7580 - Announcement to Zechariah

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Join us today as we learn about the father of John the Baptist.

It’s often very interesting to notice the events included in scripture, which God considered significant by including their record in Scripture.

Early in Luke 1, God introduces us to the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. Both were descendants of Aaron, so they were of the priestly line. Verse 6 tells us: “Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” But they had no child, and prospects were bleak because they both were advanced in years; however, they had been praying for a child.

Many Christians find themselves in similar situations at some point in life. They are devout in their faith and they have lived in obedience to the Lord’s desires; yet, they have an area of heaviness in their life in which it seems God has not heard or else has not paid attention to their longing. Take heart in this excerpt from the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

Rest assured God hears your prayers. More importantly He knows the longing of your heart and He cares. However, God answers according to His omniscience — His all- knowing nature. He knows and plans events to bring them to converge and bless in ways, which bring glory and honor to His name.

In the case of Zechariah, one day as he was fulfilling his time of service within the Temple, he was chosen to burn the offering of incense. For Zechariah, it was a great privilege to offer the incense before the Lord.

But this was also a great day in God’s plan for Israel. As Zechariah discharged his responsibilities in the Holy Place of the Temple an angel appeared to him standing on the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was startled and gripped with fear. That’s the usual reaction from those who behold an angel.

However the angel assured Zechariah and told him not to be afraid. He then told this priest of God that his prayers had been heard. Only God knows how many years this couple had been praying, but on this day God gave assurance to this family that through His unlimited power God would soon give them a son and he was to be named John.

Friend, this was not a dream, nor was it a vision. This angel was an herald from Holy God in visible form, and he spoke audible words to Zechariah which he understood.

Such appearances are rare, but have great significance. In this case insight was given about this son who would soon be born. The angel stated that this son would be a joy and delight to his parents. Those were assuring words.

But more, the angel stated this son would be great in the sight of the Lord. He was to be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth and would turn many in Israel back to the Lord.

This son’s lifestyle was to be different. He was never to take wine or fermented drink. This was because he was sent by God to serve in the spirit and power of Elijah. He was to herald God’s arrival on earth in human form as the Messiah.

His service to God as the forerunner of the Messiah would soften the hearts within families. Parents would love and nurture their children. Children would respond to their parents. Even the hearts of hardened skeptics would be kindled to understand and respond to John’s message. Through God’s words, God would make hardened, stony hearts into soft, pliable, trusting hearts.

Zechariah was beside himself. As many would have done if we were in his shoes, he asked the angel: “How can I be sure that these things will happen?”
At this, the angel identifies himself as Gabriel who stands in the presence of God, and then, because of his doubt, he lays upon Zechariah the discipline of being unable to speak until the birth of the child is a reality.

Zechariah should have known that with God anything is possible. He is the God of miracles.