A Silent God
James Smith, 1856
"I kept silence." Psalm 50:21
Men sinned — but God was silent. He said nothing. He did nothing. He just let them go on. This is just as the Lord acts with many now. All they wish is to be left alone, to be allowed to have their own way; and the Lord by his providence says, "Well, I will leave you alone. I will let you have your own way." And then, men sin without remorse, without compunction, and without any visible display of God's displeasure. They go on hardening their hearts, searing their consciences, and increasing their condemnation. They reject the Bible. They speak against God. They trample his law under their feet. They sometimes think, if they do not say, "If there is a God, why doesn't he interfere with me? Why doesn't he punish me, and sinners like me?" Oh sinner, God will not punish you yet. He will bear long with you. He has much patience. He is slow to anger. He has no pleasure in the death of a sinner. But he is ready to forgive. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
He is a Father, and feels reluctant to punish his own offspring. He is a God of mercy, and would rather pardon — than punish. Therefore he silently looks on, and allows sinners to go on. He sees them sin against his law, his gospel, their own consciences, and the striving of his Spirit; and instead of at once sending them to Hell, to reap the due desert of their deeds — he keeps silence. He looks down from Heaven to see if they will seek after Him. To see if they will return and repent. But, alas! the great majority go on in sin. They harden each other in their iniquity. They stifle conscience with infidel objections, or drown it in the intoxicating cup. They stumble over the sins of professors, and pretend to judge the gospel by inconsistent professors, rather than by the life of its Author, or its consistent professors.
Man, are you living in sin? Do you swear? Do you spend your money at the beer-shop, and get drunk on the proceeds of your labor? Are you guilty of fornication? Do you read infidel books, and encourage infidel thoughts? Do you put away from you the day of judgment? God observes you! He knows all that is done by you, and all that passes within you — but, at present, he keeps silence.
A silent God often produces a silent conscience, and a silent conscience generates a false peace. Is this your case, reader? Can you sin without an inward accusation, an inward sting? You could not once. Your conscience is silent, and a silent conscience is one of the greatest curses! Remember, God will not always keep silence. He will speak by and bye. He will perhaps say to his messenger, death, "Cut that sinner down!" Then, with a stroke you shall fall. He may say, "Satan, convey that soul to Hell!" Then, in a few seconds you will be in that place of torment! He will call, "Arise, you dead, and come to judgment." Then, the dead, small and great, will stand before God. He will say, "Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them! Then, infidels will be bundled up with infidels; swearers will be bundled up with swearers; liars will be bundled up with liars; drunkards will be bundled up with drunkards; whoremongers will be bundled up with whoremongers. Every class of sinners will be bundled with those whose company they have chosen on earth. Then comes the sentence, "Cast them into the lake which burns with brimstone and fire!" Then, oh, then, an eternity of suffering follows. Conscience will slumber no more. The voice of God will be echoed eternally by the lost soul; Hell will appear to resound with the dreadful, the irrevocable sentence, "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?"
Reader, has God silently borne with you. Has he endured with much patience, your guilty conduct! Oh, if you should be a vessel of wrath, fitting yourself for destruction — then for you there shall be everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power! If you should! It may be so. Beware! Reflect upon your course and conduct!
Consider what God has spoken in his Word. Remember, there is a Savior now; one who can save you; one who is willing to fave you; one who invites you to approach him; one who promises that he will never cast you out; one who assures you that whoever believes on him shall have everlasting life. Listen to his Word, receive his invitation, believe his promise, put his assurance to the proof — and Heaven, with all its joys and glories, shall be yours! God will no longer be silent — but will "rejoice over you with joy, will rest in his love, and rejoice over you with singing."