by Christina Farris
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. Elizabeth appeared to be barren she was old along with her husband Zecharias. This couple was righteous before God. They had faith. They had enough faith that Zecharias never stopped praying for a child, even when it seem mostly likely Elizabeth could not conceive. Apparently she might been still capable despite her age. I always picture her to be about the age of Sarah who was beyond capabilities of having children that when she conceived which was a true miracle at ninety. The miracle for Elizabeth was not her age, nor the conception of a child but the events surrounding this conception. More like the conception of Samson when an angel came and told Samson mother she would have a child. The fact that angel came and told a few couples of a conception is only evidence God uses angels for special announcements. An angel will sound the trumpet at Christ coming. Angels also pour out God's wrath. Yet angels are often though of as good heavenly beings until Satan comes to mind. This angel's name was Gabriel that came to Zacharias. Gabriel is mentioned in Daniel 8 and 9. Daniel 9 the prophecy concerns the coming of Christ and time frame in which he will appear. Gabriel job was to bring forth news concerning not only coming of Christ but his forerunner, the man that would prophecy and prepare the way for the Messiah coming. God uses messengers to tells his people of special events. Yet angels in general are never seen.
Who was praying, Zecharias was praying for a child, despite his wife ability or his to help her conceive. Yet he did not give up but continued to pray even when in the holies of holies performing the duties of his priesthood inside the temple. Gabriel came and told Zecharias his wife would conceive. In my mind I wonder how long it took for Zecharias to run home and try and get his wife pregnant. Yet we know first must come Zecharias doubt and his disablement to speak of this vision because of his unbelief. Why was Zecharias even praying if he could not believe for a child. His heart perhaps as a man was longing for an heir, maybe even heart broke in a since because his wife whom he love had never conceived. The ability impossible or so he thought. The pain of not having children is worse for some then others. Yet it does not mean God does not hear.
The angel appearance was not for any ordinary birth, this conception and birth of a child had a purpose. This child would be the forerunner of Christ and turn the hearts of the people back to God and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth and he would not drink strong drinks or wine. No child born was ever filled with the Holy Spirit even from His mother's womb. In fact this was a special birth and calling that was not necessarily John choosing. John being the name of the child that would be born. And unusual name for his family. Why I say not necessarily John choosing was he had not choice in his call before birth. We do not know John full story or how it played out in history as far as his desire or personal choice. Yet we know John preached, after al his father was a preacher and part of the priesthood. He would be following in his father's steps and ancestory linage. We know after the events of the baptism and John was imprisoned he sent his disciples to question whether he was really the Messiah or was there one to come. Much like his father, perhaps he had doubts despite gifts of the Holy Spirit to bring the people to repentance, or the story of his conception and the vision surrounding the conception. Empowerment of the Holy Spirit does not stop one from being human, only enables one to do the task God has called one too.
Zecharais needed proof and so he asked the angel how he would know it. The angel told Zecharias who he was and that is name is Gabriel, now Gabriel would of been over a thousand years old at this point because the prophecy of Daniel was over a thousand years old. The imagery of the event and who spoke to Zechrais and it was in a vision/visitation and Zecharais is fully alert but yet struggling at what perhaps what he could see during this experience, so Gabriel said you not going to be able to talk. When Zecharais came out of the temple they understood something had happened but had no clue what. Afer his day of performing his duties were over he went home and his wife conceived.
The fact is we often pray for things we desire in our hearts but never expect it to happen, nor expect God to send a messenger to proclaim or speak directly to our hearts on the matter to proclaim what will come to be. No one is ready for God to move in their lives even today, though He still works in the hearts and lives of his people. The point being God is listening and often moves when the impossibility is almost impossible to happen, and yet He desire to give us those things of our heart. Yet God used Zecharias desire to bring about the coming of Christ through bring forth the forerunner of Christ.
God can take our desires and use them for his purpose in glory. Samuel a desire of his mother, who would give him up, had no clue he become a famous prophet for God. I wonder how could Samuel's mother allow the prophet of two evil sons raise her son, the man Eli must of been a very good prophet. Sometimes the choice individual makes is far different then God's plan. Yet the Holy Spirit is able to move a person to do His will despite their desire.
Remember God way is best when we yield to His power. God way is best when we have a heart and desire to fulfill God's will without doubt. Zecharias not able to speak for nine months had to be pure torture, yet joy filled his soul the moment Elizabeth gave birth and he verbally announced his name to be John. He thought he have to write it and found his voice once more, because belief came at the appearance of his son. There was no ultra sound or it might of gained his voice quicker knowing the baby was a boy, the world will never know.
Dear Heavenly Father, as you grant our prayers and give us vision, help us to know that not only you hear our heart cry but you desire to grant our hearts cry, In Jesus precious name, Amen.
Continual Scripture Study for Devotion:Daniel 9:21-27 KJV
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.