It seems in our world today that everyone is looking for Hope. Some would say that all hope is lost. Illness and disease are an all time high. Substance abuse is on a rampage. Our jails are full and overcrowded. Polls show that very few trust the government. Terrorist threats are high. War is only a whisper away. Natural disasters are leaving many homeless and lost without family. Every where we look we can find depression and hopelessness. But, faith sees light in the darkest of nights.
In Zechariah’s day, it looked like all hope was lost too. Judah, which was supposed to be David’s throne forever, was now occupied by a Roman King named Herod. What had happened to their promise? God hasn’t spoken in over 400 years.
Had He forsaken them?
Had He given up on them?
Where was He in the midst of their struggle?
Did He even care anymore?
Yet Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth still had faith that Hope was not lost. They still trusted God.
Luke 1:5-11 (KJV)
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.
Isn’t it amazing how God works? Just as the throne of David laid empty and hopeless, so did the house of Zechariah. Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth was barren and well beyond child bearing years. Yet, in the midst of hopelessness, Zechariah and Elizabeth still had faith.
Instead of grumbling and complaining, they choose to keep rejoicing. In the place of fear, they held on to trust. They believed in God’s sovereignty, even though it seemed God had not only abandoned them but their nation as well.
They held fast to their faith, that somehow, someway, God was going to do something un-explainable. They continued to walk in the ways of God. What they said they believed they acted out. They were not without sin, yet because of their faith in God, they stood before Him blameless. In the middle of his crisis, Zechariah continued to serve. He continued to be faithful to God. He continued to be faithful to his calling.
And for what? Can you imagine, Zechariah, in the temple, preparing to present the offering before God and the Angel of God appears to him. Zechariah. The lowly, elderly priest, who God had not blessed with a child, was blessed to be the first one to hear from God in over 400 years. There in the temple as he carried out his purpose in life, God showed up. In the meanwhile of his life, God in His soveriegnity sends a miracle.
Just when all hope seemed lost, God blessed Zechariah’s faithfulness. Sometimes God lets us get to the end of our rope before He gives us a new one. The greatest miracles are those that come when we, inspite of our circumstances, continue to be faithful to God.
Zechariah’s faith was the Faith of Christmas.
Do you have that faith? In the middle of your hopeless situation do you still believe God can work a miracle?
Father, I pray that you open our eyes to the truth, Your truth. Father, give us wisdom to know that in the quiet times, You are still there working Your will in our life. Remind us of the promise of Jeremiah 29:11, Joshua 1:5 and all the other times You said You would never leave us or forsake us. Remind us of Your soveriegnty. Give us the Faith of Christmas. The Faith that believes when all seems hopeless. The Faith that believes even in the darkest of nights. The Faith that knows You are still God and You are still in control of all things. The Faith that believes we are Yours. The Faith that believes You always take care of Your children. Yes, Father, give us the Faith of Christmas. The Faith that changes lives.
In Jesus Name, Amen.