Silence can get awkward pretty quick. Silence can drive you crazy when it is all you get from an angry spouse over dinner. Silence can drive us mad when we are waiting for word from a college entrance or SAT score. It was over 400 years of silence in which ensued from the last page of the Old Testament to the events in the New Testament. The Jews are again in the Promised Land after the Babylonian captivity, but now they face oppression from the world’s major super power: Rome.
Where had God gone? What was he doing? Today we look for insight in the midst of silence looking at the opening verses of the first gospel written, Mark. As you will see as Mark begins writing, he starts explaining how the events of the past were a salient announcement for the events of his present, revealing…
In Times of Silence–God Is Preparing the World (Mark 1:2a- “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”—) In Malachi—we get the full picture of what God is saying: “You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?” “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.”In Malachi, God was speaking to the coming silence, pointing out that each of us has the tendency to want to fill the space, that in silence we start to make our own standards. We start to switch right and wrong. If you look around our culture it happens all the time. Sexual ethics—marriage between a man and a woman, monogamy—The NYT ran an article- “FAMILY VALUES OUTDATED”…Why be married to one person when you could be married to 3 or none at all? Why adhere to God’s will when you can manufacture your own? Why wait for God to speak when sin is so succulent and enticing?
Here is what we have to realize—In the Silence God is not Stationary!!! He is not standing still, he is not distant. Instead he is preparing the world for his worthy purposes.
God are you still there? Over the 400 years of silence looking back God’s hand on history can be seen building towards a messenger—There was the PAX ROMANA—Roman peace, that as Rome grew to dominate the entire known world, they also brought a rare peace to it, and throughout their empire there was a shared spoken and written language—Koine Greek—“common”—language of the “every-man or woman” there was the Roman roads system for transportation unlike any time before in history. The perfect setting for God’s silence to be broken and a messenger finally to be heard!
In 7th grade, I had a great history teacher named Mr. Jamison, and Mr. Jamison could entertain the entire class up by bringing to life history, telling interesting stories, asking probing questions, and week after week I loved sitting there in the 4th row, embracing what could have otherwise been a dead subject. One class about half-way through the year started out the same, as any other we all filed into class, took our seats, he was sitting at his desk working through papers, when it became unlike any class before or after it…He stood at the podium as if to speak….and said nothing! He stared at us, when we acted he took note, at first people chuckled, then we started to get angry—“JUST TALK!”, and finally we started to give in to chaos. Finally, after 20 minutes—He spoke his first word—I WANTED TO PREPARE YOU AS A CLASS, FOR OUR DISCUSSION ON BUILDING A GOVERNMENT, NOW MORE THAN EVER, YOU MIGHT REALIZE YOUR NEED FOR SOMETHING GREATER THAN CHAOS!
During the silence, the spans can feel worthless, and yet like my teacher, all along he was preparing the best circumstances. Col 1:16-17 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” God on a moment to moment basis is preparing the world for his presence, his people for his purposes. Think about all the things that fell in place to bring you to this point of being willing to acknowledge God…It might have been trails, tragedy, turmoil, and testing-God gave you a million different choices, thousands of different experiences, hundreds of different people, each that invested in you or helped cultivate the ideal conditions in your life to bring you to the point of finally hearing a message that you had been told hundreds of times before.