So here is what we know. God created the heavens and the earth and created humans in his image to be the caretakers of all that was good, showing the character of God. But instead, humans wanting to be like God (I guess they forgot they were already created in his image) chose to define good and evil for themselves rather than trust the one who created it all. And in the middle of the greatest rebellion in all of history, God steps in and says, "I'm going to fix this, I'm sending the Wounded Victor (Genesis 3) and I will fix what you have broken." This is the great mercy of God because he could have just wiped it all out.
From there God calls out a people for himself, the Israelites, and starting with Abraham, says that through you I'm going to bless all people. It was through the Israelites that God was going to show his goodness and his grace. And he makes an unbearable covenant. He grows the Israelites from 70 people to over a million and then frees them from slavery by his own might making it very clear that he is God of all. He brings them into the wilderness and creates community. He teaches the people how to worship and how to live and gives them good boundaries. He explains how the creation was meant to work together. And he reminds them the Wounded Victor, Messiah is coming.
So generation after generation, through good and holy times, through bad and rebellious times, they pass down the stories. They remember and rejoice and mourn. They hold on to the hope, the promise that Messiah is coming and God sends them prophets who tell of what he will look like, what he will do and how they will know him when he comes.
And then God goes silent for 400 years.
But let me assure you, he was so absent. He was continuing to lead and prepare the way ...
Take a few drops of Frankincense in the palm of your hand and inhale deeply. Massage any remaining oil on the bottoms of your feet. Read through Luke 1:5-25. Close your eyes and see every detail. Imagine every emotion running through Zechariah's mind. Feel the weight of it all. Ask God to reveal himself to you today. Ask him to show you the weight of this passage.
Zechariah was a preist married to Elizabeth. Scripture says they were righteous people, but had no children. In those days it was seen as God's punishment. So if there was no outward visible sin, there must be a hidden sin the people could not see, otherwise God would have blessed them with children. Even though they were righteous, Elizabeth felt shame. And here again, we find a woman who is past the age of giving birth.
So Zechariah was chosen to serve in the temple sanctuary, this is a once in a lifetime event. He was entering into the Holy of Holies. This was such a sacred act that he could be killed in the process, so they would tie bells to the bottoms of his robes so they could hear him walking around and a rope to his leg so if the bells stopped, and he died, they could drag him out without having to go in and be killed themselves.
He goes in to pray for the forgiveness of the nation of Israel. While he goes in, the nation stands outside waiting to see if God will give them a sign they are forgiven. While inside, praying for the people an angel comes and fills the room and tells him Elizabeth is going to have a baby. And this baby is going to be special, its going to prepare the people for the Wounded Victor, Messiah.
So with one declaration, God answers a corporate prayer for the coming of the Messiah, and a personal prayer for a child. God broke the silence with the announcement that Messiah was coming.
I want you to see that God answered a prayer that Zechariah had stopped praying. His wife was past the years of giving birth. There was no more hope left for a child, but God ... God steps into the hopeless and helpless and all seems lost situation, and says I will do this. I hear you, I have not forgotten you. I'm being faithful.
Is there a place in your life right now were you feel hopeless and forgotten? He hears you dear one. And he is always faithful.