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  • Writer's pictureAdelee Russell

400 Years of Silence

Psalm 83:1, “O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God” (NIV).

400 years. That's how much time took place between the last prophet, Malachi, and the coming of Christ.

400 years of silence. Of upheavals. Of confusion. Of pain. The Roman occupation. Religious division among the higher sects. Lostness… 400 years without clear direction. 400 years without knowing what in the world was going on. 400 years of waiting. 400 years of hoping. 400 years of longing. 400 years of trying not to despair. 400 years of trying not to give up.

And yet, throughout those 400 years God was working. He was bringing people together. He was creating a family line--the line through which Christ would come. He was working in the lives of the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna—working everything together from their lineages to their circumstances to bring them all to the right place at the right time to herald the coming of the Messiah and to speak of peace and God’s goodwill towards mankind, and the fruition of God’s plan for salvation in the form of the Gospel.

The time between the Old Testament and the New Testament is not the only period where God seemed silent and removed from His people. If you take a look at Exodus chapter 32 you’ll read about a time where Moses went up Mount Sinai to talk to God. And after only 40 days of waiting the Israelites forgot everything God had done for them. They forgot all His signs and wonders. They forgot how He rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. They rejected God, claiming He had forgotten about them, and they decided to create their own idols.

It’s easy for me to look at the Israelites and think “Wow. What wimps. They couldn’t even last a month and a half. And after everything God had done for them…”

But then I ask myself: “What do I do when God feels silent? How long does it take before I try to fix things myself? How long does it take for me to turn my eyes away from my Savior and onto something else to save me? How long before I start to doubt God’s character? How long before I forget everything He’s done?"

The 400 years of silence—as it turns out—wasn’t so silent after all. God was working behind the scenes to bring about everything that every prophecy had ever pointed to: the salvation of our souls through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And what the Israelites perceived as silence at Mount Sinai wasn’t actually silence either. God was speaking to Moses the entire time, composing a message for His people that would guide them for many years to come.

God is good, and He is always working. Even in the silence.

2 Chronicles 16:9, “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…” (NLT).

Isaiah 30:18-21, “So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left” (NLT).

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