After 400 years of silence from God, who would think restored hope in the Messiah was possible? Most likely, the entire nation of Israel had lost hope and likely real faith. Only a few remnants of the people kept their faith after generations of silence. But then…
Read Luke1:5-7, 17-25,42-45
5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest of Abijah’s division named Zechariah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord. 7 But they had no children because Elizabeth could not conceive, and both of them were well along in years.Excerpts from Luke 1
Why had Zechariah & Elizabeth Lost Hope?
Zechariah and Elizabeth were both descendants of Aaron which was a requirement to be a priest in the temple. The most coveted place to serve would be near or in the Holy of Holies. Many priests would never have an opportunity to serve in the Holy of Holies. One could only serve once, but there were more priests than there were opportunities. The position of High priest was chosen by lot. Imagine waiting year after year, hoping to be selected but never selected. Perhaps sometimes, his number would be so close, but not the exact number. After a while, one would give up hope of ever being selected as a high priest.
When Zechariah and Elizabeth married, they would have had dreams of having a son who would also become a priest in the temple. After years and years of hoping and waiting for a child, Elizabeth remained barren. Culturally, the people looked at the barrenness in shame. They assumed you must have sinned to remain barren. It caused great sadness in their lives even though they we both very righteous people.
At their age, hope disappeared. They still had faith that God would one day send the Messiah. But they could not have imagined that they would be part of the plan. John Maxwell wrote in his Life Lessons from Luke, “No matter how much we doubt it, our God is capable of doing incredible things!” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
My Own Lost Hope
Have you lost hope or faith that God would bless you in any area of your life? When I was a child, my greatest desire was to be a wife and mother. While in college, I received a definitive word from God that I would marry a widower with children; the years went by, and I wondered if I heard Him at all. I compromised by dating other good Christian boys and even a divorcee with children, but I knew this was a compromise and not really God’s plan. I gave up on hope and accepted the idea that Jesus was my husband and “my children” were those in the children’s department at church.
Zechariah & Elizabeth Have Restored Hope
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived and kept herself in seclusion for five months. She said, 25 “The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace among the people.”
42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed! 43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!”excerpts from Luke 1
In the minds of first-century citizens, it was incomprehensible that God would see one as righteous but not have blessed them with a child. Everyone knew that Zechariah never served as high priest and, the shame of all shame, Elizabeth was barren. The community would have assumed that though Zechariah and Elizabeth “appeared” to be righteous, they must have offended God somehow. Oh, the undeserved shame this would have brought on them.
But one day, in his old age, Zechariah heard his number called! Oh, what a day! Zechariah likely wanted to rush home and tell Elizabeth the news. But God had even better news for him. Zechariah entered the Holy of Holies. And there in that quiet and holy place, the angel appeared and told Zechariah the news of his coming child, a son! And that this son would be the prophet to “prepare the way” for the Messiah! (Doug Greenwold, Zechariah and Elizabeth: Persistent Faith in a Faithful God)
My Restored Hope
Do you have predetermined ideas of how and when your major life events will happen? Have you ever experienced “waiting on the Lord”? Have you waited so long that you felt you were waiting in vain?
I expected that marriage would come early in my 20s. I attended college but didn’t expect to graduate; majoring in acquiring an “MRS. Degree”, to meet a good Christian man and get married. Every year that passed after my graduation caused me to feel I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be. I felt men would see me as a career woman, not as someone whose greatest desire was to be a wife and a mother.
Until the day that Charlotte, my pastor’s wife, shared about another pastoral family who had been in a car accident. The wife and daughter didn’t survive. Not long after this, Charlotte insisted I needed to meet this grieving pastor and his two sons. I was reluctant at first. And when I finally agreed to go meet him, it was only to get Charlotte to stop bugging me about it. It turned out to be love at first sight. And we married a short four months later just after Christmas.
The restored hope of marriage and motherhood was the wonderful Christmas gift God gave me. I not only gained a husband but two sons as well!
But there’s more…
This is an excerpt from my writings at Gracefully Truthful. Click on over and get the rest of the story.
Pastor’s Wife (retired) & Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.