When God Is Silent
Have you ever felt abandoned by God? If so, you’ll relate to Psalm 22. There, we can learn how to respond when our heavenly Father is silent in the midst of our adversity. Begin by reading the chapter.
A. Ask the Lord what He is doing (vv. 1-3).
In the psalm, King David wonders why the Lord stopped helping him as He once did. Jesus also quoted this psalm from the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).
From these two examples, it’s clear that our heavenly Father allows us to ask “why” during difficulty, although we shouldn’t expect Him to answer immediately every time. We must also be careful to maintain an attitude of humility and reverence for our Maker.
- Despite David’s frustration and discouragement, what does he affirm about the Lord (v. 3)?
If you are waiting through a time of silence or hardship, consider asking the Lord these questions:
- Are You trying to get my attention to tell me something
- Do I have any unconfessed sin?
- What do You want me to learn?
- How are You preparing me for Your purposes?
B. Remember His great works of deliverance (vv. 4-10).
Reflect on His faithfulness to others (vv. 4-5). Adam Clarke’s Commentary notes that David might have been at Mahanaim, where Jacob was blessed after wrestling with the angel (Gen. 32:24-32). It’s possible tht David alluded to this circumstance in order to strengthen his faith in the Lord: If I wrestle with God, may I not expect similar success?
- How does Psalm 105 show that the Almighty was gracious to Jacob’s descendants (Israel)?
- Do you know people who waited through a time of silence? Describe the Lord’s faithfulness in their lives.
C. Remember His faithfulness to you (vv. 9-10).
- For what does David thank the Lord? Paraphrase these verses.
- Using an example from your own life, describe a negative situation (or time of waiting) that the Lord ultimately used for good (Rom. 8:28).
D. Be honest with the Lord (vv. 6-18).
Since God is all-knowing, your feelings won’t surprise Him. Once you have openly expressed your heart to Him, you are more receptive to His encouragement, conviction, and comfort.
- At this point, the psalm shifts from God’s apparent unconcern to man’s contempt and reproach. Rephrase verses 6-7 in your own words.
- Describe a time when you felt depressed or worthless. How do you typically try to overcome those feelings?
Although this psalm was written by David, much of it can also apply to Christ’s experience of crucifixion. Compare the events of Matthew 27, John 18, and Luke 23 with verses 11-18.
According to Adam Clarke, bulls (v. 12) represent a brute strength that spears and crushes all opposition.
- To David, the animals represented those who tried to overthrow his government. What two types of leaders could be compared to bulls in the story of Christ’s crucifixion (Luke 22:66-23:25)?
E. Ask for God to intervene in your situation (vv. 19-21).
God is sovereign, and He already knows your difficulties as well as your desires. However, you can find great peace in laying your burdens at His feet.
- What does David ask for first (v. 19)?
- What does he fear (vv. 20-21)?
Before suffering on the cross, Jesus said, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).
- What can you learn about talking with God from Christ’s example?
F. Praise God in the midst of your struggle (vv. 22-31).
Praise has the ability to transform your attitude, even if your circumstances remain the same. Notice how David’s focus changes as he recounts God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and future triumph.
- Describe the contrast between David’s attitude in verse 1 and verse 24.
- What do verses 27-28 predict?
- Who will worship God, according to verse 29? Note: Those “that go down to the dust” are people on their deathbed.
Verses 26-31 describe the millennial reign of Christ. Here, the psalmist encourages himself by focusing on the big picture: God will eventually gain victory over evil.
Closing: When the Lord is silent, don’t stop praying. Praise Him in the midst of your struggle, and watch for His provision.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, sometimes I think You either aren’t listening or don’t care about my circumstances. Help me choose to praise You and remember that You use every situation for my ultimate good. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.