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September 10, 2019 1:00 am
Silence. I know some people love it. Others detested. I know there are some people who are not happy… All sorts of minorities and sounds and and it can't stand silence and then there are other who are the exact opposite.
They just long for solitude and silence. There are some who talk nonstop and the others who hardly say a word.
I understand that this issue of silence is probably not more problematic than you find it. Marriage relationship between husband and wife you find that the files one spouse is one way the other spouse is the opposite one likes to talk. One doesn't and so on and on and on, is like the wife was that there has been. He said why don't you talk to me while I'm knitting. He said now it's better for you to knit for me while I read. I really think that we all sympathize with the frustration that can come from those who exercise undue silence. No elbows flying fact that it about this lady who out of exasperation want to see a psychiatrist. She should she thought she really needs his help is that she would go session after session after session, and she would sit there and she talk and talk and talk and all that the psychiatrist was giving her is silence after watching got so exasperated and she got up and she said you know I don't know why I'm spending a fortune on coming to for counseling.
I would go home.
Save the money and be with my husband because he gives me just the same treatment.
Proverb said that silence is golden, but perhaps I need to hasten to say not always whenever we are given the silence treatment and we feel notice the word feel doesn't mean necessarily true, but we feel isolated and will feel confused and that's understandable in a marriage relationship. But here's the problem. We tend to take this same experience that same feeling with our relationship with the Lord and we misinterpret his silence when you don't hear from God and you feel that God is silent that you think that God is angry with your God is mad with your God.
God is giving you the silence treatment. I think many of us, if not all of us at some point have experienced the silence of God. I know I have and I remember many many years ago when God just was silent. The man I really need him to give me direction and guidance. I was so desperate for him, but God was silent. I remember clearly what Thomas said to God, I said if I don't hear from you all die. But, beloved, I want to share with you what I have learned from these experiences, God uses silence. Of course, God is always speaking to us through his word. I'm thinking that for granted. But when you're spraying specifically for a specific item for a specific issue and you feel that God is silent just like words.
They have meanings.
God uses silence for his redemptive purposes using the important thing is for us as believers to discern the purpose of God.
Silence in the situation were going through and to be able to do that you have to understand that at least I'm boiling them down to five times when God is silent five times if you taking notes on them speak little slowly so you can write them down because I believe even in the times when God is silent. He is working on your behalf is working on our behalf is working on buyback even when it is silent, even when you say what I can't hear your God why I can't get you to answer my prayer. God where are you the first silence of God is what I call the silence of judgment in first Samuel chapter 3 verse one I give you the background. Eli the priest is in charge of the tabernacle, but his two sons were running wild.
There were living in rebellion.
There were living in disobedience to God. And the problem is not just that but it was Eli who was acquiescing and not saying anything to them or not speaking to them in God out of judgment for that silence and the acquiescence of Eli. He stopped speaking until God raised a young man by the name of Samuel remember the story when Samuel kept coming back to Eliza.
Did you call me did you call me and said no and he knew in his heart that God is about to speak again and he said to him, Samuel, when you go back when you hear that voice again calling your name. Say speak Lord, your servant hears as Oracle. The silence of judgment.
In fact, Jesus used the silence of judgment when they brought this woman taken in adultery.
What did Jesus do. He was absolutely quiet. He didn't say anything. The Bible said that he just sat there and start writing something on the ground that some people think that he was writing the sins of the different leaders and the Pharisees were coming in a registered owner, but whatever he was doing.
He was silent and out of the judgment they felt so condemned that they began to take off one after another.
The second top of silence could be the silence of mercy notice on keep saying could be because I don't want to tackle so Michael said this. It could be the silence of mercy seat by saying nothing. Sometimes God is exercising mercy on us. It really is his exercising mercy to give us time to repent, to give us time to come under conviction to give us time to reflect on his incredible grace and mercy and love. So rather than God you thinking God is angry with you. God is mad with you he is not. He is giving you time to reflect is giving you time to relish in his mercy. You need to be grateful for that silence as a matter fact, Paul tells us in Romans two, eight said, don't confuse God. Silence of mercy with his tolerance of sin. Some people do what God didn't do anything must be okay now it's not just the silence of mercy without silence could be the silence of testing you know Job suffered like very few people have ever suffered or ever suffer.
I mean and I know and people going through tough time to go read Job and by the time they finish the exam and other have any problems. I mean this man lost everything in the pain and the suffering physical, emotional, spiritual. I mean, he was in absolute mass. But you know I want to submit to you that Job's greatest pain was that God would not answer him for a long time. Sometimes that silence is a silence of testing is like. Jesus said about the widow who kept on pounding on the door of the unjust judge. She kept on pounding on the door he wants to see how long we gotta persist in trusting him and keep on knocking and don't give up. The force silence could be the silence of waiting sometimes God waits. He waits until would become quiet so he can speak. We are constantly rising and running running running running running our mouths entrances. Okay I'm gonna wait until you come down so I can begin to do my work. I will explain this to. There is a difference between persevering, which is a silence of testing and the silence of waiting, which is ceasing to strive to know the difference between the two is our attitude. It really it is our attitude. Do we keep on asking out of absolute faith, unshakable faith that God will answer or are we keep on hammering away fearful that God will not answer that's the attitude that's the difference say like the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus in Matthew chapter 15 beginning at verse 21 to 28 she came to Jesus intercede on behalf of her daughter Jesus kept trying to change the subject. She goes back to it every time Jesus tried to distract the she goes back to it finally Jesus said why she would not be deterred in the fifth convinces the silence of love.
There are some occasions when words distract from a message. Did you know that often when God has no words of instruction for us.
It always has that in his word and the Scripture, but it's a times when were specifically praying about something or seeking God for something and when there is no word of instruction for us is that he wants us to rest in his love. That's why he's silent he want you to rest and have confidence on who he is what he has done for you that he died on the cross to redeem you to save your eternally and he wants you to rest in his love. Now want you to turn with me please to the word of God in Genesis 17, because the first thing you notice is that God has been silent for 13 years 13 years. We left Genesis 16 in the last message where Hagar came back to live with Abraham. It was Sarah and she was there for another 13 years because she come back a change woman God changed Abraham. He changed Sarah, he changed her.
God changed everything and so she comes in and therefore 13 years at the end of chapter 16 in the Genesis. The Bible tells us that Abraham was 86 years old. Between the age of 86 in Genesis 16 in the age of 99. In Genesis 17 there is absolutely nothing recorded in the Scripture.
There is nothing recorded in the word of God. 13 years of silence between Genesis 16 and Genesis 17. I'm so glad we got the whole Bible matter because remember back then they didn't. Don't ever forget that he didn't have the Scripture hear the word of God in our Bible teachers did not read your television program didn't have churches and fellowship in small groups and home groups where you can encourage one another and uplift one another didn't have any of that. But we don't know why those 13 years of silence, maybe because there was nothing important that was happening in those 13 years, we don't know or maybe because God wanted Abraham and Sarah's face to develop to such a degree that it becomes unshakable faith or maybe God was trying to imprint on their hearts and in the minds and the consequences of their impetuous sin of running ahead of God are not waiting for God or maybe God was trying to bring them to the end of themselves. Maybe God wanted to be sure that Abraham was still all that is seen as dead men, no matter how much younger the woman is anger and have children it's because he's 99 who could be because Abraham had grown to believe that all is well in his life with Ishmael. I think this is most likely the case because Olivia showed to hear from the Scripture. He basically thought well everything is going well with my life.
Everything is hunky-dory. I have gotten up, I got a son now that all the blessings will be on here Ishmael and and everything is fine and maybe God needed to wait until he can come in and shake Abraham out of his comfort zone. Please listen to me. Smooth waters in our lives don't necessarily always means that all is well with our relationship with the Lord. Conversely, problems and difficulties. Tough times when you feel the wind blowing in your face doesn't mean that God is angry with you. Be very careful, very careful.
Now these are circumstances and criterions by which we judge each other about which we deal with each other and unfortunately we take those same things and we impose upon God. But God doesn't work that way.
The reason I believe that Abraham placed all of his future hope on Ishmael and not on God's promise that he's going to give him a son through Sarah is found in verse 18 when we give your use of translation.
Ishmael will do all that Ishmael might be the one verse 19 I don't know how many times I've encountered God said again.
Read my lips again this is my translations not in the apartment.
Sarah is the one she is one is going to give your child because from the descendents of Sarah is gonna come my beloved son, the Messiah, and throughout the 2000 year history. People try to eliminate the people of God but God protected them because the sun is yet to be born in Bethlehem of Judea. God is saying to him. I want to shake you from your satisfaction with Ishmael. The Lord had to reorient Abraham to the powerful truth of his covenant, God had to reintroduce Abraham to how precise God is in his faithfulness with all of his promises. The Lord had to show Abraham that he is, is not work with the attitude will close enough is good enough. God doesn't work that way.
God is a God of precision meticulous precision approximation is good enough, not on we do that not God.
Our God is a God of precision.
So in a day on his 99th birthday's. The Lord appears to have her hair paid him a visit and beloved. This is the first time that God identified himself as El Shaddai can say that with me El Shaddai. This is the God of power and might, the God of power and might, what is God saying to Abraham and why he identified himself specifically as El Shaddai, as if to say to Abraham. Abraham I don't need you to improvise on my plan. I only need your obedience, Abraham, I don't need you to improve my image to society like so many preachers are trying to do today just about my word. Abraham I am fully able to fulfill all of my promises only need your acquiescence in our throughout the series of messages I had people ask questions when I talked the first of the series about how the covenant of God's covenant with Abraham was unilateral and how the covenant is eternal, and how this covenant is out of the graciousness of God and the question that was raised. What's our response was all part I see. Well, is like to take credit for something. Come on now God can do it all by himself, but you don't think that way, but other people do conservation take place without my cooperation with God as a set. I'm so glad that question was asked because I love to answer listen very carefully on the one hand, our God is a sovereign God. He's a God is in control. On one of my life versus one of the anchors in the Scripture, the verses that anchors me in the Scripture is Ephesians 111 that God accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will on the other hand, God demands our response in verse three God said, as for me I will I will I will in verse nine he said. As for you, you do this this another contrast here in chapter 7 God wanted to missed God said, I will seven times I will I will I will I will I will I will I will then he immediately says to Abraham, you must listen carefully, because there are some lazy Christians who use the teaching of the sovereignty of God. To mean that they sit on the Blessed assurance and do nothing for God. God will do it all manner that is a false belief in the sovereignty of God. When God said you must. Here's not saying that his covenant depends on Abraham's action, but rather his graciousness back then and now and always.
His graciousness always compels us to respond is it today in the New Testament times when God saves us he regenerates us he regenerates us now. God let anybody tell you that the spirit inside of you was in a coma or half-asleep or taking a nap. The Bible said it was dead dead dead dead.
And so the Holy Spirit has to come in and wake you up, raise you up first before he can justifies us he regenerates us he changes our hearts first. So we see all Lord, I am assuming I headed for hell for gourmet and responders love he regenerates us.
Then he justifies us. Spurgeon said if Grace does not make us differ from other men. It is not the grace which God gives to his elect, beloved, listen to me. If you are not living for God. If you are not loving God.
If you are not obeying the word of God. It could be an indication that you have never been regenerated. In fact, your obedience and your love for God and your love for his word is the only evidence that you have become born-again believer and I pray to God of his one person or two.
However, many and have not been generated, but you come here because God wants to have an encounter with you and God is speaking to you and he is saying I want to bring you to myself that you say here I am Lord here I am Lord and that is why God changed Abraham's name from Abraham, the father of many, to Abraham, the father of multitudes.
Please understand Abraham's obedience did not contribute to the covenant. Did you get that. Let me repeat it just in case Abraham's obedience did not contribute anything to the covenant that I get an amen. In fact, the opposite is true.
The opposite is true that cutting away of the flesh signifies that renouncing of human effort. The cutting away of the flesh signifies the renouncing of the work of the flash that renouncing of identifying with anyone else except Yahweh in many ways the Lord's supper is like that the Lord's supper is our testimony to the world that we believe we cannot save ourselves that only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. 2000 years ago. Can we be saved. It is our testimony to the world that we cannot live this life without his strength that we come to declare our dependence on Jesus, that we are declaring that we believe that we cannot go to heaven without the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
We cannot participate in the marriage supper of the lamp without the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Verse one of chapter 17 is really the key verse to the entire dialogue that has taken place between God and Abraham. I am else Shaddai walked blamelessly before me. What is it me, it means that God is asking Abraham and I believe with all my heart is asking everyone of us here today to trust in his words implicitly to trust in his promises unconditionally to trust in his plan completely. Trying to improve on God's plan.
But then he goes to 18 verse 18 insisted God. After gusset I will bless you I will do this I'll do this I'll do this consisted is my will do this blessing is already here until you get the 15 and 16.
And God really keeps hammering away keeps hammering away and final after that. Abraham gets it. Have you been in the situation where you trying to explain something to person and he did not get it or not, getting up another new truck. I know I experience it because I'm a poor communicator. I really am, and I try to do my best to not try to explain something a person is not getting is not getting is not getting it. And finally, all of a sudden, is all what you mean. This is what is happening here.
It's amazing how God responds to Abraham's request of living and small, be the one. He said that he saved one more time. As for Sarah Everett my friend.
What have you been trying to tell you this for the last 25 years I have, when will you get it that what I have. How can I make it clearer for you when you understand that Shaddai, the God of power and might, that on the God to whom nothing is impossible. I am the God of power and glory.
I am the God who clicked his fingers and zillions of galaxies began to dance in their places on the cards, who tells the rain to fall on the garden till the sun to shine on the God who tells the star to move with precision in their orbits when Abraham gets God is going to give him a sense for Sarah because that's how the seed in the singular, not the poor that the sun from the descendents of Isaac, and Jacob is going to be no other than the Messiah of the Lord Jesus Christ and billions of people throughout the world today identify with him and are blessed because that blessing that came to Abraham has gone through the seed of Abraham. Jesus I'm organized you to raise your hand. Because I'll be raising both hands in answer to the question how often do we settle for second best. When God longs to give us his best.
How often have we settled when God says don't settle. There are new territories to be conquered. For me there are new opportunities for serving me.
There are many souls to be one for me. There are new ministries to be accomplished with replete with replete with. Don't settle in your Christian walk commenced. Don't settle. As God said to Abraham, I'm gonna bless you and God.
Beloved, bless us individually.
Bless us as a church only for one purpose and that we might be a blessing to others. He doesn't bless us so we can form a plasma club whole Abraham. My blessing for you shall be so overwhelming for me that's for you. The blessings are going to flow to many, many, many generations, my beloved friend. The Bible makes it clear that God blesses us so that we might be a blessing me ask you, are you holding onto blessings so tight it almost ready to choke it your cuddling your blessings right you sharing with open hands open hearts is the thing I'm going to say to you as I'm getting ready to close.
If you are not experiencing an overwhelming blessings of God. It could be and I'm saying it could be.
I'm not making a statement on such a possibility. It could be because you have ceased to be a blessing to others. Be very careful. But I want to finally to notice verse 23 after God stop talking with Abraham and God left him with did Abraham say okay Lord, I'll do that in the buy-in by okay Lord, I'll do that next year or next month's okay Lord I will do this when things get easy things are rough right now. Okay Lord I'm going to do this when my circumstances change. Okay Lord I'm going to do this when times are appropriate now know the Bible said he immediately obey and circumcise his household to go back to where I started. You may be experiencing the silence of God right now you wondering what it could be because he wants to shake you out of your complacency out of your comfort zone and it is my prayer that you say Lord whatever it is you trying to say to me speak just like Sam Wilson speaker servant here's thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way. If you'd like to know more about us, please visit LTW.org@LTW.Ward