The Wrath of Silence (Matthew 10:14-15)

Photo by Guillaume de Germain on Unsplash

Jesus’ instructions to His disciples for pioneer missionary work is to go with the goers,   and to leave those who reject the Gospel preached to God’s wrath, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

That sounds harsh. But in the book of Romans, Paul declares that people have no excuse to reject the arrival of the Gospel, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” 

The preaching of the Gospel and the accompanying evidence of His Kingdom provided to those who have never heard or seen it before is the first glimmer of the coming Kingdom of God. It is a ray of hope. A light in the darkness that must not be ignored. Those who do ignore it are like those who shut their eyes when the first light of dawn breaks across the horizon. They do not want to wake up. They think themselves better off without the light. They desire to keep dreaming. It is to them a harsh and unwelcome reality to which they react poorly. Reacting physically to its presence, they do their level best to suppress the light.

God’s view is that the Gospel is so precious, and so many are perishing without it, that the limited time of those who have been prompted to carry it to new places must not be wasted. There are other fields that do not put up so much resistance. Resistance and suppression of the Gospel are legitimate gauges of one’s call to preach. Only those who know they have heard the voice of God telling them to stay, can stay. The rest must move on, but not before participating in God’s intention to pour out His wrath in judgment on those who refuse the free offer of His grace and forgiveness. 

That participation consists not of violence, but prophetic act. The plain, ordinary and  small act of shaking off dust from one’s feet. It is a silent signal, perhaps physically noted by no one except God alone. It is a sign to those who see it, and to Him a flare. For to them it signals the withdrawal of the Gospel, while to God, it signals where to pour forth His wrath. Not the wrath of his fiery anger, but the wrath of His withdrawal and silence. 

That is a far worse judgment than calamity, because calamity brings grief, and grief might bring about repentance. 

Silence and abandonment brings about only greater anguish of soul, as the wicked forsake repentance and instead work themselves into ever deeper pits of hopelessness and despair. Until the day they stand before His throne, and repentance is no longer an option.

When God is silent, and speaks not by His judgments, men think He is like themselves and are emboldened to sin; but when God thunders by His judgments, they have other apprehensions of Him.

William Greenhill

APPLICATION: Intentionality

When God is silent in prayer, He nevertheless speaks through His Word – so whatever you do, do not stop seeking His face. 

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