400 Years of Silence

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” ~ Luke 1:8-17

The angel Gabriel broke 400 years of silence. God had not spoken to the rebellious Israelites since Malachi uttered his prophecy in Malachi 4:5-6, the last two verses of the Old Testament. God was dealing with the sin issue in Judah. He had already sent Israel, or the Northern Kingdom, into exile because of idolatry, as well as Judah, the Southern Kingdom. God was upset with His people, but He did not leave them without hope.

He warned them over and over about exile and punishment, and because He had no choice but to make good on His threats, He sent them into exile by the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, and now they had returned, but they were still a wayward people, not paying their tithes, nor giving offerings, and the sacrifices were of poor samples and not their best.

But even in all of this, God never leaves His people without hope. He said that He would send them the prophet Elijah before the LORD comes, and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and children to their fathers. Then, the voice of God went silent for 400 years.

Now, here, the angel Gabriel is speaking to the future father of the promised forerunner of the Messiah Himself, the LORD Jesus. God makes good on His threats, and God makes good on His promises as well.

So, you may be going through a time of silence. It seems like you are in a period of 400 years of silence, but know this, God has not forgotten you, nor has He forgotten His promises to you. In the fullness of time, the time set by God Himself to visit you and bring with Him all that He has promised.

So, this Christmas, let hope reign in your heart. Do not give up on your promises or on hope itself! Do not give in to doubt or temptation, but stand firm and always remember that God is faithful and will never leave you hopeless but will always bring you hope, and He will always deliver on His promises.

Heavenly Father, thank You for hope. Thank You for the promises that you will fulfill. Help me to hold on to Your every word and believe in Your holy word; in Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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