Did you know that there is a 400-year gap in between the old and new testaments? This is known as the *Intertestamental Period*. It is a strange time for the people of God. From the beginning, God spoke to his people. This usually happened through the prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Jonah, etc. Then, Malachi became the prophet of Israel. After God made his final decree through Malachi, he seemingly stopped speaking. That is why this period is also known as the Period of Silence.
These 400 years were not uneventful. Israel was conquered by the Persians but had it pretty good under them. Ultimately, they were able to live their lives, including religiously, mostly uninhibited. Then, the Greeks came and overthrew the Persians and their empire. This did not go so well for the Jews. Eventually, the Greeks banned Jewish worship and rededicated the Temple back to their own religion. This sparked the Maccabean Revolt, where a group of Jews overthrew the Greeks, which led to a brief period where Israel was independent again. Hannukah was created to commemorate this victory. Finally, around 25 BC, the Roman Empire took over Israel. That’s who was in charge through the New Testament.
Though a lot happened (I greatly oversimplified it), no prophets were speaking. There was not a human voice for God in between Malachi and John the Baptist. Strange, isn’t it? With all that was going on, why wouldn’t God speak? He repeatedly spoke during other times of captivity and war in the Old Testament. Why did he choose this time to be quiet? The short answer: I have no idea. But, let’s not make the mistake that his silence was an indicator of his inability or his disinterest.
God’s last words before he went silent were to tell his people that goodness, healing, and the light were coming. Malachi 4:2 even suggested that God was going to appear. The book ends with the promise of the Savior coming. We know that all of that came true on that Christmas morning over 2000 years ago. God ended his silence with his greatest act of love: the baby born in the manger. That baby would grow up to die on the cross so that all who believe in him will have salvation.
What must the Jews have thought as they were going through hardship after hardship and not hearing from God? Surely, they must have felt abandoned and hopeless. God promised them something better and then disappeared. Even in that, they never lost faith. They held on to the promises that God had made to them. They even fought and died to preserve and regain their ability to worship the God who wasn’t speaking to them. They believed that just because he hadn’t fulfilled his promises, it didn’t mean he wasn’t going to.
Do you ever find yourself in that place? Maybe, you’re there now. You want to hear from God or get some sort of indicator that he is working in your life, but you feel as though he has gone silent. What do we do when God goes quiet? I think that we take after the Jews and cling to the promises that he has given to us.
“…it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.”
There are many, many more, but you get the picture. There is a myriad of promises throughout the Bible that tells us that God is with us and for us, even when he may seem quiet. Just like he ended his 400 years of silence with his great work, he will do a great work in your life. He has promised that he’s not going to leave you where you are; just because he’s quiet, doesn’t mean that he’s not up to something. It’s up to us to keep the faith and trust that he will do what he has said that he is going to do. Before you know it, you will be out of the silence and amazed at how he brought you through whatever it is that you’re going through.
If you liked this, then I think that you’ll enjoy my book. You can buy it by going here. Also, I have started a His Kingdom/ Our Good podcast. It’s available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Spot