Quite possibly the most interesting page of the Bible is the one that has nothing written on it. The page in between the end of Malachi and the beginning of Matthew; separating the Old Testament from the New. Many times we pass this page and pick up in Matthew as if nothing has changed and no time has gone by, when this is certainly not the case. As we turn this page and move onto the four gospels, about 400 years has gone by. 400 years of prophetic “silence” where nothing is said or written down pertaining to God’s Word. One of the greatest mysteries of the Bible is what happened over these four centuries. Why is nothing written about during these times? Certainly there were those who followed God, who still spoke of the things which were prophesied as well as the Law of God. But if so, why is it not written about? The important thing to note here is that what happened during those 400 years is unimportant to us. There is no significance to what happened in that time that we need to know about or else God would have included it in His inspired Word. What is important, however, is what this long period of silence led to. In other words, how did the people react to such a long time of no additional prophecies? What did this “Spiritual Break” in a sense, cause the people of that time to do, and why should we never go on spiritual breaks? Let’s study it together.
The best way to examine the effects that this long period of silence had on the people is to pick up in Matthew, where it details the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see a countless number of passages in the Old Testament prophecy of Jesus being born and being the Savior here on earth (Isaiah 11, Jeremiah 23, 2 Samuel 7). We know that the people were told a number of different times that Jesus would be coming to this earth and would suffer a cruel death for our sins so how did the people not know it was Him when He actually came? Jesus spoke of Himself, of how He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He talked about how He was the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). He taught how those who suffer on His account would be blessed with eternal life (Matthew 5:11-12). He spoke of His father sending Him down to the earth to do His will (John 6:38). He performed many miracles to prove He was the true Son of God (John 2:1-11, Luke 5:1-11, Mark 1:23-28, Matthew 14:15-21). So how is it possible that all of these people did not believe that He was who He said He was? How did the Pharisees, people who spent their whole lives studying the Law, not know that God’s Son was coming on the earth to fulfill that very Law? The fact of the matter is, spiritual breaks cause disbelief. These people had 400 years of nothing new being prophesied, and now out of nowhere a man comes saying He is the fulfillment to those prophecies. They had so long without anyone holding them accountable for their actions that they began abandoning the teachings of their ancestors. Many of us would do the same thing. If our parents were to tell us that they would get us a dog, and then 20 years passed and we still did not have a dog, there would be some major disbelief. We would be absolutely shocked if we came home one day 20 years later, and they had actually gotten a dog. Now multiply that time span by 20, and that is how long these people had pass before Jesus’ birth. They had gone so long without hearing from God that they crucified the very person they’d been waiting on for centuries.
Spiritual breaks also cause spiritual confusion. We read in the New Testament of Saul persecuting Christians and ravaging the Church (Acts 8:1-3). Saul was persecuting Christians left and right, thinking he was working for the Lord. Saul had killed hundreds, possibly thousands of Christians because he had become spiritually confused and persuaded by false teachings. When Jesus appears to Saul in Acts 9, Saul immediately changes his life to instead walk the true path of the Lord, according to His word. He writes letters to many of the churches, and teaches to be aware of these same false teachers that led him astray (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Saul, who later became Paul, sought to live a life for Christ, and after realizing he had been doing it all wrong changed for the better. There is no telling why Paul originally thought it was best to persecute all of those Christians, but I think we can attribute a lot of it to the long period of silence of the Scriptures. People were no longer being told directly by God how they should live, so they decided to go off and live however they thought was best. They became spiritually confused.
I am writing all this about breaks because all of us at Ohio State are on our Spring Break. I’m currently sitting outside on my porch in Georgia in the beautiful 70 degree weather basking in the sun. Also, I just had to buy new brakes for my car, so I have breaks of all kinds on my mind. The problem with many people today is they feel it is okay to take these spiritual breaks in our lives, when in fact it is not. College students have Spring Break and we no longer have our college minister and Christian peers holding us accountable so we decide to take time off spiritually. We feel there can’t be any harm in just taking a day off from thinking about God, until that day becomes two days, then a week, then a month, then before you know it you forget the very God who gave you life. Purchasing brakes and having them installed can be quite expensive, but taking breaks from our God can cost us our entire lives. Spiritual breaks cause disbelief, spiritual breaks cause confusion, so don’t give Satan the opportunity to plant that seed of doubt in your mind. Worship God today, worship God tomorrow, and worship God every day until we can worship Him for eternity in Heaven with Him.
Written By: Isaac May