In Luke 1, the announcement the Angel gives to Mary is significant because of the content but also because of the timing in which the message is delivered.
At the close of the Old Testament (Malachi) and the announcement in Luke marks the end of 400 years of silence between God and people.
- Have you ever experienced a time when God was silent?
- What do you do when this happens?
Day-to-day living can obscure our comprehension of what God is doing. Therefore, in life, we need a big-picture point of view. Seeing the big picture helps us view our dry seasons or setbacks as setups for fulfilling God’s purposes.
How often have we given up and changed course prematurely because we did not realize how our current circumstances fit into the bigger picture?
God may be most active, moving everything into place for your good when you feel He is absent.
In His silence;
- God may proactively remove obstacles that would otherwise be a hazard for you.
- He may be removing relationships that would be a stumbling block in your life.
- He may go ahead of you, directing the right people, places, and resources into your life to prepare you for what He has in store.
In these moments, the worst thing you could do is fight against the silence, causing a delay in or completely derailing God’s plan for you. God’s plans are always forward-looking,
God uses this time to shape and prepare you! When you can’t see His hand, trust His heart! These 400 years of no new messages were a part of His divine and eternal plan. God was preparing the world for the single most important moment in human history!
During these 400 years, Israel was under constant captivity. Among the many Empires to conquer Israel were the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians, and the Romans.
But what God did during the Greek captivity was a turning point. The Hellenization of the world began under the leadership of Alexander the Great.
Alexander desired to establish a worldwide Empire unified by language, customs, and civilization. The adoption of the Greek language was the biggest advance at that time.
The Greek language would be instrumental in sharing the Gospel message worldwide. Greek was a precise and perfect language for communicating and relaying doctrinal truth.
Compare that with Hebrew, which was a picture language, as every word portrayed a picture. Hebrew was great for storytelling or retelling historical events but not for communicating doctrine.
On a side note, Israel’s constant captivity raises the question, if God is the God of Israel, and He has a plan for them to be a great nation, why are they constantly in captivity?
The continual exchange of tyrannical rulers cultivated a desire for God and His promised deliverer. If there is one trait that is common among human beings, it is stubbornness.
But God is patient and will wait for us to discover how independence from Him is a curse and not a blessing.
During the rule of the Roman Empire, the most critical infrastructure improvements were made, making it the perfect timing for the arrival of the Messiah.
Under Rome, there was;
- An established rule of law and a stable system of government.
- A sustained and extended time of peace within the Empire known as pax Romana.
- Roads and modern highways are built and ensure safer and more accessible travel around the world.
In His silence, God orchestrated all this to prepare the world for the Messiah.
Another notable shift during the 400 years of silence was the transition from the temple to the synagogue. The synagogue paved the way for the New Testament church as a place where believers gathered and scripture was taught.
God may have been silent, but He was very much active.
Let me give you three things to do when you sense God is silent.
#1 Search your heart.
“23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23:24
Sin creates a barrier between God and us. If sin has crept in, confess and repent and God will forgive and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
#2 Go back to the last place you heard Him speak.
When I can no longer hear God’s voice, I return to the last thing He said and obey. Maybe I turned left when He said to go right? His silence is a means of pulling me back in.
#3 Stay faithful
We are to live by faith, not sight, feelings, or emotions. Sight, feelings, and emotions are nice when they parallel faith. Silence demands faith-living. Trust God even when we can’t see Him or feel Him.
- How could your circumstances be God’s means of cultivating your desire to go deeper in Him?
- Instead of questioning why God is silent, ask Him what is His silence attempting to do in your life?