Each year when I read chronologically through the Bible, the period of 400 years of silence makes me so sad. I’m always so ready to open the New Testament and hear his voice speak again. But I did not have to wait as the Israelites did.
The Old Testament ends with Malachi 4:5-6 telling us: “Look, I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Jesus is that promise of a second Elijah sent to save us.
But I cannot imagine hearing absolutely nothing from God for that long, especially after having had ongoing contact in the past through the prophets, They stopped hearing because they hadn’t believed God , nor the prophets through whom God spoke, but He WAS working. He worked through all the generations to develop the perfect genealogy that landed with Mary, and Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph.
The Father was setting up the eternal kingdom…the way to have peace with God on earth and for eternity. And when God spoke again, this time through the angel Gabriel, Mary was willing to believe and carry the Christ child.
I am in the middle of an advent study right now:
One lesson that gripped my heart deals with “Hope in Silence”. That day’s writer, Michelle Hicks, talks about all the changes that came during the years of silence: the various nations that conquered and ruled over the Israelites; the various types of cultures customs, and languages they had to adapt to during that time. She also shares a story of Hanukkah and the menorah that stayed miraculously lit until more oil could be provided days later.
Then, when the time was right, Jesus is born and the silence is broken. Galatians 4:4-5 (one of my memory verses from this year) says: “When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Imagine the joy when that silence was broken…now imagine the shock, confusion and maybe even fear. It was God’s perfect timing and plan coming to fruition through His Son. How would you have reacted?
What if you’d heard the assignment Mary received from God through Gabriel. Or Joseph’s assignment? “Be it unto me according to your will” as Mary said, or: “WHAT?? You must be kidding! Me? How? No way!” Was this what Mary expected when she thought about a coming Messiah to end the silence?
This week, I want you to ask yourself this question: “How will I respond when You break the silence regarding something on my heart I’ve been waiting for?” Then next week, come back here and let’s talk more about this as we head into the last week of Christmas.