To you I will cry, YHWH my rock. Do not be silent to me, lest, if you are silent to me, I become like those who go down into the pit. Psalm 28:1
Pit – When God does not speak, I exist in a spiritual dungeon. It takes some deliberate concentration to discover this reality, hidden as it is behind the rat-race frenzy of the world’s quest for significance, but with a little prodding, the truth can be seen. When God is silent, creation is lost. Man does not live by bread alone. In fact, man cannot live by his own effort to produce regardless of his apparent success. He must have the word of God to survive. He must be confronted with God’s voice if he is to know himself. There must be an answer to his cry or he will find himself left in an empty cistern hewn from rock. If God does not speak, I will silently succumb to the grave.
The Bible declares that God speaks. In fact, our God creates all that is with the sound of His voice. He declares creation and it comes into being. God’s words are the hallmarks of His power. And yet, He need not shout His commands nor bellow His requests. In fact, after the howling of the storm, Elijah discovers that God is to be found in the silent voice (compare the word demamah in 1 Kings 19:12 with the same word in Job 4:16). All of my cries turn into God’s whispers. His silent voice is enough to revive me.
Why do I cry out to God? Why do I plead for His voice? I am alone, in the bottom of the well, imprisoned by my own existence, left to die the slow death of meaning attrition. Why do I need a word from God? Because only He knows why I live at all. Only He can lift me from the pit of my hopeless battle with myself. Only He can give me meaning beyond the walls that constrain me. I cry out because I know what it means to be trapped within. “Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” might have been David’s plea too. It is mine. It may be yours. Starvation of the soul is the pitiful condition of those who cannot hear God’s whisper after the storm.
It is an amazing and wonderful relief to discover that David’s psalm ends in jubilant praise for the God who does answer. He did not need to. Allow that thought to penetrate your hewn rock walls. God is under no moral, ethical or personal obligation to answer us. He chooses to, but not because we deserve His care. The great mystery of the Bible is that God meets us in our desperate battle with insane meaninglessness. The Biblical response to God’s act of sheer grace is the response of worship. It is awestruck expression of obedience to a God who makes us the object of His concern. The Bible is not an answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved (rescued)?” There is actually nothing I can do unless God first acts on my behalf. The Bible is an answer to the question “What does God demand of me?” How am I to live in front of a God who actually cares for me? Will I answer “Here I am?” Will I be ready to say “Your will not mine?” God hears my cry, but when He responds, I discover my plea has been converted into a question. It is the only question that really matters. It is the question that answers my cry.
Topical Index: cry, pit, silent, Psalm 28:1