Next up? The good news according to Dr Luke.
For 400 years there is silence from heaven. No prophets, no revelation. The people of God carry on. They continue to pray and worship. It becomes routine. The church I attend uses a contemporary worship service format. One reason I left the church of my childhood is that it used a liturgical service. All the words we said were written for us in a book.
Worship can become routine. We do it because we do it because that’s what we do. Then something happens. Last week our power went out right before service started. It broke up the routine and we had to decide to worship not because it’s what we do but because we want to connect with the God of the universe, with the great God of mercy, with the God who loves us enough to die for us.
Zechariah was doing his job, his routine and a messenger of the great God he was serving showed up and had an answer to his prayer. It’s what we should expect. We should expect God to answer. He is listening. He is aware. He is watching and waiting for His perfect timing. Sometimes the routine becomes the thing. We forget that there is a God and a relationship with this God behind all the trappings.
“When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old. One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”’
Luke 1:5-20 – NLT
I guess what I’m getting out of this is don’t give up praying. Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. We have a God who hears our prayers and will answer them. Sometimes the answer is NO, and sometimes it is WAIT. What’s the difference? Time.
There are people that I have prayed for to get saved for over a decade with no change. There are others who did decide to follow Jesus. So I keep on praying and believing that God is hearing me and that someday he will take away the barrenness in this relationship and bring new life.