Scripture Study: Luke 1:68-79
LUKE 1:76 (ESV):
 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,”
Have you ever wondered why you are doing what you’re doing in life–in your job, in your retirement, in your ministry? I often thought to myself, “LORD, is what I’m doing right now, really your plan for my life, or is it my plan?” How can I know and be assured what my “lot” in life really is? Great questions, but what are the answers. Can the Book of Life, God’s Word, the Bible, give the answers?
God had a PLAN or the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth, an older couple” in the church.
Zachariah was a priest of the division of Abijah (one of the 24 sections of priests) and Elizabeth was of the lineage of Aaron. Both were “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6).
All should know that God always has a PLAN by which He works. That PLAN isn’t on the same timetable as ours. God puts His PLAN into action when it’s the right time.
During your lifetime, I’m sure you can recall the times you asked God to help you get that promotion or that particular job or position. How about the time you wanted to buy that certain home and the deal didn’t go through–“Yes, Yes, and Yes!” Maybe you remember your high school days when you had your eye on a certain young man or young lady, but a relationship never developed and you couldn’t understand why.
God has a SPECIFIC PLAN in life for you and a SPECIFIC PLAN for my life.
NOW HERE IT IS: We can accept His PLAN or, we can by-pass it and do what we want. The PROBLEM with doing our ‘own thing’ is we’ll suffer the consequences.
If we are impatient and choose to leave God out of our lives, we’re headed for a disaster.
On the other hand, if we consult God concerning our issues; our doubts, our uneasiness in making the right decisions…asking Him to guide us, listening closely to His response, and then patiently waiting for His PLAN to unfold, we’ll be in for a VICTORY.
Zachariah and Elizabeth were a devoted couple and a good example for us tom exemplify.
They followed all the rules, regulations, and commandments of the Lord. The words they expressed to other people in normal everyday communication were words they lived by. They didn’t live one way and then live their personal lives another way. People could tell just by looking at them, they were “blameless.” There was nothing in the world that indicated dishonesty or deliberate sin in their lives. Their names would never appear in tabloid news.
Zachariah was truly devoted to carrying on the priestly duties assigned to him. Scripture tells us: “As was the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter [the sanctuary of] the temple of the Lord and burn incense” (Luke 1:9 AMP).
I had to look up the meaning of the word “LOT”. According to “The American Heritage Dictionary”, the word “lot” means “An object used in making a determination or choice by chance.”
We might think of making a CHOICE by rolling dice, pulling the short straw, or even flipping a coin. In the days of Zechariah, priestly duties were assigned by “lot.” Each of the priests were required to spend a week in the Temple two times a year. Keeping the incense burning on the altar of the Most Holy Place was a top honor for the priests for a Temple Priest could offer incense only once in his lifetime. What a great honor that must have been. Someone said, a modern comparison of a priest burning incense in the Temple is like the local pastor today filling in for Billy Graham.
As Zachariah was praying and burning incense at the altar, God’s PLAN kicked in.
Zachariah and Elizabeth were going to have a baby. This was the beginning of God’s PLAN for their parenthood.
The angel Gabriel said to Zechariah, “Do not be afraid, Zachariah, because your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John [God is favorable]” (Luke 1:13).
Gabriel went on to say in VERSE 14:
“And you shall have joy and exultant delight, and many will rejoice over his birth”
Look at what Zechariah and Elizabeth will have–not only a son, but they will have JOY, EXULTANT DELIGHT and people will observe their rejoicing hearts.
This is a WIN/WIN situation here. Don’t you think it’s wonderful how God works through His PLANS, fulfilling them at the right time?
Now this PREGNANCY didn’t exactly happen at the time Zechariah and Elizabeth would have liked it to. It didn’t occur at their requested timing, because it wasn’t in the PLAN God had in mind. What Zechariah and Elizabeth seemed to forget is the same thing you and I forget.
If we really want our PRAYERS answered, we must keep our minds open and remember, that our God is an expert in bringing the impossible to light.
GABRIEL not only told the elderly couple [verse 7: “both were far advanced in years”; John Wycliffe, The Wycliffe Bible] they would bring forth a son and his name would be John, but…“he will be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit even in and from his mother’s womb” (verse 15).
God’s wonderful PLAN was unveiled to Zechariah and Elizabeth; that they were living God’s PLAN for their lives, and John would follow through to announce the coming of the Messiah.
All of this was a bit difficult for Zechariah to take in and believe, so he questioned how this could be. There is a difference between asking God a question about His plans, and “questioning” His plans.
Because of DISBELIEF, his “questioning,” Zechariah wasn’t permitted to speak until the baby was ready to be named.
I can remember my wife and I having nightly discussions after dinner, discussing names for our first-born. Since technology hadn’t come into play regarding sonograms–knowing if it was a girl or boy, we devised two lists: BOYS – GIRLS.
The “how about’s” started with names from our favorite television shows. Then family names we liked from both families, to suggestions from friends and parents, and the list went on, and on, and on. We finally decided after choosing AMY for almost 9 months, if our first child is a girl, we liked the 1964 television series, KAREN, played by the actress Debbie Watson. I don’t know whether everyone we knew agreed with the how we chose the name, but we were sure!
So our first daughter was named KAREN MARIE, with the same middle name as my wife’s.
And that’s my story. I’m sure you have your own story.
Zechariah and Elizabeth’s gathered friends and family wanted to end the disagreements going on about name choices for the new bay, so they decided to ask Zechariah what the baby’s name should be. Now that’s “no duh” decision.
Since Zechariah was “mute”, they made signs to him concerning what the child’s name should be and he asked for a tablet to write on.
He wrote without hesitation, “His name shall be John.” At that very moment his tongue was loosed so he could talk.
God’s PLAN was in action and moving right along as scheduled.
God opened the mouth and lips of Zechariah and he began praising God.
Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, divinely inspired, and began to prophesy.
Have you ever had moments in your life, like this one?
God had forgiven Zechariah’s failure to believe and the little bit of distrust he held in his heart.
When we start LIVING GOD’S PLAN for our lives–believe His Word, placing our trust in Him. We’ll end up praising God, as Zechariah did.
ZECHARIAH’S WORDS OF PRAISE, Luke 1:68-79, are a SONG.
The FIRST 8 verses deal with SALVATION and will appear in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The SECOND part of the SONG (verses 76-79) refers to the ministry of John, the forerunner of Christ Jesus.
God had a PLAN for John and John lived that PLAN.
God’s PLAN was to use John to PREPARE the people of the day to recognize and accept the Messiah when He appeared on the scene. John preached God’s message!
You and I are players in God’s PLAN, as well. We were in God’s PLAN from the time of conception.
We may not realize it, the situations we face, the struggles we encounter, the detours we come upon, but all are part of God’s PLAN for our lives. We perhaps haven’t recognized it as of yet, but God’s PLAN is there!
We are LIVING God’s PLAN when we witness for Christ, when we love others, feed the hungry, visit the shut ins. When we step out in FAITH, God will work in our lives revealing His plans for each one of us who trust in Him.
Paul said, “He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you” (Philippians 1:6).
John lived the PLAN God had for his life–he PREACHED a message of CONFESSION of SIN; REPENTANCE of SIN, and SALVATION through Christ Jesus, the Messiah.
We too, need to follow God’s PLAN for our lives of confession, repentance, and acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
And NO, we don’t have to wear John’s clothing of camel’s-hair, wear a leather girdle about our waist, live on a diet of locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). That was John living out God’s specific PLAN for John.
God’s PLAN for us is specifically designed for only us to live out.
Then, and only then, will God’s PLAN for us be complete, because we will be able to spend eternity in His Kingdom!
Photos chosen: From Google IMAGE Search.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted in text (ESV – English Standard Version).