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Bible Commentaries

The Church Pulpit Commentary

Psalms 28

Verse 1

A SILENT GOD

‘Be not silent to me.’

Psalms 28:1

I. The Psalmist used the words of the text in what we may describe as their lowest, their least alarming, sense.—His fears extended only to a temporary, an apparent, silence, to a want of comfort and of happiness, rather than an actual withdrawal of God’s love and grace. To be incapable of entering into the feeling expressed in the text—the dread of being deserted even temporarily by Him in Whom the soul lives, and moves, and has its being—implies that God is not as yet the object of all our affections, the centre of all our interests. If there are things which we dread more than God’s silence, there must be things which we desire more than the sound of His voice.

II. If God is sometimes silent to a true Christian, what is He to others?—Are there any to whom He is always silent? Absolutely silent indeed He is to no man. Outwardly His voice reaches all of us in His word, all men everywhere in His works. Inwardly, too, in conscience, He speaks to all. Thoughts accusing or else excusing—these too are of Him. But all these may be, and yet God, in the most serious and awful sense, may still be silent to us, and this in more ways than one. (1) A man may pray because it is his duty, but all the time he is silent to God, and God to him. His heart was silent, his spirit was silent, while his lips were uttering the words of prayer; and therefore God, Who looks on the heart and answers with His blessing no other prayer than that there uttered, heard no sound, and gave no response. (2) There is such a thing as a penal silence, a condition in which for our sins God has ceased to speak to us. (3) There is a silence which can never be broken, a silence which is the last, the eternal, punishment of sin, a silence which is itself the very pain and misery of hell.

—Dean Vaughan.

Illustration

‘The silences of God have been the problem of devout hearts in all ages. But silence is not denial; silence is not disregard; silence is not a sign of lack in love. God waits that He may be gracious. He is silent until the golden moment comes when He can speak with best effect. During the long spell of silence, which appears as though it would never be broken, He pours in His grace and help, that the expectant soul may be able still to endure.

There is another side, however, to God’s silence. We remember that Jesus said, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” From this we may gather that sometimes God’s silence is a tacit consent. When the great deep of the heart is broken up, and the instinctive yearnings of our nature assert themselves, crying for immortality; for the restoration of broken ties the other side of death; for the recognition of loved ones in the world to come; for the adjustment of injustice and misrule in the world—the fact that no answer comes from the infinite and unseen God may indicate that He will not fail to gratify the instincts which He Himself has implanted.

The psalm clears itself. Blessedness already steals into the singer’s soul. He says softly: I am helped; God hath heard; my heart greatly rejoiceth.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 28". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/psalms-28.html. 1876.