The Old Testament ends with two commands from the prophet Malachi.
He tells God’s people to remember: Remember that God has done great things for you.
Then to believe: Believe God’s not through doing great things with you.
Remember. Moses, chariots drowned, cloud by day and fire by night, manna, water gushing from a rock, the Law written down by the finger of God on a mountaintop, the promises of prophets. Remember.
Believe. Believe that no matter how much darkness comes your way – and it is coming – God will not abandon you, forget you. He will rescue. Believe.
Then the prophet Malachi put down his pen and for the next 400 years the Israelites changed hands, from empire to empire. Syrians. Persians. Greeks. Romans.
400 years. Some have called them the “darkest” in Jewish history.
Why? The Jews had known this kind of poverty, persecution and powerlessness before. Why “the darkest”?
Because God was the quietest.
400 years without so much as a syllable spoken by God to his suffering children. No prophets. No miracles.
Nothing but quiet darkness.
And waiting, remembering, believing.
Then, once silent night, an angel appeared to shepherds watching their flocks. And light shone all around them. Heaven sent a message to earth.
Before songs of joy there were cries of sorrow. Before peace on earth there was conflict all around. Before healing, was hurt. Before the Light of the World there was the deepest darkness. Before the Word became flesh, God was silent.
Wait. Remember all the great things God has done.
Believe. He’s not through doing great things.
To Help You Celebrate Advent
(In)courage.me has put together a great collection of resources to help you and your family celebrate Advent this year. Books, devotions, music, calendars and more. Something for everyone. Check it out here.