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Hope is on the Way!

Are you ready for Christmas? It will be here before you know it! The story we love to read during Christmas is the beautiful narrative Luke captures in chapter 2 of his gospel. But there is another birth that parallels Jesus’ birth and Luke opens with this powerful narrative of how an aging priest, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, became parents of John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way for Jesus.

Luke opens his gospel where the Old Testament ends. Malachi had promised a prophet, Elijah, who would “turn hearts.” (Mal 4:6). Isaiah had promised a voice of one calling in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord. (Lk 3:4). Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son would be that promised one.

Darkness was rampant, but hope was on the way! Jesus and John were both born in a dark time in world history. Not only had there been no word from God in 400 years, but Israel was living under the rule of a monstrous, murderous man, Herod the Great, though there was nothing at all great about him.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we live in a dark time too. There is so much conflict on the world stage. The Enemy continues to do his dirty deeds, including influencing and fueling the moral and spiritual decline of our own culture. Light, peace, and hope are desperately needed in our time too.

No matter how dark the season, God was still at work and He still had those who remained devoted and obedient to Him. Two of those people were Zechariah and Elizabeth. Let’s take a look at a few observations and pertinent applications from their story captured in Luke 1:5-25.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous and faithful people in a dark time. (Lk 1:5-6). Zechariah and his wife were good people. They honored the Lord with their lives. Yet they had not been given the blessing of a child of their own, and at their ages, they thought that time had passed.

Zechariah and Elizabeth consistently served, obeyed and prayed. (Lk 1:8-10)

The priests drew lots to determine who would perform specific duties. Burning incense in the holy place was the opportunity of a lifetime for a priest, one they got only once in their lives. Can you imagine the excitement Zechariah must have felt when he drew that lot? What an opportunity for him to literally draw near to God!

As special as this moment was for Zechariah, if you’re a Christ-follower, you have the privilege of drawing near to God every single day in and through Jesus Christ! You are not limited in the amount of time you can worship Him, or offer up a prayer to Him, or seek Him. In Christ, you are given unlimited access to the God of Creation, the Heavenly Father, God Almighty!

What happens next, as Zechariah performed his priestly duty, was remarkable! While Zechariah is burning the incense, the angel of the Lord appears to him and tells him God has heard his prayer and that he and Elizabeth will have a son! (Lk 1:11-13)

God hears and answers the prayers of His faithful, obedient servants. Now, I know what you may be thinking. Is that really true? Does God hear and answer my prayers? The short answer is a resounding, “Yes!” But it may not always be the answer you’re expecting. Sometimes the answer is “yes;” sometimes it’s “no;” and other times it’s “not yet.” God always hears and considers our prayers. We can be absolutely confident of that. But the key is to always pray for what aligns with God’s desire, His will, His plan for your life. (1 Jn 5:14-15)

Maybe you’ve been praying for something a long time and you’re not seeing the result you long for. Maybe the “yes” will come; but for now, the answer is “wait” or “not yet.” Can you be ok with that? It’s not easy. And it’s especially hard when the answer you get is “no. But will you trust God, even when the answer isn’t what you expected or hoped for? For a long time, God’s answer to Zechariah’s prayer was “not yet, wait.” Amazingly, now he received the answer he had been waiting to hear! He would have the son he always wanted; and God had huge plans for his son too!

For much more, including how God can do the impossible in our lives, click here to listen to: Good News! Part 1 - Hope is On the Way!


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