Be Silent Before Him
BE SILENT BEFORE HIM Daniel Lange October 15, 2017 Amid all the hustle and bustle, the noise, and the screeching of vehicles passing us by daily, the voices heard through their radios, on the podcasts, and through their stereos; amid the books that are being written, the blogs that are being published, the pamphlets, and the business cards, the mailings and the billboard signs; amid the talk shows, and the news outlets, the televangelists, and the constant online streaming of Vimeos; amid all these voices, and all these words, and all these discussions, and all these debates, there is a Voice that is all too often being neglected, being unheard. It isn’t being heard in the vehicles, it isn’t being heard on the radios, it isn’t being heard on the talk shows, it isn’t being heard. The earth goes and it doesn’t stop, the earth speaks and it doesn’t listen. It’s not that word of God cannot be heard by man, but rather it is man who is constantly silencing the word of God. “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him,” says the prophet. Hab. 2:20 Yes, the Lord is in His holy temple… Let all the earth keep silence before Him! That is exactly where Jesus stands according to the gospel writers. He has cleansed His holy temple. Mat. 21:12-17 He has removed the thieves, and the liars, and the covetous, and the hypocrites, and now He stands in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him… There is “a time to speak,” like the wise man said, but then there is “a time to keep silence,” just like the wise man also said. Ecc. 3:7 I’m here to tell you today that when Jesus walks in to the chambers of His courts, let every judge, jury, and person in the room rise to their feet and be silent before Him. His word is not just another sound in the room. His word is not just another voice in the crowd. His word is not just another catch phrase on the billboard. His word is not just another. His word is The Word. He Himself is the Living and Powerful and sharper than any two-edged Sword, Word of God, piercing to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow. His Word can split in two the very inward part of man! He knows the thoughts and intents of man, and He speaks to them. Heb. 4:12 Like a nail that can be driven into the hidden framework behind the walls of your home, He Himself when He speaks, He speaks to that which lies behind the walls. He speaks to your thoughts. He speaks to your will. He speaks to your heart, and everything you are feeling right now and right here. Because He knows them, and there is nothing hidden from His sight. Heb. 4:13 Be Silent Before Him, All You Elitists Those of you who may be of an exclusive, high-up, special class, exalted above all the earth, yes you, even you, be silent before Him. Scripture tells us that when Jesus stood in His holy temple the “chief priests” sought to lay hands on Him. The chief priests consisted first of that ruling Jewish high priest at that time, along with the ex-high priests, and the members of those whose families were directly related to the high priests. That’s why you read about the high priests like Caiaphas and Annas always together in the Bible. Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas. John 18:13 And thanks to Herod and the Roman Governors, their office as High Priest was constantly changing every year. So, in turn all these High Priests just sort of stuck together and became a class of their own. They certainly didn’t like the idea of anyone having a voice above their own in their domain, especially from the likes of some poor Jew like Jesus. So they sent out spies to test and deliver Him to the authorities. Luke 20:19-26 Like they say, “Bird of the same feather flock together.” These elitists as they have now become known wanted to shut down Jesus. Elitists wanted to silence God. Are you trying to silence God, elitists, you feathers of a special color?! We all got a little bit of an elitist in us sometimes. Joseph’s father made him a robe of many colors, and apparently, Joseph wore it! All his brothers saw that his father loved him more than they. Gen. 37:1-11 It’s only natural that men would take pride standing in a place of special honor. While still in high school he was already named into the U.S. National Cycling Team. Four years later he won ten titles, including World Champion, and U.S. Pro Champion. Then after a devastating battle with cancer, he won not one, not two, not three, or four, or five or six, but seven consecutive titles in the Tour de France. Only to be found seven years later guilty of using illegal performance drugs. Lance Armstrong enjoyed all the benefits of standing on top of the Cycling World, but while succeeding in silencing his competition over a number of years, it would soon be him who was silenced. When you stand in a special position, a place of honor, a place up top, don’t you forget that there is still someone on top of you. When you stand head above shoulders over everyone else, don’t you forget that there is still one who is head over you. Husbands, your head over wife, but just remember, Christ is Head over you. Bosses, your head over your employees, but just remember, Christ is Boss over you. Parents, your head over your children, but just remember, God is your Father. Shepherds you may shepherd the church, but just remember, Jesus is the chief Shepherd over you. You might be able to silence wife, employee, child, even the church, but you can’t silence God. Remember your place. Be silent before Him. Be Silent Before Him, All You Conservatists The Pharisees remind us how being conservative can turn a sharp corner down the ugly road of conservatism, the extremism of being conservative. Their very name described them as separatists, but some have referred to them as “specifiers.” The Pharisees had the 39 scrolls of the Old Testament just like everyone else in their time, but by the time they were done with their work of interpretation and implicit specifications of the law, they had produced more than fifty volumes of mass regulations to which every faithful Jew was supposed to attend to. They were by definition the 21st century legalist living in the 1st century. But in their zeal for keeping the law, they were defined by hypocrisy. Even on this specific occasion where they would seek to condemn Jesus of paying allegiance to Rome, there they were aligning themselves with political interest groups like the Herodian faction, a group that had its allegiance to supporting Herod and his Edomite family’s rule in Palestine, an allegiance that required maintaining good standing with Roman Power. Straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel. The death nail of conservatism! Conservatives wanted to silence God. Putting a word where God has not spoken is just as evil and just as blasphemous and just as silencing of the voice of God’s word spoken as that which seeks to take it away. Paul said, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Cor. 2:2 Do not even think “beyond what is written”! 1 Cor. 4:6 “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4 “Brethren, I declare to you the gospel.” 1 Cor. 15:1 Paul, would you be willing to write for us an 800 page discourse on how you would interpret and further define some of the laws and regulations in the New Testament Covenant? We need to know if it is permissible for the unleavened bread to contain preservatives, and if we have to use one loaf or if we can use two loaves, and does it need to be broken at the table or can it be broken before the table, and what are the dimensions by the way for the table? Can the table be oak or can it be pine, or can it be birch? And how long do we have to stand at the table, ten minutes, or five minutes, or fifteen minutes? Oh yes, and please tell us about the singing, and specify to us the type of melody to be made, if it is to be classical, or more contemporary. And please specify to us also the version of the Bible the preacher must preach from, and how often he must preach from the letters, and from the gospels, and from the law, and from the prophets. And please, don’t forget to give us the details about the color of his suit. I have a pretty good idea of what Paul’s response would be… silence. But now, don’t think for a moment that anyone has forgotten about you, you who stand to the ult-left. Be Silent Before Him, All You Liberalists Scripture tells us that on the same day, the Sadducees also came to Jesus, testing Him in His holy temple. Not a great deal is known to us about the Sadducees, but what Scripture tells us of them is enough. They did not believe in a resurrection. They did not even believe in angels or spirits, according to our inspired historian. Acts 23:7 They did reject the fifty volume pages of the Pharisees rules and regulations, and claimed to hold to a strict observation of the Mosaic law alone, but as we can see from Jesus’ own words, the Scriptures they did not know, nor did they understand the power of God. They went to the extreme left, and failed to see the obvious implications of what Scripture did not expressly state. They thought that their supreme ideology of Scripture would also silence Jesus, and the threat of his prestige among the multitudes. Even the liberalists sought to silence God, because the fact of the matter was, Jesus’ teachings condemned their own. Failing to see the word where God has spoken, to live by it, teach it, and abide by it, is surely just as sinful, wrong, blasphemous, and silencing to God as inserting a word there where God has not spoken. Just as Jesus pointed out to these liberalists their failure to see the implications of a living God over Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob even after so many hundreds years had passed after their deaths, there are still too many obvious implications of God’s word not expressly stated, that are being silenced and ignored. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles… but solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Heb. 5:12, 14 Can we not see that when God says the disciples came together to break bread every first day of the week, He’s not talking about eating a common meal together. He’s speaking about the very same thing He described baptized believers doing after Pentecost, continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. Acts 2:42 He’s talking about an assembled worship that is feasting upon spiritual bread. That assembled worship taking place on the first day of the week. “But it doesn’t say every,” the liberalist shouts. But neither did God say “every,” regarding the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments. God’s people, by reason of exercising their minds, had enough sense to understand it was every Sabbath. They had enough sense to understand that if sexual immorality was wrong in body, then it was wrong in mind and heart. They had enough sense to understand that if it was wrong to worship the moon and the stars, then it was wrong to worship the stones and the trees. There is one more crowd though that we must not forget about. But they are not silencers of God. Rather, it is the inverse that is true about them. They are silent about Him. Be Not Silent About Him, All You Who Know the Truth Scripture tells us that a lawyer came afterwards, when Jesus had silenced the Sadducees and previous to that, the Pharisees, and indirectly of course, the Chief Priests. John Mark described this lawyer as a scribe. They were known in the Greek language as the nomikos, i.e. the teachers of the law. They were the professors so to speak. They were the ones in the schools of study, declaring and expounding before the people all the words of the law. The question that this scribe would ask Jesus was a simple one, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law.” The Jews had counted some 613 different commands in the Law of God. And the Jews understand, and rightfully so, that some laws were of greater principle and foundation, and other laws were subsets, fulfillments you might say of those greater laws. There is some evidence that Jews, especially Pharisees for example, saw every heavy and lighter law in equal terms of importance. Hence, the reason they felt justified giving all their money to God, as an excuse for not giving to their parents. There is evidence, however, that some felt the other way, but probably to the extreme also, that heavy laws had to be fulfilled, but lighter laws could be neglected altogether. Either way, Jesus was in a very sticky situation seemingly. But there is still more to this story than meets the eye. The scribes were not at a complete loss regarding this controversy. In Luke chapter ten, beginning in verse twenty-five, Luke records for us one instance during Jesus’ later Judean ministry another scribe who came and tested Jesus. The scribe asks the questions, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus turns the question around to him and asks him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (Note Jesus’ expectation for good interpretation, liberalists). The scribe replied with the same answer we find in the last week, “You shall love the Lord your God,” and Jesus also replied, “You have answered rightly.” Luke 10:25-37 Just like this scribe who knew the truth about this matter, so too did the scribe who stood before Jesus in the holy temple. Mark’s account in chapter twelve reveals the Scribe’s response to Jesus. “Well said,” said the scribe, “You have spoken the truth.” The point in all this is very simple, there are those who know the truth, but are not speaking it, and because they do not speak it, they are just as guilty of silencing God, as those who do not know the truth and speak lies. Paul said, “Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.” Eph. 4:25 If we speak not the truth, are we not just as guilty of lying? Are we not leaving those who live about us with something other than the truth of God’s word? How my friend, does that in grand scope of things, differ in any way from that of a lie? Are not both empty? Are not both without truth? Are not both a failure to provide entry into the kingdom of heaven? Are not both a neglect of our responsibility to lead others into the light? It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who was once famously quoted saying, “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” How many souls will find themselves in hellfire for an eternity, thinking not so much about the lie they followed, but about the friend they once had who knew the truth and was silent? Conclusion It is time now for Jesus to speak, and it is time now for every man, woman, and child to be silent. Jesus has a question for you. “What do you think about the Christ?” Many would acknowledge today of course that He is the coming one of the Old Testament. Yes, He is Jesus. Yes, He is the Son of God. But what does that mean to people today? There is something profound even in what Jesus says to those who were living in the first century. Jesus says of the Christ that David called Him, “Lord.” And yet, there was no greater authority living in Israel at the time than King David himself. Indeed, how then could David call Him, “Lord”?