A Psalm of David. Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
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.
C. J. Vaughan, Harrow Sermons, 2nd series, p. 283.
References: Psalm 28:1.—Bishop Woodford, Sermons on Subjects from the Old Testament, p. 118; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 185. Psalm 28:7.—Ibid., Sermons, vol. xxiv., No. 1423. Psalm 28:9.—Ibid., vol. xiii., No. 768; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 106. Psalm 29:1.—Expositor, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 310. Psalm 29:2.—A. Fletcher, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 329; Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 229. Psalm 29:5.—R. Roberts, My Late Ministry, p. 238. Psalm 29:9, Psalm 29:10.—J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Ascension Day to Trinity, p. 124; C. J. Vaughan, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxii., p. 209.
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.
Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.