It is hard to believe Christmas is around the corner. Back in November I began a 5 part series, taking a look at Christmas. On our journey we have learned that Christmas was always the plan of God, even before the world was created. Last week we looked at the promise of a Seed that would come and destroy the works of the devil. This promise of a Messiah unfolds throughout the pages of the New Testament and became the hope of the Old Testament believers. Today we are seven days away from Christmas Eve and many of us will gather to worship with our churches or fellowship with families. We will worship and commemorate Christmas, an event in history which already happened. While we worship an event that has happened, the Old Testament believers were longing for Christmas to come. Hanging on every word of promise from the Lord, waiting for the time of the Messiah.
Then came a time in history when there was no word from the Lord, no prophet proclaiming to the people, just silence, around 400 years of silence. 4 generations pass with no new word from the Lord, no new prophet, generations of Jews hanging on the words of the prophets from the past. I imagine they may have felt God has stopped moving among them. Have you ever experienced the silence of God? A period of silence is when it appears God isn’t moving in or among you anymore. CS Lewis gives an excellent description of a period of silence in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when he describes Narnia, under the curse of the white witch, as “always winter but never Christmas”.
My friends worship through the silence. Worship through the winter because Christmas is coming. Worship through the silence because even though it doesn’t appear so, God is still working. What was God doing in this 400 years of silence? What can we learn from this period of silence?
3 Things We Can Trust
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psa. 103:17-19 ESV)
Trust in God’s love. God is steadfast in his love. Out of love and mercy, God chose to work through the Jewish people. Out of love he chose for Jesus, the hope of the world, come through the Jews (Jhn. 4:22). We must trust in God’s love when He seems to be silent. Trust his love to accomplish what he plans to accomplish, even though it is difficult. He has promised,
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28 ESV)
We must learn to trust in God’s Word. Throughout the pages of the Old Testament we read of the promise of Christmas. Prophetic word coming from God proclaiming a Messiah will come. The promises of God pointing to Christmas. God’s word will not return void. His word will accomplish what He plans for his word to accomplish (Isa. 55:11) God will fulfill what he has promised because He isn’t a liar (Num. 23:19). Part of the problem with trusting God’s word is we expect God to work on our time table. Can you imagine being promised a deliver and waiting generations for it? God accomplishes His word on His time table. Which leads us to our next point.
We must learn to trust in God’s Sovereignty. God sovereignty means God rules, governs and will accomplish his purposes in our world. In these 400 years of appeared silence God was putting His plan in place, in Galatians we read “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son”. (Gal. 4:4) Sometimes we skip things over because they appear unimportant, but turn out to be vastly important. For example, here in Galatians the phrase “when the fullness of time had come” is packed with meaning. Joseph Stowell points out, “Jesus’ arrival during the Roman Empire was perfect timing. The known world was united by one language of commerce. A network of global trade routes provided open access to the whole world. All of this guaranteed that the Gospel could move rapidly in one tongue.” God was sovereignly orchestrating the world, putting all the necessary elements together for Christmas and Christianity to spread. Worship through the silence because we can trust in God’s love, word and sovereignty.
How To Worship Through The Silence
The Psalmist also gives us some pointers on how to worship through the silence. The first, continue to fear the Lord. When God seems silent continue to have a sense of awe for who God is. Much of the lukewarmness among Christians is due to the lack of knowing who God has revealed himself to be. We cant truly fear and have a sense of awe of God if we don’t know Him. When we know Him and our focus is on God, the silence may be difficult, but we will be able to trust in who God is. When the silence is over we will look back and see how God was faithful and working while we were worshipping through the silence.
Be a doer of the word. Being a doer of the word is symptomatic of fearing the Lord. Continue in your walk with Him. Remain faithful to pray, read the word and to obey His word. Continue fellowshiping and serving other believers. God promises to bless your faithfulness.
Recognize it may appear God is silent, but He is still accomplishing His purposes in this world.
Until Next Week
Solid Deo Gloria