A Deafening Silence
Ever felt completely removed from God's awareness? It's almost like you're standing at the bottom of a long stairway looking up, isn't it? The light is off, and even though you knock or call out for a response, nothing happens. No answer is heard. Not even a stir.
You're not alone. Many a soul struggles at this very moment with divine silence. And to make matters worse, it can grind on for days, weeks, even months. Following a calamity, the victim crawls out, cries out, and expects overnight relief . . . it doesn't come. A mate who has been there for years suddenly packs up and walks out. The one who is left alone to face what seem to be endless responsibilities turns to God for divine intervention, for His comforting reassurance, for His miraculous provision, only to be met with silence. That awful silence! Equally difficult is a lingering illness. No prayer seems to change anything. As the deafening silence continues from above, fever increases and pain intensifies below.
Believe it or not, Psalm 19—a grand song that directs our attention to the skies—has something to say about those anguishing times of silence on earth. The lyrics to this psalm of David fall naturally into two sections with a sharp line of division in the middle. So obvious is the dividing line that some have suggested the song was composed by two different people, each emphasizing a particular subject. I have confidence, however, that David composed the entire song and that his sudden shift in emphasis is deliberate.
The dividing line falls between verses 6 and 7. The first section (Psalm 19:1–6) deals with the world God has created. It describes in vivid fashion the fact that His creative work displays His power and His glory. The second section (19:7–13) deals with the truth God has communicated. It describes some of the benefits derived from the Scriptures as well as the discernment it can bring to one's personal life. The song concludes with a prayer (19:14). The composition as a whole brought David much-needed relief during the Lord's long silence and has given hope to many generations of people who have struggled through the grind of divine silence. Throughout the song, David reminds us that the Lord is not only close to His creatures, He cares for us as well. Here is an outline of the psalm.
The World God Has Created (19:1–6)
Overall Declaration (19:1–4)
- Consistent (19:1–2)
- Silent (19:3)
- Universal (19:4)
Specific Illustration—the Sun (19:4–6)
Appearance Described (19:4–5)
- ”strong man”
Activity Described (19:6)
- ”its rising”
- ”its circuit”
- ”its heat”
- Appearance Described (19:4–5)
- Overall Declaration (19:1–4)
The Truth God Has Communicated (19:7–13)
Its Presence among Us (19:7–9)
- Titles (five are given)
- Characteristics (six are given)
- Benefits (four are given)
Its Value to Us (19:10)
- Gold . . . fine gold
- Honey . . . honeycomb
Its Work within Us (19:11–13)
- Its Presence among Us (19:7–9)
- Closing prayer (19:14)
Psalm 19 has given hope to generations of people who have faced the grind of divine silence.
— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012).
Used with permission. All rights reserved.