure it out. Yet many others think that the way unto GOD is within themselves or suppose that the way is through nature. However, the only true way unto GOD is through faith.
Some think that there is a particular place they need to be whereas to find the invisible GOD. Perhaps it is a mountain top, maybe an ivory temple in a distant land, or possibly down the street in some brick building designated, "The House of God". A few search for HIM in the occult, as King Saul did when he declared "God is departed from me, and answereth me no more". We must sigh and watch with sadness and despair at all the fruitless activity. A sobering statement by GOD is written by Moses in DEUTERONOMY, "And he [GOD] said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith" (DEUTERONOMY 32:20).
GOD hides HIS face from those who have no faith. To understand the ways of GOD and find HIS enlightenment, we must acquire faith. Scripture tells us that he who has no faith cannot please GOD. He that seeks to understand God must first acknowledge that HE exists, and then that HE is a rewarder of them that do diligently seek HIM (HEBREWS 11:6). It all commences when one comes to the awakening in his life where he actually believes that GOD exists. Then, as he diligently seeks to know his Creator, he is gradually rewarded with a greater awareness of GOD's ways.
JEREMIAH 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
GOD orchestrates HIS entire creation to exercise the heart of him who humbly seeks to know and understand. This is what faith is, this is how it works. We hear a little, and believing that little we progress along the way opening up before us. Then we hear a little more and believing that, we progress even further towards the next hearing. As Paul questioned the Galatians, "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (GALATIANS 3:2). Faith comes from hearing the word (ROMANS 10:17). Without the word there is no faith and without faith, we will not find the GOD who dwells in secret places. Upon HIS breath travels words that enlighten the eyes of our understanding that we may know; words that reveal to us HIS hidden ways.
DEUTERONOMY 30:10-14 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
There are two worlds wanting to be discovered. We must make choice between them. There are two ways calling unto us to follow. The hidden way is where the "goodness of GOD" leads, the other way is where the "wisdom of men" lead. One is a solitary path where only the believer and his LORD walk side by side, hand in hand. The other is a crowded byway where men are rushing to and fro not even knowing what it is they are chasing. The first path is the way of life to those that find it. Those that don't, simply continue in the way of death. As is reaffirmed in the PROVERBS, "The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead" (PROVERBS 21:16).
One path is the way of enlightenment while the other is the way of superstition. One is seen only by faith while the other is seen by sight. The unseen world is the world of resurrection, while the world which is seen is that of death and decay. One is HIS world with its spiritual kingdom, and the other is this world with its earthly kingdoms. If you want to find GOD, there is only one way you can go. The long and winding road of faith is where you must trod.
Yeshua revealed the way when He declared that He Himself, the living Word, was the way. It wasn't His person that was the way, but His words. You won't discover the way unto GOD by going to the Bible Lands and trotting up and down the hills He walked or down the streets where He is said to have went. Nor is the way unto GOD found by hanging a crucifix around your neck, or by kneeling before some statue that someone has imagined looks like our Lord. Nor was He telling us that we must experience death to be able to come unto the Father for HE declared, "Whither I go, ye cannot come" (JOHN 13:33). It is not through death that we are able to find the hidden Father, but through the words HIS Son spoke.