400 Years of Silence
It started with a simple project, then as God’s hand became manifest, the story unfolded. 400 Years of Silence is a creative interpretation, written in duet play form and short story prose, of the 400 year period between the Old Testament prophets and the birth of Jesus Christ. In that time, there was no word from God, until the cry of a baby broke the silence on that glorious night when the savior of the world was born.
On one cold September night, a man sat pouring over the Holy Scriptures of God. The room was dark, but for the light of a few feeble candles, arranged around the man’s place of reading, casting a yellow tinge against the dark stone walls. As he finished reading the final verse of Job, his brother Mannaseh entered the study.
“Naaman, my brother!” Mannaseh exclaimed. “What are you doing reading that old thing? It’s been four hundred years since that god of yours proclaimed anything to His people – resign this insanity of yours!”
“Insane I may be,” began Naaman, motioning to the scriptures before him. “But these prophecies Isaiah speaks of…”
“Forget the prophecies!” Mannaseh interjected, with an ever reddening visage. “Those were simply lies devised by the old Kings of Israel.”
“Yet why would the kings seek their own destruction?” Naaman reasoned, his tone measured and calm, yet with a hint of desperation. “It is by God alone that…”
“I relent brother, I relent…” cried Manasseh, storming out of the room. “I leave you to this self-ordained madness!”
Naaman sat half-bewildered, still gazing at the last verse before him. Job didn’t have faith either… then God revealed himself in a most glorious way.“My brother may not believe,” Naaman said to himself. “But I feel the spirit of the Lord is strongly manifested on this night. God will not be quiet forever, He will come after his lost sheep.”
Night soon fell, and Naaman retired to his study. Perhaps the next day would bring about a glorious awakening – one could only hope.
When the cock crowed the next morning, all the citizens of the land awoke to the realization of the day. It was the time of Caesar Augustus’ fateful decree, the census of the entire Roman world, and all were required by mandate to register themselves. Naaman had gone, his brother Manasseh with him, to register at the same time of Joseph and Mary.
“Ah, what a day is this!” Naaman spoke cheerfully, as their horses trod down the road.
“Always the cheerful one,” Mannaseh remarked disdainfully. “What is it you find so worthwhile in life?”The brother responded with a grin.
“Unlike yourself Mannaseh, I find joy in the coming of a savior.”
The horses slowed as they reached the crowded registration center, Naaman cast his gaze around, taking in all the town had to offer. On one side there were various vendors, promoting their wares, which consisted of food, cloth, or trinkets of interest. All of a sudden, however, something or rather someone in particular caught his eye – a pregnant woman among the masses, accompanied by a man named Joseph. Mannaseh followed his brother’s gaze and saw an opportunity to torment him in his purported evident superstition.
“See here brother!” Mannaseh said exultantly. “This couple, claiming to be followers of God have committed a momentous sin against the commandment of the Great Creator! Engaging in that which is sacred to marriage. What do you say in defense of your fellow brother’s and sister’s grievous reproach?”
Naaman looked confidently into Mannaseh’s eyes as he delivered his retort.“Man is inherently sinful Manasseh, who can know the bounds of depravity? Even a godly man or woman may fall into the bounds of sin. Yet my God is a merciful one, as seen with David and Bathsheba.”
Manasseh laughed, perceiving Naaman’s confidence as utter foolishness. “Such hypocrisy.” Manasseh remarked simply. “How may one be the follower of a perfect God when they themselves are imperfect?”
“For this very reason God gave us repentance through sacrifice.” Naaman answered. Though in my heart, stirring within my spirit, I am confident that God will do away with this ritual and bring us to Him through a most glorious and perfect way.”
Manasseh stormed out of the room, furious. Naaman’s superstitions had advanced too far, venturing into the realm of insanity. When did Naaman first convert from a normal child to a hopeless religious advocate? Manasseh could recall the event with superb clarity, such were the profound events surrounding it. It was upon the celebration of their father’s thirty and sixth year, when their life as a family changed forever. A tear fell down his cheek as a torrent of memories immersed his consciousness. It was a terrible day indeed.
Despite the silence of God, human life and faith in Biblical teachings persisted. The world did not end, it continued as it had before, trusting in that which had come before. One may dismiss the past as irrelevant, the things of old as rubbish to be discarded. However, there is much to be gleaned from antiquity – trial and error is a necessary process, yet it may be expedited with knowledge of another’s prior prosperity and misapplications. While God did not proclaim through prophets, His Word spoke volumes. And so it was, until the greatest proclamation came to be – the wondrous birth of Jesus Christ which ended the four hundred years of silence and brought about a means to salvation which had been foretold generations before.
It is with a longing to expound that I conclude. Yet the story of Manasseh and Naaman will not go untold. Time brings with it many things – and writing is no exception.
NOOK Notice: This material is protected by copyright.
Copyright © 2012 – All Rights Reserved