Regardless of our age, God is the God of the unexpected. He is constantly surprising me with His provision, His help in times of need, His grace and the way God resolves problems in unexpected ways. The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth is truly one of great surprise. Elizabeth and Zechariah were old and she was beyond child bearing age. She had tried for years to have children but was unable to conceive. She did not let her barrenness grow into bitterness because scripture tells us they were righteous in the sight of God. They held Him and His ways in highest regard and loved serving Him. Zechariah was not prepared for the message the angel came to deliver as we will see tomorrow.
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. Luke 1:5-11
What does this small portion of Jesus’ story show us about God? God uses ordinary people like you and me to do His work. In 2 Corinthians 6:7-8 Paul talks about working for God. “We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are not always well received as Paul admits but God has a purpose and work for each one of us. Following God leads to righteous behavior and contentment even in difficult times. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 reminds us of this truth, “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.”
As you ponder this godly couple today, think about your commitment to God. Are you filled with faith regardless of the circumstances? Are you letting the root of bitterness grow when you don’t seem to get your way? Are you ready for God to surprise you this season? Open your heart to Him as His story, truths and love unfold for us this Christmas.