Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Connection & observation - Lk. 1:5-25

Connections

Lk.1:5

“… belonged to the priestly division of Abijah . . . ”
“Now the divisions of the descendants of Aaron were these . . .
(1 Chron.24:1-19)[vs.10]
Lk.1:6

“Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.”
“... prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life ...” (Phil.2:15-16a)
Lk.1:9
“... go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.”
“... make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall ...” (Ex.30:1-10)
Lk.1:15

“He is never to take wine or other fermented drink ...”
“... he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he ...” (Num.6:1-21)[vs.3]
Lk.1:16

“Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.”
“... Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” (Matt.3:1-6)[vs.5-6]
Lk.1:17
“And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous - to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. ‘He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.’” (Mal.4:5-6)
“... if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” (Matt. 11:7-9)[vs.14]
Lk.1:18“Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.’”
"Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, 'Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?'” (Gen.17:17)
Lk.1:25

“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
“Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, ‘God has taken away my reproach.’” (Gen.30:22-23)

Observations

1. To be raised with a heritage of faith, to live to a ripe old age, to be "upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly" (1:5-6) and to be actively engaged in ministry with God's people - does it get any better than that?

2. If we were to suddenly, literally see with our own eyes even just a small part of the rest of the reality that surrounds us, not one of us would not be "gripped with fear." (1:11-12) On the scale of "the rest of reality yet unseen," an angel appearing and relaying to us a message from God to us is a "small thing." How much more should we be humbled at the thought of standing in the presence of the holy, living God who is over all the angels and all things?

3. The greatest joy for any parent should be that their children live godly lives in God's eyes (1:13-17).

4. As God sent John to turn many back to real life, I have to wonder - who is God crossing my path with to steer me more toward him and am I open to what God is teaching me through them? (1:17)

5. Like Zechariah's life, my life is filled with many things, many things that are very important - a marriage, a ministry, etc. But the ultimate thing that must kept as priority one is that I be "ready" and "prepared for the Lord." (1:17b)

6. Even the upright, obedient, blameless follower of God can wrestle with faith and can do so even though confronted with undeniable, miraculous, in-your-face sort of evidence. Even the most godly have feet of clay. For some strange reason, that thought simultaneously gives me hope and calls for all the more humility on my part. (1:18)

7. God doesn't take unbelief lightly. He disciplined Zechariah for his unbelief (1:19-22). And for good reason, this challenges me to believe him no matter what!

8. God is working is plan on his own, so to speak, time schedule (1:20b), and nothing or no one can derail his work - whether it be Zechariah's unbelief or shortcomings or my own.

9. It's all too easy to mistake what people think of you for what God thinks of you (1:25).

10. God's grace appears in many ways. By grace, Zechariah wasn't left with his unbelief unchallenged. By grace, Elizabeth wasn't left childless. By grace, a people needing the Lord were sent a man of God to prepare them for the Lord. "The Lord has done this" (1:25) and much, much more for me, by his grace.