Friday, December 5, 2014

Advent and The Silence of God

The Advent season has arrived and with that, boxes of ornaments and decorations get unpacked, the tree gets propped up and twinkling lights begin to spark as we prepare for Christmas time. And that is precisely what Advent implies…preparation…expectant waiting…

This year I want to truly prepare for another celebration of the nativity of our Lord. I want to really expectantly await His coming! I want to thankfully receive His gift…the gift of His presence among us in His Word and in His Spirit.

As I contemplate yet the advent of another Christmas season, I praise Him for all He has done for me and my loved ones. I look back at the year and see His Faithful Hand directing my every step. Likewise, I look at Scripture and realize that looking back is part of our walk with God. We can’t really move forward in our path to Him if we don’t take a good look at what’s behind. Scripture is the place to start for this exercise.

One of my favorite verses for this time of the year is Galatians 4: 4-7:

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

I love reading about how we are adopted into God’s family and as such, we are His heirs. But I also love considering verse 4…”when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…” In that verse advent is contained. These words reflect the fact that there was a time which was NOT full, not appropriate, not right. There was a time of waiting. And, indeed, there was. After Prophet Malachi stopped receiving God’s revelation, he became the last prophet of the Old Testament which concluded God’s Word at the time. And the only thing the Jews heard from God during the next 400 years was His silence. There would be no new, “hear, you Israel.” There would be nothing more revealed…until the Word became incarnate when the time became full again.

One faithful night, in that little town of Bethlehem, the Son was given unto us, for the salvation of the world. The Messiah who was long expected finally arrived wrapped in swaddling clothes. He came as a baby, but He grew up to be God’s perfect Lamb and High Priest, and with His resurrection, His Spirit came to dwell among us to change our relationship with God so He could become our Abba…Daddy.

And that is what we prepare to celebrate, the advent of the living God, The Emanuel, the God among us. And yes, there has been silence from God again, this time for over 2000 years and counting, but that doesn’t mean God has forgotten His children. Though He might be silent in the traditional sense of the concept, He still speaks through the completeness of His Word and through the voice and actions of His beloved as they are enabled by the Holy Spirit, the God with us who lives in the heart of every believer.

The silence of God is, therefore, a way to hear His voice through the discernment that only His Holy Spirit can provide. May we know how to listen to His whispering as we anticipate His coming.

By  Ray C. Stedman wrote, in his Series: Adventuring through the Bible, the following words about the Silence of God:

It is amazing how God utilizes history to work out his purposes. Though we are living in the days that might be termed "the silence of God," when for almost 2,000 years there has been no inspired voice from God, we must look back -- even as they did during those 400 silent years -- upon the inspired record and realize that God has already said all that needs to be said, through the Old and New Testaments. God's purposes have not ended, for sure. He is working them out as fully now as he did in those days. Just as the world had come to a place of hopelessness then, and the One who would fulfill all their hopes came into their midst, so the world again is facing a time when despair is spreading widely across the earth. Hopelessness is rampant everywhere and in this time God is moving to bring to fulfillment all the prophetic words concerning the coming of his Son again into the world to establish his kingdom. How long? How close? Who knows? But what God has done in history, he will do again as we approach the end of "the silence of God." 

No comments:

Post a Comment

It would be great to hear from you! Let me know what you think.