God Did Not Answer Him

That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Micmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. Then someone said to Saul, "Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it."
      "You have broken faith," he said. "Roll a large stone over here at once." Then he said, "Go out among the men and tell them, 'Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.' "
      So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. Then Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first time he had done this.

Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive."
      "Do whatever seems best to you," they replied. But the priest said, "Let us inquire of God here."

So Saul asked God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel's hand?" But God did not answer him that day. 1 Samuel 14:31-37

You have to admit, there are some odd occurences in the Old Testament. This passage is one of them. The Israelites routed the Philistines. Someone told Saul that the men had eaten the meat and the blood. Then Saul built an altar to the Lord. Next when Saul is speaking to the Lord, the Bible says that "God did not answer him that day" even after Saul had built an altar to the Lord.

It's an odd passage because it seems disjointed. At first it seems as though Saul's men and Saul are in two completely different armies. Then it appears that Saul is trying to make amends with the Lord for the sins of his men. He offers a sacrifice, but hears nothing from God. It's not really clear what the silence from God means. Is God angry with Saul? Is He angry with Saul's men? What does the silence mean? We don't know.

What about us? When we try to hear God's voice and His will for our lives, and He is silent, what does it mean? Does it have to mean anything? You see, sometimes we think that God must be speaking to us all the time about stuff. And often we think that we've got to blurt out everything to God. Sometimes you just need to be comfortable sitting in silence in the presence of one another. Nobody needs to say a word. It's a healthy silence, one that we experience often in our relationships with others.

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