God Breaks the Silence
JULY 29 - Nº 210 Luke 1:1-25
The Old Testament prophets predicted the coming of a Messiah. They prophesied about a Savior who would deliver the Israelites from their sins and put an end to the oppression they endured from other nations. Then, for 400 years God remained silent. He did not speak a single word through the prophets; or visit His people in the form of an angel; or demonstrate His power in an epic storm. Until . . . . . . one day, an elderly priest named Zechariah was chosen to burn incense at the golden altar inside the Temple. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and finally it was his turn! Zechariah was a righteous man who had been married to a godly woman named Elizabeth for many years. But there was one thing missing in their lives—they had never been able to have children. As Zechariah entered the Temple that day, the people gathered outside as they usually did during the time of this daily offering. They prayed that God would accept their gift offered by Zechariah. While Zechariah was busy completing his priestly chores, an angel suddenly appeared beside the altar. Zechariah was terrified. He thought that the Angel of Death had come for him and that he was about to die!
But the angel calmed him down. “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah,” he said. “Your prayers have been answered. Elizabeth will give birth to a son, and you are to name him John. He will bring great joy to you and will be important in the eyes of the Lord. He is the one who will prepare the people for the Messiah.” Zechariah asked the angel, “How is this possible? We are both too old to have children!” The angel replied, “My name is Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God. He sent me to give you this good news and yet you are doubting me! Because of this, you will not be able to speak until everything I have just prophesied comes true.” The whole process of offering the incense was taking a lot longer than usual and the people began to wonder what could have gone wrong. When Zechariah finally came out of the Temple, he could not speak, so he made signs with his hands. From the look on his face and the gestures he was making, they realized that he had seen a vision. When he had finished all his duties in the Temple that week, Zechariah went home. Not long after this, Elizabeth became pregnant. For five months she stayed secluded. Then, when everyone could see that she was pregnant, she announced, “The Lord has done this for me. He has shown me that He is pleased with me and has taken away my disgrace.” No longer would she be looked down on for not being able to have a child. No longer could others say that God was not pleased with her. No doubt, she and Zechariah had prayed for many years that God would give them a child. Finally, when the passing of time seemed to make it impossible, He surprised them with joy!
Sometimes God’s delays seem to make our prayers invalid or the answers we desire impossible. But as Zechariah and Elizabeth discovered, nothing is impossible for God! And nothing, including time, can hinder Him from accomplishing His purposes. We can trust Him as we wait for His blessings.