When God Is Silent!

John M. Brown

There are many religious people who well understand that we are to speak where God has spoken (see 1 Peter 4:11), that we are to respect God's voice; but many fail to understand that we are to respect God's silence as well! This principle is found in many Bible passages, including the following:

1. Proverbs 30:5-6, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield to them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."

If we are not to add to God's Word, it is obvious, then, that we must speak what He has spoken and stop right there! We must not speak where He has not spoken, lest we be adding to what He has said. Adding to God's Word is a serious violation!

2. Deuteronomy 4:1-2, "Ye shall not add unto the words which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God."

Notice that just as we are not to take from God's revelation, so we are not to add to it; speaking where God has not spoken would be just such an addition.

3. Revelation 22:18-19. Here the warning is very plainly issued not to add to, nor take from, God's Word.

Can all not see that it is just as wrong to speak where God has been silent, as to be deaf where God has spoken? God condemned the people in Jeremiah's day for doing what He had not commanded, what He had not spoken, and what had not come into His mind (read Jeremiah 19:1-5). If the people then were guilty of disobeying God by doing what He had not spoken, would we not be guilty of disobeying God by doing the same today?

The command to build the ark of gopher wood forbids pine (Genesis 6:14). The command to offer Isaac forbids offering Ishmael (Genesis 22:2). The command to offer a lamb in the Passover meal forbids offering a pig (Exodus 12). The command to speak to the rock forbids smiting it (Numbers 20:7-12). The command to use unleavened bread and fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper forbids mashed potatoes and Pepsi (Luke 22:18-20). The command to sing forbids plucking, tooting, strumming, playing, banging, clicking, or blowing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).

If I were to receive a wedding invitation that told me the place, date, and time, the invitation would not have to include where the place is not, or when the date is not, or when the time is not. "Flatwoods church of Christ, Saturday, October 2, 2:30 p.m." forbids Lexington on Thursday night!

If I were to tell one of my sons, "Go cut the grass," and half-hour later I found him playing ball instead, his explanation that "Well, Dad, you didn't tell me not to play ball" wouldn't square very well at all!

If people can understand this principle in the natural realm, why can they not understand it in the religious realm? When God says how a thing is to be done, let us be content to do it God's way, and leave it at that!

Respect God's voice and His silence! -P.O. Box 871, Flatwoods, KY 41139.

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