McDowell Technical Community College

Burnsville Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Greetings Friends and Happy New Year!

Pastor Ed Couser

Yancey County

Recently while reading chapter one in the Gospel of Luke, the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth caught my attention.  Reading about their experience, reminded me, that their story is one of great faith and hope.  Luke 1:5, provides the setting, “the days of Herod.”  It was a dark time because Herod the Great was an evil person (see Mathew 2).  Yet in the midst of this darkness, there were two shining lights, Zechariah and Elizabeth.  In Luke 1:6, we get a glimpse of their characters; “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”  The word “walk” in Scripture has to do with a person’s life, especially their conduct.  Zechariah and Elizabeth conducted their life according to God’s Word.  They patterned their lives after the divine standard, His ten commandments.  To me, Biblical righteousness is an inward quality that manifests itself in loving obedience to God.  Living our lives after the divine standard, His ten commandments does not save us, instead it is a love response to our God who saves us.  Salvation is a free gift from our Lord, all we have to do is accept it.  So, Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in their character; their love for God motivated them to be obedient to His Word, and they were steadfast in their faith in God.  They were committed to living out their faith.  What a living testimony they were for God.

Luke 1:7, provides us with an insight to a challenge they were facing; “they had no child.”  For a Jewish couple to be childless was thought to be a sign of God’s displeasure.  At the very least, this resulted in shame and reproach (see Luke 1:25).  Surely, to have a child was a desire of their hearts.  Certainly, they prayed.  They waited.  But only hearing silence.  What do you and I do when God is silent?  Zechariah and Elizabeth could have reacted in anger and bitterness.  Instead they continued serving God with hope in their hearts. Nothing had changed except the passage of time.  Zechariah and Elizabeth still were steadfast in their devotion to God.  Why?  They did not let their personal challenge keep them from loving and serving God.  Nothing had changed,  They were still right before God.  They were still patterned their lives after God’s Word.  They loved God and refused to allow this to become a stumbling block in their relationship with Him.  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).  Faith knows that silence does not last forever.  “While he was serving” (Luke 1:8).  Zechariah is getting ready to hear from God.  What if he had quit?  How often do we miss out on hearing from God because we cease serving and trusting in Him?  While Zechariah was serving God, an angel of the Lord (Gabriel, Luke 1:19) appeared.  Gabriel came to announce that they would have a son.  Luke 1: 14 – 17 emphasizes John the Baptist’s role in God’s redemptive plan. John would be the forerunner who would announce the coming Messiah – Jesus!

Zechariah and Elizabeth were willing to be used by God, they learned that God’s silence is not forever. They were faithful to Him in spite of their challenge. What about us?  We are waiting for Jesus’ second coming.  As we wait, will we continue to serve and worship Him, in spite of our challenge(s)?  What I need is the kind of faith displayed in the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth.  Like them, we need to trust the Word of God.  Jesus is coming again, (Titus 1:2, “God does not lie”), could He come in 2019?  No one knows the day or hour of His appearing, but until that glorious day, let us continue to lovingly obey God’s Word and remain steadfast in our faith, like Zechariah and Elizabeth!

 

God Bless You,

Pastor Ed