In Luke 1, we are told that Zacharias and Elizabeth were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (verse 6). This verse lets us know that Zacharias and Elizabeth were a Godly couple who lived a life that glorified their God. Zacharias served as a priest in the temple where his lot fell to burn incense in the temple of the Lord. This may only happen to a priest once in their life and was considered a great honor.
What happens while Zacharias is praying in the temple while burning incense is an even greater honor. The angel Gabriel appears to tell Zacharias that Elizabeth will bear a son. This son will be a messenger to the world, following in the pattern of Elijah, paving the way for the Messiah by turning the hearts of the people of Israel to their God (verses 13-17).
Zacharias, considering only his own situation (his and Elizabeth’s advanced age), lacked the faith to believe the angel that stood before him. This problem often occurs when we we become dependent upon our own circumstances and our own abilities. Zacharias was placing limits on God based on his own mortal conditions… namely that God could not bless them with a child because of their age. This seems absurd, but how often do we use age, education, social status, skill levels, etc. as an excuse for whey we cannot be successful in an endeavor and therefore should not make an attempt.
The angel placed no requirement or condition on Zacharias for the success of God’s plan to bless himself and Elizabeth with a child. Zacharias’ only role was to simply believe the message delivered by the angel Gabriel that stood before him. Unfortunately, having placed all of his faith in his own circumstances, Zacharias didn’t have enough faith to place in God’s promise. As a result, we can see that Zacharias was essentially sidelined for a time period. He was not able to share with others the great news that had been delivered to him by Gabriel or even make others aware of his visitor. Our inability or unwillingness to exercise faith in God always has a crippling effect in our lives.
After the birth of his son, Zacharias has a different perspective. Having spent more than nine months unable to speak, Zacharias has had a lot of time to consider his faith and how to properly excise that faith. The words spoken by Gabriel have probably replayed in his mind over and over again. When asked what the name of his son should be be, there was no hesitation in Zacharias. The angel had told him that his son would be John and Zacharias’ respsonse to those gathered around was to write “His name is John”. This opportunity to exercise his faith would not be missed… it would be done just as the word from God had declared.
Walking, and speaking, in faith energizes the believer. Having faith and trusting in God brings not only a peace but also a confidence into our lives. Zacharias, having exercised his faith in God’s plan, is again able to speak. Read the prophetic words that Zacharias proclaims and notice the confidence, boldness, and hope that is contained in these words…
Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began, That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us, To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel. (Luke 1:67-80)
Zacharias looks ahead and prophesies regarding the work that God would perform in sending a messiah into the world. This was no small prophecy to be spoken considering that it had been over 400 years since Israel had received prophecy from God. Israel was in the midst of a dark time. You could say that they were experiencing a spiritual drought. The prophecy of Zacharias could only be inspired through faith in God to deliver His people. I can only imagine that this prophecy represented an “uncommon hope” given the circumstances in Israel at the time. But we can look back on it and recognize that God fulfilled these words in a remarkable way.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding us, we can have complete hope and confidence in the outcome when we put our faith in God and His perfect plan. Complete faith in God leaves no room for doubt and despair. God’s plan doesn’t rest in our circumstances, our abilities, or even our faith. God provided the messiah and the sacrificial lamb that provided for our salvation… eternity in His presence. Have faith in Him to handle every situation and circumstance in your life.
Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David
May you be filled with with faith (confidence) in God as we enter into 2021.