"WHEN GOD STOPS SPEAKING"
And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.
And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answers me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that you may make known unto me what I shall do.
There is a time, we know not when, A point we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men To glory or despair.
There is a line by us unseen, That crosses every path,
The hidden boundary between God's patience and His wrath.
To pass that limit is to die, To die as if by stealth,
It does not quench the beaming eye, Or pale the glow of health.
The conscience may be still at ease, The spirits light and gay;
That which is pleasing still may please, And care be thrust away.
But on that forehead God has set, Indelibly a mark,
Unseen by man, for man as yet Is blind and in the dark.
And yet the doomed man's path below May bloom as Eden bloomed;
He did not, does not, will not know, Or feel that he is doomed.
He knows he feels that all is well, And every fear is calmed;
He lives, he dies, he wakes in hell, Not only doomed but damned.
Oh! where is that mysterious bourne, By which our path is crossed;
Beyond which, God Himself has sworn That he who goes is lost.
How far may we go on in sin? How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end and where begin The confines of despair?
An answer from the skies is sent; Ye that from God depart,
While it is called today, repent, And harden not your heart.
I. IT IS A TRAGIC DAY WHEN GOD QUITS SPEAKING TO A MAN.
A. Saul had come to that day when God had departed from him and was no longer speaking to him.
1. God had been so patient with him that he thought he could hear from God just any time he chose.
2. He did not realize that he had drifted out of range.
3. He had presumed upon God's grace once too often.
B. In Hebrews we are warned:
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let [them] slip.
For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him];
1. The words "let them slip" are elsewhere translated, we should drift away.
2. Drifting is almost imperceptible.
3. Because you are floating with the tide, and it is moving with you, you have no awareness of the fact that you are drifting, unless you have some fixed reference point to observe.
4. It is possible for you to drift so far, there is no way back. God quits striving with you, He no longer speaks to you.
C. God is under no obligation to save you.
1. Sometimes people act like they are doing God a favor by receiving His salvation.
2. They think that they can come at their own choosing and timing.
D. God said to Noah, "My Spirit will not always strive with man."
1. It is a blessing that God's Spirit strives with us at all.
2. But God is giving a warning, there is a limit to God's tolerance.
3. The prophet Jeremiah said:
Then the LORD said unto me, Pray not for this people for [their] good.
When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
4. They had come to the place where God was no longer speaking to them. The Spirit was no longer striving with them.
E. The Lord said to the prophet Hosea:
Ephraim [is] joined to idols: let him alone.
1. Ephraim had crossed the line, God will no longer plead with him.
2. Like King Saul, God is no longer speaking to him.
3. God had no further words of pleading for Ephraim, just let him alone, do not call on them any longer to repent. Just let them alone.
4. Some of you may be in danger of God saying that about you.
F. In Romans 1
Paul speaks of those who God had given up. He is no longer striving with them to receive His love.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections:
G. All that remains for that person with whom God is no longer speaking is what the writer of the book of Hebrews described as:
A certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose will be upon those who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and have counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
For we know him that has said, Vengeance [belongs] unto me, I will repay, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
II. WHY IS IT THAT GOD IS NOT SPEAKING TO HIM ANY LONGER?
A. He had turned a deaf ear to God too many times, and now God is turning a deaf ear to Him.
Because I have called, and you refused to respond; I have stretched out my hand, and you did not regard it;
But you have ignored all my counsel, and you would not obey my reproof:
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes;
When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish comes upon you.
Then you will call upon me, but I will not answer; you shall seek me early, but will not find me:
For that you hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
You would not obey my counsel: you despised all my reproof. 2. This was the exact case with Saul. He was self willed, he was notwilling to allow God to rule over his life.
B. The prophet Isaiah said:
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short, that He cannot save; neither is his ear heavy, that He cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.
C. The prophet Jeremiah spoke these words from the Lord.
Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods;
And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are free to do all these abominations?
Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I have seen [it], saith the LORD.
And now, because you have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spoke unto you, rising up early and speaking, but you heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;
Therefore I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, [even] the whole seed of Ephraim.
Therefore Jeremiah do not pray for this people, neither lift up prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.
1. Like Saul they had crossed over the line, they had gone too far.
2. Some of you are getting close to that line today.
a. You have heard the call of God many times. God has spoken to your heart, but you have put Him off.
b. You are determined to live your own life on your terms, and have rejected God from ruling over you.
c. There will come a day when you will be forced to call on Him, but you have no guarantee that He will answer. Why should He?
d. He has called you many times and you did not answer.
e. In that desperate day of trouble when you call upon Him, you had better hope that He does not say to you as He did to Israel:
You have forsaken me, and served other gods: therefore I will deliver you no more.
Go and cry to the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
3. The prophet Isaiah wrote to the people.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
a. You have no guarantee that He will be there for you when you really need Him.
b. Living, as we are, under the threat of terrorist attacks, I want the Lord to be there for me when I call.