When God is Silent
I have been reading a lot in the Old Testament recently and have been reminded that God expects people to do exactly what He says. Whether it was not eating fruit, Noah building the ark, Moses speaking to Pharaoh or constructing the tabernacle, or what the prophets were to tell the people – all of it was to be no more or no less than God told them. Frequently, they had questions or wanted to do something that God hadn’t revealed and they paused, did nothing, until God was consulted. And when they acted without asking God, without revelation, it usually brought disaster.
We must be very, very careful about saying things are right when God is silent in Scripture. Some argue that that was the Old Testament and that things are different, more lenient, under the New Covenant. However, tell me what you think these verses are saying…
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – Jn 8:31-32
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” – Jn 14:21
“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” – 2 Jn 9
God’s word is how He communicates with us. It moves us, it authorizes what we believe and do in service to God. God’s word tells us what He wants and thinks. First Corinthians 2:10-13 reminds us that the only way we can know the mind of God is if He reveals it through His Spirit, which He did through His apostles and inspired writers. We can have the “mind of Christ” (think like Him) when we accept those words (2:16).
The Scriptures were written so we can “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Th 5:21). If we can’t show that it is good in the eyes of God from Scripture, we must not “hold fast” to it (must not accept or do it).
It is common to hear people say things like, “Prove to me that it is wrong,” or “The Bible doesn’t say not to do that…” Although the Scriptures do tell us some things that are wrong, the primary approach of God is to tell us His will, to tell us what to do. That means, when God is completely silent about something, we must not claim to do it in His name. If we don’t know if something is right or wrong, we shouldn’t do it.
This comes up when we talk about the many innovations religious groups have brought into worship and church organization. These things aren’t approved of or even implied in Scripture. Is that a problem? Can we do anything we want and say it glorifies God? God says, “No!” He revealed His will in Scripture so we can know His will and do it – not so we’ll speculate and do whatever we want. dd