This Day In History: 0000-08-28
August 28 – Luke 1:5-17 & 23-25
When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.
They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week.
As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.
While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside praying.
While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar.
Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said,
“Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.
You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord.
He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth.
And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.
He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home.
Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months.
“How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
I want us all to consider something about this story I don’t often hear discussed: The significance of the timing in reference to God’s plans for us. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can get really impatient with God. When I don’t see Him moving in a situation quickly I start to assume He won’t. I am shortsighted.
Then, accounts like this remind me that God’s plans are not set to our schedules. They’re set according to His sovereign plan. And that’s exactly how I should want them set!
Imagine what it must have been like to be Zechariah and Elizabeth. No doubt they had fully accepted their inability to have children and assumed it was a finished story. I’m not saying it wasn’t still painful for them, it definitely was. And we know at least Zechariah was still petitioning the Lord on the issue. But based on his reaction (which I did not include in the passage above, but can be found in verses 18-22) he didn’t really think there was any way it would actually happen. They were old. Too old to have children.
But God had a plan. One that went FAR beyond simply giving them a child! God’s plan set Zechariah and Elizabeth right smack dab in the middle of the unfolding of the long-awaited coming of Messiah! Can you imagine? Not only was He going to give them a son, He was giving them a son who would prepare the way for the Lord! Their son had been prophesied. He would be a huge part of God’s story, and would be used to effect massive change among the people of Israel.
Friends, our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Do we doubt His plans for us are any less intricately woven into the fabric of His magnificent story? We may not understand what He’s doing today. That’s okay. But we never really know what He may have in store. May we never lose faith in His good and sovereign plan! We are His dearly loved daughters, and just as Elizabeth did, may we exuberantly proclaim, “How kind the Lord is!” as we expectantly wait for Him to work.