Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 139:1-3,13-15; Acts 13:22-26;Luke 1:57-66,80
The Birth of John the Baptist
He will be called John. (Luke 1:60)
Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted so much to have a child, especially as they watched their neighbors’ families grow. But as deep as their desire was, God’s desire was even deeper— his desire that their faith grow so strong that it could be an example to believers throughout the centuries.
Day by day, as Elizabeth and Zechariah prayed for a child, they were challenged to continue to hope in God. Every day, they asked, “Is God trustworthy? Does he love us? Will he provide for us?” Then, finally, Gabriel appeared and assured them that their prayers were answered. But God still hadn’t gotten the desire of his heart. Zechariah initially scoffed at the angel’s news. He couldn’t believe that God had finally come through. He still needed more training in faith so that his light could shine brightly.
Struck mute by the angel, Zechariah entered an unexpected, even unorthodox time of blessing from the Lord. God used these months of silence to teach Zechariah so that he could in turn teach his son—and all of us—what it means to rely on God. When John was born, Zechariah’s response bore witness to the fruit of this time of grace. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he proclaimed God’s faithfulness and prophesied great blessings over his son.
How important this time was for Zechariah—and for the whole of salvation history! John was destined to spend years alone in the desert, listening to God and awaiting the time when he should appear and announce the Messiah’s coming. Then, when he was imprisoned by Herod and awaiting his fate, John again needed to be sustained by all that God had promised. Surely he leaned on the witness of his parents’ own patience and trust as he faced these challenges.
We all have unfulfilled desires and hopes. As beloved children of God, we should never give up. We can place our full confidence in the One who hears every prayer in our hearts. As we wait on the Lord, we can ask him to mold our characters, just as he did for Zechariah. In the end, we will find that his plan is far better than our own!
“Father, how wonderful are your ways! You know everything about me. You never stop surrounding me with your love. Lord, I trust in you.” ~wau