Imagine yourself being born into the priestly line of Israel after the prophets have spoken. As a matter of fact its been over 400 years since God has directly made Himself known to His chosen people. You’re as devout as they come, and so is your wife. So why hasn’t God blessed you with a child?
You’re getting up there in years, not sure how much longer you’ll be around. Many of your peers have died. There are so many priests now that a drawing is held to determine which of you will be allowed to go into the Holy Of Holies to offer incense to Yahweh. Your name is never called. God must have forgotten you by now.
Your age gives you the respect to be near as the lots are cast. All eyes turn to you. Your face loses color, the room starts to spin. An arm comes around you to steady you. You are finally chosen to stand before God for His people.
The whirl of activity matches the motions in your head. You’ve taught others this ritual, now you must follow it to the letter or pay the ultimate cost. The rope is tied around your ankle in case you fail, you’ve help pull others out who blew it. Your mouth is dry as you approach the heavy veil that separates the most holy place on the planet from all but the chosen.
You’ve only dreamed of being behind the massive curtain. Now that you’re here you can feel your heart beating in your chest. You pray it doesn’t give out now. You’ve read about the alter, now you marvel at its majestic beauty. Your hands are shaking as you begin this sacred ritual. As you’re finishing you suddenly feel that you’re not alone.
Startled, you fall and pull the rope under the veil. Unbeknownst to you, you are now out of reach of the other priests. But, then again, none of them could claim to be in the presence of an angel. You stand, shaking, and look up into his face.
“Do not be afraid, Zacharias…” His voice is commanding, yet calm.
“How does he know my name?” He says the impossible… Elizabeth and I will have a son, a special son. The angel says other things that you will later recall as you ponder this experience.
“But, how can this be? Please, give me a sign.” You beg.
The angel strikes you mute and disappears. You’re left alone with your tears and regret. You must now face the world and fulfill your destiny.
A lot of people have been too harsh with old Zacharias in my opinion. I hope this picture I’ve painted for you has helped you feel his sandals on your feet for a moment. The only thing louder than the silence of God is when that silence is unexpectedly broken. Who would expect an elderly couple to be the ones to lead the roar? Our God is so unpredictable… so unexplainable. That’s what I love about Him most. If you have a god that can be understood, then your god is too small.
This wasn’t the first time God used a shriveled up uterus to bring a special son into the world. Remember Sarai? She didn’t believe God was going to fulfill that promise to her. Her culture said that they could have a legitimate heir through the offspring of a servant girl. So, rather than wait on God, she pushed her husband in bed with Haggai. We’re still reaping the repercussions from that fiasco!
Trust God! Even with the miraculous. Just remember that miracles don’t happen every day. Your situation may seem hopeless, but always remember we serve a God of hope. He may not give you the outcome you expect in your timing, but His Word promises that His ways are best. Trust God!
Don’t trust the culture. It’s led by the prince of the power of the air. Health, wealth and prosperity have always been in vogue. Remember Job’s friends? They just knew Job must have done something horrible for God to have judged him like He did. Sarai and Elizabeth both felt the heavy stigma that repressed them in their day. An empty womb was a sure judgement from God. How many preachers today have taken the bait and pushed the same agenda on the flocks entrusted to them?
For those of you who feel past your prime and are no longer of any use to anybody. I know that, as long as God gives you breath in your lungs, He’ll give you a purpose. Listen for the call on your life. Your experience can’t be matched by younger teachers in Sunday School. Perhaps two of you can work together to keep a class under control and pass on God’s truths. Mentor a younger spiritual sibling who’s looking for guidance. Encourage everybody who crosses your path. Hope is powerful!
Anybody who feels like they’ve really blown it for God (I think that would include all of us). Remember Zacharias. He may have been reprimanded, but he was still used by God. How do I know? He still had to have intercourse with Elizabeth for the fulfillment of the angel’s news to occur. God didn’t throw him away just because he doubted. Get back in the game and give your best for God! He’s not done with you until He calls you home.
For anybody who feels like they’re in a holding pattern, waiting so long to be used by God for anything. Remember Zacharias. Joseph, in the book of Genesis, was a slave and prisoner for years before God moved him into a position of influence. Moses spent 40 years between the time he left Egypt until he returned to lead God’s people home. You’re learning things now that will be very beneficial when God taps you for duty. Keep true to God, He’s watching you and testing your faithfulness.
Trust me on that one! I was 47 before God told me to write.
I’ll see you later. Wade