The Faithful Received the Promise

January 2, 2013

The Faithful Received the Promise

Blessings Saints!

Today’s reading is Luke 1:5-25.
Note that there is no other gospel account…

Here we have a brief insight into the life of a priest of Israel.
Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were from the priestly line of Aaron.
Both were righteous in the sight of God.
Both followed all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.

They were faithful.

Yet, all was not perfect.

They were barren.
No children.
This was a disgrace among the people - verse 25 states such.

This is hard for many in our culture to understand.
We prefer to “play god” when it comes to children.
We “have them” when we want.
We dispose of them if inconvenient.
Great judgment awaits.

Still, Zechariah and Elizabeth pressed on in faith.
They were faithful.

In performing his day-to-day, cycle-by-cycle duty as a priest Zechariah was chosen by lot to offer incense in the Holy Place (not the Holy of Holies...just outside the curtain at the Table of Incense).

An unexpected turn came during the offering - an angel of the Lord appeared.

Think for a moment…
What do we anticipate in worship...corporate and private?
Are we prepared for the unexpected encounter with the Lord?

What the angel said was profound. He began with usually declaration - “do not be afraid!”

Then this - “your prayer has been heard”.

What prayer?
The prayer for children.
Were Zechariah and Elizabeth still praying for a family?
We simply do not know.
In the natural Elizabeth was past childbearing age. Conception was impossible.
Apparently Zechariah was unable to sire (v. 18)

Was the angel referring to prayer in the past?
I suspect so.

We learn something here.
The prayers of a righteous man has great effectiveness. James 5:16

We learn something else.
God’s timing is not our timing.
Perhaps it had been years since the time of prayer for a family, but God had not His time…

So, the angel tells him what will happen…
  • joy
  • gladness
- many rejoicing at the birth of the son
  • to be called John
    • he will be great in the sight of the Lord
    • he will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God
    • he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah
    • he will turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children
    • he will turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just
    • he will make ready for the Lord a people prepared for Him

Zechariah questions the physical limitation of such.
Think about this for a moment.
The progression of life is unrelenting.
Zechariah says that he and his wife were both old.
How could such occur?
It takes no imagination to understand what is being said.

His question revealed a lack of faith?
Later on we will see that Mary asked the same question, yet without lacking faith.

Zechariah would be unable to speak until these things were to take place.

What things?

The birth of a son.

Last thing...think on this.

Zechariah went home.
“After some time” physical intimacy occurred that had not likely happened in some time.
Conception took place.

Can you imagine how Zechariah and Elizabeth were?
Giddy in the moment?
Filled with anticipation during the act?

For us…
  • think not that it is too late
  • God is faithful
  • determine today to be faithful
  • determine to rest in the Lord and what He has planned
  • He is gracious
  • oh yeah...visions do take place, angels do appear, God does what we call “miracles” - doubt not!
  • be faithful
  • receive the promise