The further we are from God, the more He hides Himself from us for our own protection.
Now and then, He sends revival, and everyone is excited and on fire for a few days or weeks–a few years at best. But the glow inevitably wanes. When the traveling evangelist has gone on his way and the nightly prayer meetings have ended, our desire for the things of God dies away too, like the flames of a fire with no air flow. This falling away is no surprise to God; after all, He knows us better than we do.
When Israel was standing at the edge of the Promised Land, God warned Moses about this phenomenon.
Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. (Deuteronomy 31:16)
He also told them what would happen when they stopped following God’s instructions.
Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods. (Deuteronomy 31:17-18)
Fortunately, God didn’t leave it at that. He also gave Moses & Israel a tool to bring them back again:
Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel…And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness… (Deuteronomy 31:19,21)
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
For our own protection, for the preservation of our nation and our families, God wants us to read His instructions aloud for everyone to hear. He wants us to teach them to our children, talk about them regularly, surround ourselves with reminders of them. He wants us to sing them, because there are few mnemonics as powerful as song.
Always remember that God is One. He is never divided, and His Word always speaks in unison with His Spirit. When you feel like God is too far away, like you can no longer hear His Spirit, return to His Word.
We don’t read, study, and sing together just for fun or camaraderie, but to ensure that when we are ready, His words will be all around us. At that time, we will find that His Spirit and His written Word have been speaking to us all along. God is never silent, even if we can’t always hear Him. Not only that, but His creation always responds to Him. When we aren’t listening, even the rocks and trees are singing His praise.
How much better is the world when all of God’s creation, man, animal, plant, and mineral, sing in unison!