When We Can't Hear God

Jon Burgess

5When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear.6He asked theLordwhat he should do, but theLordrefused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lotsor by the prophets.7Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.”
1 Samuel 28:5-7

King Saul had tried everything and nothing was working. The violent army of the Philistines was surrounding them and he knew they could not defeat them without God's help. How did he know this? The last time the Philistines threatened to destroy Israel God sent a young teen named David to take out Goliath and assure a victory no one saw coming. David is not with him this time on account of his trying to kill him all the time, so Saul is praying for another miracle, another sign, another way out of this mess! Saul, hoping for a mulligan tried every spiritual trick in the book. If God was a vault, Saul would find the combination to unlock His secrets. He tried asking God for a dream. Nothing. Who can sleep when your enemies are at your door. He asked the Priests to cast lots on his behalf. That came up empty. He begged the prophets to hear God for him. They had nothing to say. So what does he do when He can't hear God? He goes to talk to an enemy of God. The point of desperation Saul was at made the completely illogical seem highly plausible. "Samuel used to hear God for me. Maybe I can conjure him up through something I've outlawed in the land because it's a sin against God. Yes! This will totally work!" This moral and spiritual trainwreck was exactly that and simply confirmed what Samuel had told Saul in the flesh all those years before: 22Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23"For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king." 1 Samuel15:22-23 Saul had made the same mistake then that he made again. God isn't a vault to be unlocked, He is a King to be followed, a God to be obeyed, and Warrior to be trusted and obeyed. Saul didn't like waiting on God back then and quite honestly... neither do I.


When fear is in the driver's seat and panic is wreaking havoc with my faith I can often act as King Saul did. When I can't hear God's voice what other sources do I turn to for help? Do I ask my friends, do I call my family, do throw out Gideon's fleece in the hopes that God will answer? Could it be that I'm looking at this all wrong? It's not an issue of God not speaking. It's an issue of God not speaking when I want and what I want and how I want. Jesus said it this way, "15Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! 16“To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, 17‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance,so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’" (Mt. 11:15-16). We are like kids who don't like the answer their Mom gives them about sleeping over so they go to their Dad in the hopes of someone who will agree with them. This isn't about God's voice, it's about myears. This isn't about "What's God's Will?" as much as "Will I lay my will down?" This isn't about God's distance from me as much as my distance from Him. When all is well and my enemies aren't surrounding me do I still pursue a relationship with God. If not, then He's my divine vending machine, my holy vault with a combo lock I have to crack. If this is about my will and my way then I will go to any source at any time who will tell me what I want to hear. Sometimes, God will test my heart by not giving my the answer right away to see if I will simply and trust and wait on Him or move ahead with my own ludicrous way of solving a God-sized problem.


Forgive me for being like Saul instead of David when I can't hear Your voice. When I feel surrounded by my enemies and my will has plugged my ears let me come in this place:

1O God, whom I praise,
don’t stand silent and aloof...
21But deal well with me, O SovereignLord,
for the sake of your own reputation!
Rescue me
because you are so faithful and good.
22For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is full of pain...
29May my accusers be clothed with disgrace;
may their humiliation cover them like a cloak.
30But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord,
praising him to everyone.
31For he stands beside the needy,
ready to save them from those who condemn them. Psalm 109
Even when David couldn't hear You he made sure You could hear him. Even when his enemies surrounded him He knew You surrounded them. Even when He didn't know the way forward He found his way back to being clothed and covered and cared for by You. You are not an impersonal force to be coaxed with religious and incantations. You are the Sovereign Lord who has invited me to an eternal relationship with You. Let me never exchange the beauty of this connection with You for the quick, easy, expedient, or for those who will simply agree with my willful disobedience. If I want You alone I will wait on You alone!

Devotions for April 24

1 Samuel 28,29
Psalm 109
Matthew 11

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