1 Dec 2011
Dear Praying Friend,
Have you noticed the way that the Lord always seems to be in the mode of preparation? Recently we looked at how the Lord led Pharaoh and his army into the trap of the parted waters of the Red Sea.
God knew that as long as the children of Jacob were in the wilderness they would be an easy target for the army of Pharaoh. So God prepared for this potential danger with a very effective trap. Any serious student of the God of Jacob would not have command his army to pursue these run-away slaves into a place that had been clearly created by God as a means of escape from the Egyptians. We can only assume that Pharaoh had firmly in place the blinders of pride and arrogance.
Let’s now fast forward to the time of the birth of Christ, where we see further evidence of the nature of constant preparation of God for His people.
Luke 1:5-7 (NASB77)
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron,and her name was Elizabeth.
6And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
God was preparing to introduce Immanuel, God with us, to mankind. It was not proper in the eyes of God to simply place God incarnate upon this earth without preparation. Of course prophets had spoken of this coming Messiah for hundreds of years, but in the eyes of our God this was not apparently sufficient preparation. Jesus needed His Elijah.
In the process of preparing John He prepared Zacharias and Elizabeth. In the passage above we are told of this preparation. First, they were righteous in the sight of God. We have strong tendencies to think that this righteousness in the sight of God would have been completely of their own making. I do not see this as a truth of the Word of God. Righteousness in the sight of God is a partnership. Time and insight will not allow us to pursue this matter further, suffice it to say we do not become righteous on our own. God’s word further states that they walked blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. Again a dynamic partnership is forcefully implied. Verse seven simply states and they had no child, Elizabeth was barren.
Yes, the barrenness of Elizabeth was just as much a part of God’s preparation as was their righteousness in the sight of God. It was this barrenness that caused them to pray. Listen to the words of Gabriel the spokesman from the very throne of God.
Luke 1:13 (NASB77)
13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. [underline added ]
In mysterious ways God induces us to pray for the very things that He desires, so that He can answer our prayers and bring great glory to His name.
Of course the bearing of John in Elizabeth’s old age was clearly preparation for a much greater miracle, the bearing of the Son of God by Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary a virgin. Zachariah, prophesying concerning John shortly after his birth gives us a picture of the place in God’s preparation that John would play during his life.
Luke 1:75-76 (NASB77)
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
76 "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;
The nature of God as a preparer has not changed. This essential characteristic of God is every bit as true in your life today as it was for Zachariah and Elizabeth. He is still giving His people, who are called by His name, strong desires for which we should pray. Please don’t miss this important fact: God gives us strong desires, for the purpose of preparing us to pray, in preparation for His work in and through our lives for the building of His kingdom and the expansion of His glory. However, we must always see God as our answer to any need.
The great needs of our Nation today are similar to the need of Elizabeth and Zachariah in the days preceding the birth of Christ, we need to pray for God’s intervention. We need to pray for a powerful coming of Immanuel. We need to pray that God will send His Spirit among us. We need to pray that God will soon send a great National revival to transform our land, for His glory and the building up of His Bride.