“My people are bent on turning from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, nine exalts Him. How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me. All My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not detroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst. I will not come in wrath …” Hosea 11:7-9

For 400 years before the birth of Jesus, God went silent.  His prophets stopped speaking.  God’s people had been disobedient so long and so persistently that it appeared to some that God had given up on them.  He allowed them to face the consequences of their sins and allowed the once proud Davidic kingdom to become the subject state of one of history’s most brutal and powerful empires.  Even the Jewish teachers seemed to have forgotten the words of the prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah.  Instead they had allowed the faith of Abraham to descend into a relentless and oppressive legalism.

But God’s silence did not mean He had abandoned His people.  Like a parent who knows that sometimes saying nothing and let their children slowly come to the realization that the parent knows best, God stopped speaking.  But he also knew that they would not come to their senses without a visible reminder of Himself in the person of Jesus.

Again, God’s silence was a time of preparation–a preparation firmly rooted in His heart of unconditional love.  A God who entered time and space on that night in Bethlehem not as an punisher or avenger, but the One Who is Mercy itself.

© 2017 by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to  For all other uses, contact Steve at



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