Between the Old and New Testaments, God was silent for four hundred years. But remember, even in silence, God is at work. The Old Testament ends with these words: Malachi 4: 5 Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. 6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.
The words the angel spoke to Zechariah about the upcoming birth of John echo those of Malachi. Luke 1: 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John… 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
Zechariah has Nine Months of Silence
Zechariah thought these words of the angel were impossible and there were consequences. Luke 1: 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time. From other details in the story, it appears that Zechariah was probably both deaf and mute.
What might Zechariah have been thinking in his silent world during his wife’s pregnancy? We don’t know for sure; Scripture doesn’t say. But when God breaks the silence at the naming of John, Zechariah breaks into praise and prophesy. It seems that Zechariah must have been thinking about what God had done and would do through his son, John, and the coming Messiah. For God broke His prophetic silence with the words of Zechariah.
What Do We Do When God is Silent?
There are times in our lives when it seems that God is silent. Our prayers feel like they don’t go past the ceiling, and we wonder where God is. We must trust God’s promise to always be with us during these times and continue to seek Him. Jeremiah 29: 13 If you look for me (God) wholeheartedly, you will find me.
God doesn’t play hide and seek with us but desires to refine and mature our faith. He wants to take our trust to a new level through these times. I’m sure Zechariah developed a more mature faith as he considered the angel’s words for nine months. May you continue to seek the Lord even when He seems silent.
To hear how even in silence, God is at work, listen here: