Tuesday, August 25, 2009

LITN I, Verses 5 - 25

5. And this is where I'll begin the story: In the time of King Herod's reign in Judea there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah. He was married to a woman named Elizabeth, who was also a descendant of Aaron.

6. By all accounts, both of them lived very honorable and fulfilling lives that were pleasing in the sight of God. They observed the commandments, and just basically had reputations which were above reproach.

7. It seemed that the only thing they lacked in their lives was a child of their own. For some reason, Elizabeth had never been able to conceive, and at the time in which the curtain rises on this drama, they were both well advanced in years.

8. Anyway, one day when Zechariah's particular division was on duty, and he was serving as priest before God,

9. he was chosen by lot (a custom of the priesthood) to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn the incense.

10. So when the time for the burning of the incense came, all those who had assembled to worship that day were just quietly praying outside.

11. All of a sudden, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing at the right side of the altar of incense!

12. Well, when Zechariah got a good look at this imposing, celestial creature, he nearly collapsed from fear.

13. But the angel very calmly and directly said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah...your prayer has been heard...the secret desire of your heart has been granted. Your wife Elizabeth is going to bear a son, and you are to call him John.

14. And this boy of yours is going to bring you so much joy...you can't even imagine! In fact, his birth will bring a dimension of sheer delight to many, many people.

15. And he will achieve unprecedented greatness in the sight of the Lord, and will never desire to drink his fill of wine or any other alcoholic beverage, because he will be born fully filled with the Holy Spirit!

16. He will effectively bring back the relevance of the real God to many of the people of Israel.

17. And in the sight of the Lord, he will be Elijah...or the Elijah of his day...because he will reunite the hearts of the generations...his message will resonate with both the parents and the children, and so it will re-connect them and make them as one. Even the skeptics and the doubters...the cynics and the indifferent...will be changed and motivated by the sense of expectancy created by his preaching. He will literally make people ready for a revelation of the real God."

18. Ironically, as the angel was speaking of doubters and skeptics, Zechariah's own sense of reason caused him to suddenly flee in his mind to the seat of his natural logic, despite the fact that an angel was standing in the Temple, prophesying to him! So he asked the supernatural messenger, "How can I be sure that what you're telling me is the truth? I mean, I'm an old man, if you know what I mean...I lost my virility long ago, and I'm married to an old woman, well past the change of life."

19. The angel said to him, "Don't insult me, Zechariah...I am Gabriel! I live in the very presence of God, and have been sent here to speak to you, and to tell you this good news. If there were any possibility that this thing wasn't going to happen, in spite of the biological facts of your life, I wouldn't be standing here!

20. How can you second-guess the very thing for which you have prayed? God has decreed this reality in the heavenly realm, but you must permit it to manifest on the earth by your agreement with Him. So this is what I will do...so that you won't inadvertently abort your own baby by your doubt-filled speech, I will protect the seed from the destructive potential of your own words. I will cause you to be totally mute until the day of your son's birth!"

21. Meanwhile, the people were still waiting outside for Zechariah, wondering why it was taking him so long to come out.

22. When eventually he did emerge, he couldn't even make a sound. But somehow, through his own, makeshift kind of sign language, he was able to convey to them that he had seen a vision in the temple, and somehow they comprehended.

23. When his time of service was completed, he silently returned home.

24. And, sure enough, after some time his wife Elizabeth actually became pregnant, as if she were a young woman married to a young man, just as the angel had said. The whole thing, particularly the pregnancy, was such an adjustment...such a shock to her, really... that for five months she remained in complete seclusion.

25. But during that whole time she never wavered in faith..."The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these strange days He has shown His favor, and has created this whole new reality for us!"


Anonymous said...

Lou Smith said...

I find a lot of lessons in the account of Zacharia and Elizabeth. As I was reading this, it jumped out at me that sometimes we just need to be silent and the very thing that is in our hearts will be manifest in the natural. In this case, God literally shut Zac up, so the manifestation could take place, but we can practice this w/o God doing it for us. Sometimes we should just let the heart speak for us and let the mouth rest! Great message; tough application.

Anonymous said...

Lou Smith said...

And another thing.... I have not been to Body Builders in a while so I have to get these things off my mind. I was raised against gambling and lotteries. As I read through the Scriptures about the custom of casting lots, it seems to me that it is much like gambling. It has to do with chances. I know the priests didn't involve money when they ... Read Morecast lots, but if God works through lots, can he work through gambling? Not that I'm advocating it. I looked up all the references to casting lots and wonder why they didn't just ASK God for His will and allow Him to speak to them. They even cast lots to determie who would replace Judas as one the 12 disciples. I have always wondered about this. Just putting it out there.

Erik said...

CLEARLY – Do not insult the Angel of God, rejecting the ultimate Viagra !!! In this case, The Angel overcame the rejection and blessed Zechariah and Elizabeth with ability and mobility, like Abraham and Sarah. That is hope for Us All.

Vitality never ends, and Angels are assigned for our energy, outside of our natural concept of our ability to invigorate. No limit to the ability of The Spirit or Humans.

Shhhhh! Speak to encourage only what we desire, ‘ Can’t say anything nice about yourself or others, don’t say nothin’ at all. In other words, just shut up if it ain’t producin’ ’nuthin. While speaking to your hearts content of blessing, benefit, praise, and excellence in yourself, everyone else, and God. Especially know, God will speak up especially well of those whom anyone does not stand in the gap for.

That’s how God rolls.

Son of Zadok said...

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted

Ecclesiastes 3:2

Son of Zadok said...

"We're not one in quantity,

we're one in quality"

~Gary Sigler

The One really is being made manifest in the many.

karl cobos said...

serving God...a chance...secret desires...supernatural intervention...a promise...hope...fulfillment...JOY...peace to many...a whole new world.

word ver: lessin

karl cobos said...

I also love this passage because my son Zachary also came by way of a birth miracle, and secret desires/prayers for a child.

I remember placing verses such as these and those with Abraham/Sarah and others from Davidic writings before God in prayer, saying that if He wanted, and saw that it would be a good thing for us, "I believe that You can do that for my wife and I, too."

...within two months(after NINE YEARS of being barren!), the announcement came that my wife Natasha was pregnant!

...secret desire... promises...faith...divine intervention...hope...fulfillment, and great joy!

Zachary James Cobos (also a 2 month preemie) will be turning 8 on Sept. 27.

God also came through with the other desires regarding him, confirmed by many, that he would be really intelligent, as well as beautiful...for His glory!!!

...so thank you for another chance here to testify of what God has done, and what He can do.

karl cobos said...

...I wanted to mention that the name Zachary (or Zechariah) means "God remembered."

Izumi/JOY said...

God morning, beloved Universe! Happy birthday, P. Deb!

OK... I can see this is going to take awhile for me to read; haven't made it past v. 5.

"And this is where I'll begin the story..." Beautiful! (isn't the psalmist anointing sooo 1 Kings 8:11 & 2 Ch. 5:14, now?)

I'm enjoying all the blog comments, too.

Avatar said...

I agree Izumi/Joy...so much to explore!

The one I'll pick is v.8...the single word "anyway"...it's like a "therefore"...and points the way to seeing the "letter" that this Gospel is. Luke digresses into a doctor's musing that he may have even been involved with..."what was up with Elizabeth's body?"...well, "anyway" back to the story...

Izumi/JOY said...

Bizarro, Avatar. I actually picked out that very word from v. 8, too.

"Anyway"... the power went out in my house, while I was typing it! Thought maybe God wanted me to Selah the Word.

So, I am.

Anonymous said...

Verse 19 made me laugh... "If there were any possibility that this thing wasn't going to happen, in spite of the biological facts of your life, I wouldn't be standing here!" Gabriel was like "DUH!!"

and verse 20... wow. How often do we all do that in our own lives! I love this line... "God has decreed this reality in the heavenly realm, but you must permit it to manifest on the earth by your agreement with Him." wow, wow, wow.. it really is in our hands.

Awesome Bish.
Lindsey Pettite