A Personal Surprise-Rejoice!

What unexpected surprise did the Lord have in store for Elizabeth and Zechariah? A Baby, but not just any baby! Their son would be one that would precede God’s own Son, Jesus, and seek to bring the people back to God. Here is the message from the Lord delivered by an angel in Luke 1:11-17.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Being a man of God, Zechariah knew that angels were sent from God and were heavenly beings- not earthly ones. That alone would put fear in one’s heart. Zechariah probably wondered what he had done wrong, why he was being singled out in the temple, what sin had he committed to offend God….? I’m sure his mind was racing. The angel realized this and wanted to put him at ease. He told him not to fear and that he had come with great news! I am sure that Zechariah was overwhelmed with joy when he heard the message. They would have a son, a son that would serve God, a son chosen for a great mission, a son that would have the power of God within him like Elijah had as a prophet, and he would be filled with God’s Holy Spirit even before he was born. This was spectacular new for a priest that his son, John, would be of godly importance with a great purpose. This was also great news as he and Elizabeth would have their dreams realized and have a son to raise and nurture. Their prayers had been answered.

What does this tell you about God? God hears our prayers and knows the desires of our heart. Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I love this verse as it shows me that God loves and cares for me and wants me to be happy. Not all of our desires are within God’s will though or His timing is not ours, but it gives me hope and assurance that God knows me. Often I’ve found that what I desire is not really right and He gives me something even better as His answer! This encounter with the angel also showed God’s personal involvement in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s lives. God is a personal God that has plans for us that are beyond our imagining and are for our good and His glory. A favorite life verse I claim is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We can be assured that just like the plans God had for John, He has plans for us. Our lives are ones with a purpose set out by God. Walking with Him in Faith, is the way to find out what that purpose is. Sometimes it takes a lifetime but when you find it, you know this is for your good and His glory! Praise God!

Linda

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