Away, my unbelieving fear!
Fear shall in me no more have place;
My Saviour doth not yet appear,
He hides the brightness of his face;
But shall I therefore let him go,
And basely to the tempter yield?
No, in the strength of Jesus, no,
I never will give up my shield.
Although the vine its fruit deny,
Although the olive yield no oil,
The withering fig-trees droop and die,
The fields elude the tiller’s toil,
The empty stall no herd afford,
And perish all the bleating race,
Yet will I triumph in the Lord,-
The God of my salvation praise.
Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. Psalms 83:1
In Scripture there are three reasons why the Lord keeps silence when his people are in danger, and sits still when there is most need to give help and assistance. One is, the Lord doth it to try their faith, as we see clearly, Matthew 8:24, where it is said that our Lord Christ was asleep: “There arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.” We read more fully in Mark 4 and Luke 8, he left them, when the ship was covered with waves, and they were rowing for their lives, their Lord was asleep the while, and he said to them, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that you have no faith? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Truly, the Lord will not suffer his people to be over-whelmed, that is certain, but he will suffer them to come very near, that the waves cover them, and fear and horror shall cover their souls, and all to try their faith......2. I find another reason in Isaiah 59, and that is, the Lord doth keep silence in the midst of the troubles of his people, to try men’s uprightness, and discover who will stick to God, and his cause, and his people, out of uprightness of heart. For if God should always appear for his cause, God and his cause should have many favourites and friends; but sometimes God leaves his cause, and leaves his people, and leaves his gospel, and his ordinances to the wide world, to see who will plead for it and stick to it......3. There is a third reason: God, as it were, keeps silence in the midst of the greatest troubles, that he may, as it were, gather the wicked into one fagot, into one bundle, that they may be destroyed together. There is a great deal of ado to “gather the saints” in this world; and truly there is some ado to gather the wicked. So God withdraws himself from his people, yet he hath a hook within their hearts, he holds them up secretly by his Spirit, that they shall not leave him; yet the world shall not see but that God hath quite left them, and all their ordinances and his gospel and every thing; and there the wicked come together and insult, whereby God may come upon them at once, and destroy them, as we find ten nations in the Psalm. And so in Genesis, God stirs up the nations against Abraham and his posterity, and there are ten nations that God promised to cut off before Abraham at once, the Perizzites and the Jebuzites, and the Canaanites, etc....
Gualter [Walter] Cradock