The Silence of God
Psalm 50:3
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.


1. Rise in the morning, and go forth to look upon the world as the light reveals it to the eye. You see the sun mounting to his throne of glory, dispensing, as he goes, life and warmth and beauty over all the habitable globe. All nature awakes at his approach. But though there is a very orchestra of subtile sounds — the song of birds, the hum of insect life, the sough of the swaying pines, the rustle of the dewy leaves — yet nowhere in field or forest, on the green earth or in the deep blue sky, do you hear the voice of the Deity. God keeps silence!

2. Go climb some lofty mountain, until you have the clouds beneath your feet, and the world spread out in grand panorama before you, river and plain, hill and valley, city and hamlet. You seem to breathe the pure air of heaven, and to stand under its cloudless dome. But neither in that blue arch above you, nor among those vast ranges of billowy mountains which encompass you, nor from those yet loftier snow-clad peaks which tower up to heaven, arrayed in their white robes for ever as the high priests of nature, do you hear any whisper or echo of the voice of the invisible God. The cataract thunders in the gorge, the mountain-brook babbles in the valley, the sad sea-waves chant their dirge along the shore, the hoarse thunder reverberates from peak to peak, but God keeps silence.

3. Picture some of the scenes of shameful revelry nightly enacted in such a city as this, when the licence and impiety of Belshazzar's feast are reproduced; when lips that were taught in infancy to lisp the name of God in prayer are made the instruments of ribaldry and blasphemy. Yet no handwriting on the wall rebukes the shameless revellers. God keeps silence!

4. Or, think of the deeds of wickedness daily wrought among men — "man's inhumanity to man," the heartless cruelty with which the strong prey upon the weak, "the oppressor's wrongs, the proud man's contumely," deceit and falsehood, trickery and hypocrisy, wrong and robbery. God keeps silence!


1. A spiritual being cannot be apprehended by the senses. The eye of flesh, the ear of flesh cannot perceive the invisible God. It is the soul which perceives, hears, apprehends Him. Faith in God must remain a moral act; it must be the result of moral considerations, not of the formulas of logic. The stream cannot rise above its source; and belief in God, which should be the result of a logical demonstration, would remain an act of the logical faculties, and would have no moral value. Moreover, if the being and attributes of God were so plainly exhibited in the visible universe as to preclude the possibility of a doubt, a necessary element of man's probation would be wanting.

2. The probationary character of human life. If God's presence and power and retributive justice were forced upon the attention of men, so that they could not escape the consciousness of it; if God's voice were ever sounding in their ears in warning; and if punishment followed swiftly upon transgression — men in that case would act as truly under compulsion as if bound hand and foot, and driven by the whip of the taskmaster. There might be obedience to the Divine law; but it would be enforced obedience, and hence its moral value would be gone.

(R. H. McKim, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.

WEB: Our God comes, and does not keep silent. A fire devours before him. It is very stormy around him.

Our God Shall Come
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