Unexpected Promise

Luke 1.5-25

Zechariah is unexpectedly surprised…opportunity to offer incense for the people, appearance of Gabriel, and the news that he’s going to be a daddy…and not just of any son, but a son with an amazing prophetic ministry, integral to God’s plan of redemption for His people.

Everything that God has promised in the OT is coming to pass. The plan is in motion, the stage is set. The showdown will be quickly underway. God cares about the salvation of His people…but as we said last week, He also cares about the salvation of the nations. He will rescue those who turn to Him in faith. He will reconcile heaven and earth. His plan has cosmic repercussions.

But this story reminds us that in the midst of the bigness of God’s plan for reaching all peoples, He is still concerned about the lives of individuals. He cared about Zechariah and Elizabeth’s pain. He knew the questions and sideways glances that others gave them. And while He could have answered their prayer for a son much earlier in life when it was more convenient and they had more energy, in His perfect timing He chose to bless them with an incredible son in their old age. God doesn’t conform Himself to our wishes or dreams for ourselves… God is not a genie in a bottle, and prayer is not a divine vending machine. He is actively involved in the lives of His people to bring about His purposes…His glory and our good.

God was actively involved in the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and He’s actively involved in our lives as well. On the macro level, He wants to see this valley impacted for His kingdom. On the micro level, that happens as each one of us seeks to impact one or two around us, bringing them one step closer to Jesus. I love the fact that Zechariah and Elizabeth still trusted God in the midst of their pain…that they walked blamelessly. They weren’t perfect…we see Zechariah’s, doubt, even though he should have known better. But nevertheless they were committed to following God.

So what about you? What prayer are you waiting to have answered? Are you trusting God in the midst of it? How has He surprised you in unexpected ways? Who can you impact, bringing them one step closer to Jesus?

If you are not a follower of God today, the first step is trusting in Jesus. He’s the long-awaited Hero we’ve been longing for…the only One who can rescue us. He wants to give you life today. Don’t wait.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Luke series entitled Redefining the Family. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster

Weekend Passage – September 12

Luke 1:5-25

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.

Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.

24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)