By Jimmy Tuten, Jr.
I. Background of the Psalm: Asaph, chief of the Levites assigned to the ministry of the praise before the Ark, by David (1 Chron. 16:4-5).
a. Announces the appearance of God “out of Zion” in judgment upon the wicked. Heaven and earth are called to witness (vv. 1, 4).
b. Twofold address:
1. Righteous exhorted to worship (vv. 14-15), and warned against too much trust in sacrifice (vv. 8-13).
2. Wicked are reproved for hypocrisy, hatred for instruction, sins in action and speech, and their base idea of the nature of God (vv. 16-21).
II. The thought that stands out in the address is that God has kept silent, but He will speak out!
a. Many sermons on “God hath spoken,” etc., but little said about the silence of God.
b. We know that when God speaks, things begin to happen. Natural laws began and ceased; by His word things were created (2 Pet. 3:5, 7; Heb. 11:3); by His word the dead shall be raised (1 Thess. 4:16).
I. God Has Spoken Unto Us Today (Heb. 1:12}-Inherent authority.
A. Christ-Authority given (Matt. 28:18). In fulfillment of prophesy (Deut. 18:18-19; Lk. 4:16-21). Hence, Jesus spake for God (Jn. 12:48-49).
B. Apostles-delegated authority. Promised the Spirit (Jn. 16:7-8, 13; 14:25), Commissioned (Matt. 28:18-20), and spoke (1 Cor. 2:12-13; Gal. 1:11-12).
1. Put into writing the New Testament (2 Pet. 3:1-2; 2 Thess. 2:15; Eph. 3:3-5).
2. Completely confirmed (Heb. 2:1-4), no more miracles (Jn. 20:30-31).
C. He now remains silent. Hence, there are “revealed” things and “secret” things (Deut. 29:29). Some things belong to God, and some to Man. Man is out of place in attempting to teach on , or about things God has not made known (Example: Wm. Miller and time of Christ’s Coming). He is not allowed to “go beyond the things that are written” (1 Cor. 4:6).
II. What The Silence of God Indicates:
A. The infallibility of the Scriptures (Jude 3). This is sufficient, no need for another. Stress “once” and “delivered.”
B. Infinite Wisdom. He speaks of authority, an, arguing parent or teacher has no control. When they speak, and hush, it is time to act!
C. Infinite Mercy (2 Pet. 3:9) cf. Psa. 50:21.
III. When God Remains Silent, Men Sin:
A. Offered bad sacrifice (Psa. 50:14-15); failed to keep vows (50:14); take covenant in their mouths (v. 16); think God to be as they are (v. 21); hate instruction (v. 17); become partakers with adulterers (v. 18); frame deceit (v. 19) and have hatred against brother (v. 20).
B. Men presume to speak for God: (Deut. 4:2). When God says nothing, man must keep silent (Heb. 7:14).
1. Moses spake nothing about priests being permitted from the tribe of Judah. God did not allow, nor permit it; he said nothing! We are not left to guess what is right. Silence does not give consent; hence, Jesus could not have served in the temple while living (Heb. 8:4).
a. Since God specified priests from the. tribe of Levi, and said nothing about the others, they were prohibited from so functioning.
b. It is this “prohibition of silence” that is taught in 1 Cor. 4:6.
2. Where the Scriptures stop, our practice should stop. We are to do what God teaches, not what He has not taught. But look what man has done:
a. Washing hands (Mk. 7:1-13). Erred in directing to God an act which he had not called for, thus they went beyond what was written.
b. Sprinkling babies—countless babies are christened (sprinkled with water) as a religious act each year, though the scriptures do not call for it.
c. Mechanical music-God tells us to sing (Col. 3:16), but is silent about instruments, just as he was silent about Judah. Not wrong as such, but in worship it is unauthorized.
d. Societies, Guilds and institutions-God specified only one organization for saints to function in the doing of the work of the Lord-the congregation (Act`s 14:23; Phil. 1:1; Rom. 16:16). Just as silent about these as Judah! Jesus spake nothing concerning human institutions.
e. Extend oversight of one eldership-God specified the work of elders to be over “the flock which is among you” (1 Pet. 5:1-4; Acts 20:28). When such supervision is broadened to include area-wide and nationwide functions requiring financing of many churches, it is going beyond that which is written. No examples in Scriptures of churches pooling resources under one eldership to do a general work for all.
Conclusion: Brethren, we must respect reverently what God has not said!
Truth Magazine XXII: 22, pp. 364-365
June 1, 1978