Zacharias strained to see the lots as they were cast to see who would be chosen to present the incense offering in the temple. It was a long time since he’d been in the mix this far along. Others started chanting his name to try to get the lots to cast in his favor. He knew he’d influenced many in his years as a priest. Now he blushed.
The final cast brought a cheer and many slaps on the back to the elder statesman. Preparations commenced for the ceremonial offering. The rope attached to his ankle brought a chill up his spine. A stark reminder of the times he’d pulled others out from behind the heavy curtain that separated men from God.
The shaking in his hands stopped, surprisingly, when he walked behind the veil. The pounding in his chest remained. “Please don’t give out now.”
The many years of training others on this protocol brought about a smooth end to this sacred ritual.
One more look at the altar brought a thought to mind. “This has been a climax for my priestly life. The only thing that could have come close would have been holding my own son in my arms.”
The sudden appearance of an angel sent Zacharias to the floor. His foot came within an inch of touching the base of the altar. The rope pulled up next to him. His attention was fixed on the angel’s calm, yet commanding, voice.
“Don’t be afraid, Zacharias, God has heard your prayer. Elizabeth will conceive a son to you. You are to name him John. He will bring many back to God and prepare their hearts for the kingdom.”
Zacharias trembled as he stood. “But, we’re too old for children. How can I know this for sure?”
The angel’s eyes widened. “I am Gabriel. God, Himself, told me to give you this message. You shall be mute until John is born.”
Zacharias raised his hand to protest, but his voice was silent. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he fell to his knees alone.
He replayed the scene in his mind. He realized Gabriel was talking about a prophesied forerunner for the Messiah. A smile found his face as he recalled the angel’s last words, “…until John is born.”
“It’s not too late for me. John will still be born to fulfill his mission. My mission is to help conceive him. God isn’t through with me, yet.” The thoughts raised the old man to his feet and sent him out to face the crowd that awaited him. He couldn’t wait for his duty time at the temple to end so he could break the news to Elizabeth.
If you don’t find hope in Zacharias’ story go back and read it again.
We find a priest who was devout in his treatment of God, yet remained childless.
We aren’t told whether he’d ever been selected by lot to ever enter the Holy of Holies in the temple before this time. If not he must have been convinced God had forgotten him completely by now.
We have a man near the end of his life wondering if he still had anything to contribute. With no legacy of a son who would remember him or what he did?
Then, in a matter of minutes, God stepped in with the most remarkable set of events to make the most amazing announcement of all time.
This over-the-hill, down-and-out priest was going to be used to begin the advent of God coming to us in our form.
The four hundred year silence of God to His chosen people was officially ended by an angelic visit to a common priest.
If you know God as well as I do it doesn’t surprise you in the least to see Him use someone whose life looks the least likely to be used in the manner God chooses to use.
I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope and comfort. This shy kid who grew up on a small farm on the edge of nowhere may still be used for something great by our awesome God. He can use you, too.
This Webster’s definition of great may be quite different from God’s definition of great, for me and for you.
My writing and speaking may reach thousands for the kingdom. Then again, it may just reach one who will reach the thousands, perhaps millions, for God.
The results are up to God. The work is up to us.
Do the thing God has given you today. Do it to the best of your ability for His glory. If you don’t have time to finish it today work on it when you can until the job is complete on your end.
It may be a simple thing for you. Perhaps a phone call you keep putting off, or an email you need to send. God has plans for your efforts, but it won’t get accomplished until you do your part.
Zacharias’ call was to enjoy intercourse with his wife. That’s all God told him to do to accomplish His will for him. That simple act set off a course of events that changed the world.
You’ll never know the repercussions of your action until you complete it.
That action may take time to complete. My writing friends will attest to the fact a book takes a long time to finish. I have one I’ve been laboring on for over five years now. I’m nearing the end of edits before I send it off to a publisher to see if they’re interested in taking it the next step in its journey. Its a labor of love, but a hard chore at times.
Sometimes I have to squeeze time into my workday in a truck to work on it. Sometimes it sits for days without anything being done because of time constraints. I trust it’s all in God’s timing as I do my part.
Then, the results are up to God.
I’ll see you later. Wade