God's Silence, Saul & Samuel
This amazing conversation between Saul and the Spirit of Samuel tells us very much about what it means when God won't speak to us. It also shows that they expected God's response, and God's silence was NOT a good sign, it was a sign of trouble. Saul was listening for God, but not hearing Him, because he had left his first love, he was no longer focusing on pleasing God, he was no longer obeying what he knew God had told him to do. Are you listening for God's voice today? Read on and learn how to hear Him! First, here's the scripture: (the boldfacing is my emphasis.)
1 Samuel 28:6,15-18 (NIV)
6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.
15 Now Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" And Saul answered, "I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do."
16 Then Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy?
17 "And the Lord has done for Himself as he spoke by me. For the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, namely, David.
18 "Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord, nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.
Note how in verse 6, Saul does not get an answer. We take this for granted today, but they didn't. In fact, it was so rare, and so emotionally powerful to not get an answer, that Saul took drastic steps. Saul often "heard God" through dreams or through the priests, but not this time. So he consulted a medium, even though he had persecuted them. He wanted to have an answer, and if God wouldn't answer, Saul was going to find the dead Samuel, and have a medium call him up. Even had Saul not been king, it would be a drastic step, don't you think?
In verse 15, Saul admits his distress at God not answering. Again, this also shows us that people then expected God to answer! They didn't settle for God's silence as being normal, or expected. They knew that God heard them, and that God was NOT giving them the 'silent treatment'. Unless something was wrong. We'll get to that later, but the point here is that the "normal" response to prayer was an answer from God!
I get told that God no longer communicates to us except through what He wrote centuries ago, the Bible. I get told that the Bible is "THE Word of God". That's very true, but it is not the whole truth. According to the Bible, Jesus is the Word of God, so is anything that God or one of His Messenger's says.
Why have we stopped listening for "that still small voice"? Why are we unwilling to believe that God works through us directly?
Fear. Fear that He will tell us to become missionaries where we don't want to go. Fear that He will tell us to stop living a self-centered life and start living a God-centered life. Fear that we will misunderstand Him and get 'orders' which contradict scripture. Fear that Satan may start talking and we would be more confused.
The "Good News" is that perfect love casts out fear. The 'not-so-good' news is that we will still have some of that fear in our emotions, we just have to learn to overcome it. Courage is not the absence of fear, (if you are not scared, you do not need courage!) but courage is the overcoming of fear.
God Bless You!