Four hundred years of silence…. That is the time known as the inter-testament period, that is, the time between the Old and New Testaments. No word from God. No prophets. There was complete silence… until the fullness of time when the incarnation of Jesus changed everything. Why so long to hear from God?
The prophet Amos delivered a scathing message to the Israelites about their total disregard for the poor and needy in the land. The people in positions of authority and power in Israel only looked on the less fortunate as commodities – as pawns to be taken advantage of for the rich merchants. Because the wealthy never took the time to listen to the poor, God would not listen to them: “I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.”
We live in a day when the poor are often disregarded. Either they are ignored altogether, or they are given hand-outs and services without ever having any significant human contact. In other words, very few people take the time to listen and get to know the real face of poverty. After all, we are busy making money and checking our stocks, and…. Oh, my, perhaps we have the answer as to why there is such a lack of revival in the land. God shows such solidarity with the poor that to ignore them is to ignore him. No matter our financial picture and outlook, every one of us can grace the poor with the gift of time and listening to them. For in doing so we might just be listening to the voice of God himself.
Gracious God, you are found everywhere – both the halls of power, and the back alleys of slums. As I seek you more and more, may I see the face of Jesus in everyone I encounter, whether rich or poor so that I can share the gift of life with them all in this season of anticipation. Amen.