June 18, 2020 by Steven Lulich
If the Lord had not been my help,
My soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
Sometimes silence is golden. At the end of a long day, when the kids have been at each other’s throats and I’m at the end of my rope, when they finally fall asleep…. The silence is golden. When the barrage of sounds and noises in town and at work has worn me to a frazzle and I can’t think straight, when I finally get to sit on my deck in the early morning and just listen to the birds and the wind in the trees…. Yes, I know that’s not totally silent, but it’s peaceful, and it’s golden. When someone is irritating me and I want to cut them down with a biting remark, when I keep my mouth shut…. My silence is golden.
There are times when silence is appropriate, refreshing, and wise. But the one time when silence is never appropriate is when it is time to praise God. When God is present, we simply must shout – if we don’t, the very stones will do it for us (Luke 19:40)! We shout in praise because He is the Creator: “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:11). We shout in praise because He died for us: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12). We shout in praise because he is our salvation: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer … who is worthy to be praised” (Ps. 18:2-3, 2 Sam. 22:2-4).
Only the living have a voice with which to shout praises to God. Idols “have mouths, but do not speak” (Ps. 115:4-7, Ps. 135:15-17). “The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence” (Ps. 115:17). In fact, “If the Lord had not been my help, even my own soul would soon have lived in the land of silence” (Ps. 94:17), because “I am carnal, sold under sin”, and “to be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 7:14, 8:6, cf. 8:13). Only the living praise God, and if I am dead in my sins, I am excluded.
Sometimes silence is golden, but when it represents exclusion from the throne room of God and from the fellowship of the saints and angels shouting praises to God – in that condition, silence is dreadful.
“If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.” This verse contains two fundamental truths. First, without God’s personal and direct intervention, I would be among those “who go down into silence.” While God is worthy of praise, I am worthy of death. Second, God has intervened! Jesus Christ died so that I might not die, but have eternal life – so that I might eternally be among the living, with a voice that can shout praises to God.
But why wait for the life that only comes after death? At the end of a long day, when the kids have been at each other’s throats and you’re at the end of your rope, when they finally fall asleep…. Praise God for giving you a family and children. When the barrage of sounds and noises in town and at work has worn you to a frazzle and you can’t think straight, when you finally get to sit on your deck in the early morning and just listen to the birds and the wind in the trees…. Praise God for the opportunity to enjoy this time of refreshing. When someone is irritating you and you want to cut them down with a biting remark, when you keep your mouth shut…. Praise God for self-control, and praise Him for that person in your life. And when it gets too hard, when the struggles of this life become unbearable, and when the evils of this world overwhelm you, call on the name of the Lord – He will be your help.