Chapter 21 - Rebuilding the Walls
Saying goodbye to a good friend is a bitter sweet experience - while fondly remembering all of your common experiences you bid farewell often without knowing when you'll see each other again. Reading chapter 21 in The Story stirred up some of those same feelings. With this chapter we wrap up what we call the Old Testament saying goodbye to all the friends we have made along the way. It has been quite a journey and it'll be a while before The Story will pick up again.
Actually, for all of us making this journey together it'll be just next week when we'll pick up with the New Testament, but in real time there is a 400 year gap between Malachi and Matthew! God has graciously placed his people back in the Promised Land with Jerusalem's wall rebuilt and the temple (though not even close to the splendor of Solomon's temple) rebuilt and back in business, but now comes the long wait. Little did any of the Israelites know that the plan was once again in a holding pattern awaiting just the right circumstances to resume.
I often wonder why there are such large gaps in God's plan. It's almost as if that friend you have said goodbye to neglects to contact you even after weeks or months of absence. Why does God "go dark" on his people?
Years ago flying home from Texas to Boston I had a layover in Atlanta. We were scheduled to land but because of storms below us the pilot announced that we were going into a "holding pattern." For about an hour we circled the Atlanta airport until the storm passed waiting for the time when landing would be safe. You see, trying to land in an electrical storm just wasn't prudent. The delay seemed interminable and was somewhat irritating, but really the delay was for our own good. Circumstances just weren't right. In this case silence was sensible. Waiting was wise.
I can’t say for sure why the time wasn't right to send Jesus into the world earlier, but I do know that Scripture assures us that Jesus came at "just the right time."
So I say goodbye to my old friend and patiently wait for his call. I'll have to wait quite a while but when God speaks next he has something to say to us that will blow our socks off. For up to this point God has spoken from afar - from distant mountaintops and thunderous storms. Up to this point God has communicated through his servants and prophets. But when God speaks again he will announce a new twist in The Story. One that no one could have imagined.
HE is coming!