Scripture Reading: Luke 1:11-13 (New International Version)

“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.”

Thought for the day:

Someone once told me that they’d returned from a ‘once in a lifetime holiday’. I asked him how it went and his humorous reply was “Great, but I wouldn’t go again.” 

In our verses today we see Zechariah taking up this once in a lifetime role of going into the Holy of Holies to burn incense – Priests only got this ‘honour’ once. This day was ordained for Zechariah and was all tied up in the purpose and plan of God. The timing of all this is incredible to comprehend. John had to precede Jesus and was to be the ‘forerunner’ to the Messiah. None of this was an accident and it was all part of the plan. Last week, I challenged you to take your faith to a new level; to believe that everything that comes into your life has passed through God’s hands. This week, we’re building on that foundation. 

Clearly, Zechariah wasn’t happy with his situation and had been praying to God for a child. He continued faithfully with his duties while all the time crying on God for something more. Here we see two important lessons for us today:

Firstly, it’s perfectly natural to be afraid when faced with such obviously supernatural events, but note the first words of the angel: “Don’t be afraid”. Despite our fallen humanity, in Christ we can approach God boldly. We can engage in spiritual activities without fear. So many times in the Scriptures we see God telling His people ‘to be of good courage’, ‘to not fear’ or ‘to take heart’. We are to be encouraged at all times and remember that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. Secondly, God is specific in what He says to us. “Your prayer has been answered” may have caused some confusion as I’m sure that Zechariah would have prayed for more than one thing. So, God goes further and states which prayer He’s answering at this time. “Your wife will bear you a son.” Note that He doesn’t say ‘a child’ – He says “a son”. A very specific answer to a probably very specific prayer. Be encouraged today that God hears and answers our prayers!

Prayer and Application:

Perhaps today you could make a list of 5 specific requests in your journal and then take some time talking with the Lord about each one. Remember to write down the answers in your journal when they come!