Ephesians 3: 17-18
...I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...
Galatians 4: 4-5
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
Luke 1: 30-33
….the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’
REFLECTION: HIS LOVE IS LONG
The whole way through the Old Testament, time and time again, God's prophets proclaimed that one day He would send a deliverer, a redeemer, who would rescue His people. In total, in the Old Testament there are 322 Messianic prophecies telling us about the Messiah coming to earth. In the centuries before Jesus was born God’s people read and heard these prophecies and got excited. They prayed with eager expectation. The more the prophets told them, the more they longed for this coming Messiah. God was coming to rescue them.
But then something happened: God went silent.
When we get to the end of the Old Testament, we turn the page and we’re at Matthew chapter 1 and the birth of Jesus. Just one page turn. What we don’t realise that between the last prophet in the Old Testament speaking, and the time of Mary and Joseph in the New Testament, 400 years had passed.
For 400 years God simply went quiet and stopped communicating with His people. No more prophets, no visions or dreams or angels. Not a peep from God.
Have you ever had a relationship where all seemed great, and then one day the person just stopped phoning you? They just seemed to go quiet, they don’t respond to your texts, they don’t return your calls. You automatically think: ‘What have I done? Have they fallen out with me?’
That’s what God’s people thought: ‘What have we done that God isn’t speaking anymore? Has He left His people? Has He abandoned us? Has He gone back on what He promised? Was He not going to send a deliverer? God, where have you gone?’
Then one day, just an ordinary day, in a little town called Nazareth, a young girl called Mary, probably just 13-15 years old is just going about her business. She’s probably all excited because she’s getting married soon. She is full of hopes and dreams for the future.
And then God speaks to her through the angel Gabriel:
“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” (v. 31)
400 years of total silence is broken, and God acts in human history to keep His promises. Why?
Because, as Paul later declares in Galatians 4: 4, the set time had fully come. God had a time set from all eternity which He had predetermined would be the right time to send His Son to be born here on earth. He had a set time of intervention, He had a plan, it wasn’t random. God, in His sovereignty and all-knowing wisdom, knew exactly the right moment to invade earth with heaven. It wasn't one minute too early or one minute too late. It happened, and could only happen, 'when the time had fully come.'
We all have people in our lives who say they’ll do something – but they never do it. They say they’ll phone you – but you never get their call. That they’ll be somewhere at a certain time – but they are either late, or they don’t turn up at all. People say things all the time that they don’t really mean.
God doesn’t do that. God keeps His Word. Whenever God says he will do something, we can be sure He will do it.
Are you praying for God to do something today? For God to intervene? To change a situation? Are you believing for breakthrough in some area of your life?
Does nothing seem to be happening? Is Heaven silent? Does it seem like God is deaf to your cries? You ask: 'God why aren’t you doing anything?'
Could it be that the time has not yet fully come?
His love is long. It is longer than our waiting. It is longer than our impatience. It is longer than our preconceived ideas of what God should do and when He should do it. It is longer than our unanswered prayers. His love is long. It is a love that never gives up and never forgets what has been promised.