The prophets Isaiah (Isa 7:14), Jeremiah (Jer 23:5-6), Micah (Micah 5:2) prophesied of a coming king, a predicted rescuer. The Jewish people longed for this king, this deliverer and they had been waiting, wanting, hoping for and anticipating Him for a long time.
400 years. SILENCE – not a word.
Where was God? Generation after generation – waited. How was the information of the promised Messiah even kept alive? Scrolls? Stories passed down orally?
Generations of Jewish people were born, lived and died. As the years went on was their anticipation passed on? How many of the subsequent generations even knew of the promise of a deliverer? Did the grandchildren know what their great grandparents had hoped for? Or was the dust thick on these scrolls and their minds dulled by their dashed hopes?
And, if they knew of the Messianic prophecies how did they envision Him to be? Would He be a powerful King to right all the wrongs done against the Jews forever? Could they have possibly imagined that He would come in such an alternate way than they thought?
Finally, in the most appropriate time (Galatians 4:4) it happened! God sent His Son born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18) in the city of Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7). In God’s sovereign orchestration all the events of Advent happened right on time.
God is not slow about fulfilling His promise as some count slowness (II Peter 3:9). His timing positioned the event at the most advantageous time in history. God knew exactly what He was doing.
Would you have been one who was still anticipating? Would you be like the old man Simeon and the old woman Anna who had been waiting their entire lives in the temple just praying and hoping that the Messiah would be born during their lifetime?
Or, would you have relegated the ancient prophecies to an “old wives tale” category - a delusional fantasy made up by some wishful thinking Jews desperate for relief?
Maybe you feel like that now in 2012 – God is silent. You are not sure if He is there. Would you during this Advent season be willing to consider letting the certainty of God’s fulfillment of the Christmas prophecies encourage your heart that He is a God you can trust? I pray His love for you will be more real to you than ever before this Christmas season.
Regardless of the category you might have been in or are currently in, it DID happen just as God said it would. Jesus came in the manner the prophets foretold AND He promises to return (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11).
In his famous advent hymn penned in 18th century England, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Charles Wesley captures the cry of the Hebrew remnant who believed and hoped. Consider these words and the incredible timing of the advent of the child of the promise as you continue your preparations for Advent.
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation
joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788 Music: Rowland H. Pritchard; harm. from The English Hymnal