- Numbers 19:1-20:29
- Luke 1:1-25
- Psalm 56:1-13
- Proverbs 11:8
This is one of those days where I just don’t know what to write, I feel so inadequate. This passage in Luke is written so eloquently (as my husband put it) that I wonder, who am I to try and put an interpretation into my life, or give insight to anyone else? So I’m just going to go through the passage.
I am in no way comparing my measly little farm life with the life of John the Baptist or anything in the scriptures. But I do believe that God has a plan for each of our individual lives. We each are given an opportunity for a role in the Kingdom that God invites us to live out. I am reminded of Queen Esther (which if you’ve never read the book of Esther, it’s truly a beautiful book in the Old Testament and I hope you will take time to read it. It’s only 10 chapters. You can totally do this.) Anyway, Esther was kind of a “nobody” and got the opportunity to become queen. During her reign, she was able to save the Jewish people. She felt afraid and unworthy, but finally her uncle convinced her to help by saying:
In the verse from Luke that I opened with, Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah (Lk 1:5) was in the process of talking to the angel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and had been sent to speak to Zechariah and tell him the good news. (vs 19)
Those of us who attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School or CCE classes learned about John the Baptist. He lived in the desert, wore clothes made of camel hair and a belt around his waist. He ate locusts and honey. In fact, I helped teach the preschoolers at church last Sunday and the subject was John the Baptist. Hopefully when I see my grandson tomorrow, he will be able to re-play back what we learned last weekend, like a little magpie.
But really….who was this John?
John’s parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth, they were descendants of Aaron, which meant they served as church leadership and every once in a while, Zechariah got chosen, by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. (vs 8) They were both very old and Elizabeth was not able to have kids. (vs 7)
So on this particularly honorable day in the servanthood of Zechariah, an angel appeared to him and told him about the upcoming birth of his son John, which means “The Lord is gracious” or “The Lord shows grace.” This angel told Zechariah all the ways that John would fulfil the prophecies of the return of Elijah, turning the hearts of people back to the Lord and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (vs 17)
But Zechariah doubted. How can I be sure of this? (vs 18) he asked….and proceeded to inform the angel (as if he didn’t know) that he was an old man and his wife was elderly too. No one was allowed in to the temple with the person burning incense, so this angel just appeared out of nowhere to predict all this, and here’s Zechariah arguing with this being about all the doubts in his mind.
Zechariah would lose his voice because he doubted. But that didn’t stop the prophecy from being fulfilled. Elizabeth did become pregnant and was shown favor. To be a barren woman in those days, was seen as a disgrace, and by this fulfillment of prophecy, God took Elizabeth’s disgrace away.
Because Elizabeth lived a righteous life in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly, God cared about her enough that he used His mighty plan to redeem her dignity.
The only one punished here was Zechariah and that was because he questioned a messenger from the Lord.
Maybe an angel hasn’t visited you, but have you been given a vision for your life that you doubt? Do you know that God cares about you enough to include you in His Mighty Plan? God does care enough for each of us to fulfill His plan in some small way through us, so why do we question our worthiness or abilities? Do you know that God doesn’t call the ones with abilities, he ables those He calls? Do you believe that? I mean REALLY believe it? If God could work a miracle in your life or through your life, what would it be? What if the miracle that you imagine was EVEN BIGGER than that?!?! What could God do through you? Who could God reach through you, if you just trusted that little voice in the back of your head for just a little while?
Lord, I thank you for Queen Esther and I thank you for John and I thank you for Elizabeth and I thank you for Zecharia to show me how you work to redeem your people. I pray to have the courage of Esther and Elizabeth to just believe and trust and take that step forward. I pray that you would use me and redeem me in some small way to draw others closer to you. Take me and mold me into the woman you need me to be. I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would speak to their heart and let them know that you plans to prosper them and have given them a hope and a future. Speak clearly Lord, your servants are listening.
What can I be praying for you today?
What dreams and goals has God given you for your life?