Advent Devotional – Thursday, December 15, 2016 – The Blessings of a Child
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9 according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. – Luke 1:5-25
I recently spoke to a man who is the father of 8 children. He told me he simply cannot imagine being an old man, alone without children. His children are such a huge presence in his life, he cannot fathom being without them. But that is just where we find Zechariah. Old, and without children. I imagine him a little sad, and heartbroken. There are people who choose not to have children, but Zechariah was not one of them!
I can completely understand his doubt, when the angel Gabriel came to him, to tell him that he was soon to be a father. It was simply not possible in Zechariah‘s mind! It would require a mighty miracle of God‘s hand! I do not think Zechariah doubted God‘s power. He was well versed in God‘s power and might. I just think he was afraid to be excited about God granting him such a blessing! Afraid he might have misunderstood, or God might change his mind! Afraid to completely let go, and go crazy, like he wanted to in his heart!
When the angel Gabriel muted him, I bet in a strange way this brought JOY to Zechariah‘s heart!!! It was a confirmation that God’s hand was at work here, and that God was insulted over Zechariah‘s doubt! It would have been interesting to see exactly how Zechariah told his wife, without words, that she was going to be a momma! I can only imagine the celebration in the household of Zechariah!
God wants to bless those who serve Him well. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts. He, like our earthly daddy, wants to see us happy! He blesses us despite our doubt, and he deserves our undivided praise, devotion, and obedience. He is a mighty God.
Thank you, Lord, for showing us the miracle of life, through Zechariah. Thank you for showing us your power, and your compassion. Let us make a stronger commitment to you this Christmas season, and give you all the praise and glory you deserve. We love you and are privileged to be your children!