A Voice of One in the Wilderness

Pause: Isaiah 40:1-5, Luke 1:5-25, Luke 1:57-80, Matthew 3:1-12, John 1:29-34

A single blank page marks the 400-year stretch of prophetic silence between the Old and New Testament books of our Bibles. To us it’s a simple flip of the page to read how the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled, but for the Jewish people waiting for their King, the years must have felt like the longest dark night of the soul. In many ways, they probably felt God had abandoned them, but we can see now how God was working in the silence. 

When the silent years had passed, an angel made an appearance to an edlerly priest as he fulfilled a once-in-a-lifetime duty to burn incense in the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. This herald from God delivered a surprising message. The fatherless priest and his barren wife would become the parents of a prophet, one empowered by God “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 1:17). And just as the angel foretold, the longings of an elderly couple were fulfilled.

Then, three decades later this promised baby had become a man, who was known as John the Baptiser. He was the man everyone was talking about. He wore a cover of camel skin and ate locust and honey. Onlookers thought he was a bit crazy, but his words brought hope of deliverance for the Jewish people, who were under the political oppression of Rome and the religious burden of the Pharisaic laws added one after another to the law of Moses. John talked of One greater than himself who was coming, the One the prophet Isaiah had spoken of who was wooing His beloved and yet fallen children with a great love and a promise of redemption through One in David’s family. And just as the angel foretold, the longings of a needy world were fulfilled. 

Ponder: Do you sometimes feel like you’re hovering over the blank page between the testaments, waiting, watching, willing God to fulfill desires in your life? What do you learn from today’s readings about God’s timing? How do you see God working in you even in the silence between seasons?

Pray: Lord, I am constantly amazed at the intricacy of Your prophecies and how You have caused them to be fulfilled. Your timing is often not my timing, and yet I know that your timing is perfect. Thank you for never leaving Your children in the silent seasons. Give me courage to wait for You.

— Jaime Sherman

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