God Works in the Background of Life
Before Jesus came, there had been 400 years of “silence” from God. No prophets had been speaking or writing anything from God to the people during that time. But, in that time, God was at work in the background to prepare the way for answering the prayers of His people for deliverance.
The presence of the synagogue
- In 586 BC, Israel found herself in exile in Babylon because of her idolatry. The Jews carried their scriptures with them, especially the Torah. They met together in community groups for worship and reading of their Scriptures in what we now know as synagogues.
- As a result, Judaism became a faith that could be practiced wherever the Torah scrolls could be carried. This helped to preserve Judaism and prepare the way for the Christian gospel. By Jesus’ time, Jews filled every land around the Mediterranean Sea.
- Synagogues were built all over the Greek and Roman world among the Gentile or non-Jewish people. The Jews shared the knowledge of the living and true God in their weekly worship times as God-fearing Gentiles would join them to worship God.
- The missionaries of the early church began their ministries among those dispersed Jews, using the weekly synagogue meetings as the platform for sharing the good news about Jesus to the Jews present as well as those God-fearing Gentiles.
- God was at work in the background to prepare the way for answering the prayers of the people for their Messiah to come to deliver them. And, part of His work included the dispersion of Jews in the Roman Empire and the development of the synagogue.
The ease of a common language
- After Alexander the Great’s conquests, Greek language and culture spread to all the conquered territories. Most people in the Mediterranean world learned to speak and write Greek. The Old Testament was translated into Greek (the Septuagint).
- Paul and other New Testament writers wrote in Greek which could be read everywhere in those countries influenced by the Greek culture.
Roman roads and “peace”
- In the century before Jesus was born, Rome conquered Israel and the rest of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean.
- They brought “peace” to the whole region, although it was a forced peace. Law and order prevailed. Anyone who rebelled was quickly squashed by the powerful Roman army.
- The Romans built a system of roads so people could travel from the farthest reaches of the Empire back to mother Rome. Paul and the other missionaries of the first century utilized these roads for their travel as well available sea travel.
Babies must be born and grow up.
- Thirty years before the Jewish people as a nation finally heard from God again, the angel Gabriel delivered the message to two people that their sons would be the ones through whom God would answer the prayers of His people for deliverance.
- But, before that happened, the babies had to be born, experience childhood, and grow up into men prepared to do their work. That took 30+ more years of waiting. Only a few people knew what was going on during this time. And, they didn’t really understand it. But, they did their part in the preparation.
- John the Baptist appeared on the scene at the appointed time in God’s plan. Jesus left his father’s carpentry shop a short time later and began His full-time ministry of teaching the people about getting ready for the Kingdom of God to come to them and healing their diseases.
- Through normal human birth and development, God was at work in the background to prepare the way for answering the prayers of all people for deliverance. He gets your need for hope.
The need for hope
- God looked upon your life with compassion and provided a solution—His Son Jesus Christ. God in the flesh. God on earth. The God of hope and love.
- Jesus experienced human life for more than 30 years. He understands every single one of your heartaches because those were part of His life as well. When you go to Him in prayer, you can trust that He understands how you are feeling and what your are needing.
God is still at work in the background of life.
Can you look back now and recognize how God was at work on your behalf or for someone you love? Praise Him for that. Are you still waiting for God to answer a specific prayer of yours? Maybe our faithful God is preparing the background for answering your prayer tomorrow. Trust Him.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with hope, healing, and love as you get to know Him and trust Him more each day.
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