Friday, October 24, 2014

Obscure Bible Heroes {Blogging Through The Alphabet - Z}

Z is for Zacharias

Luke 1:5-20-  "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.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season."

Zacharias is best known as the father of John the Baptist. He was an active Hebrew priest who had a deep faith in God, and was chosen as the father of the great forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is noteworthy that Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth were older, yet had no children. They were faithful servants, and Zacharias was busy in the service of the temple. The Biblical description of them was that they were righteous and blameless. Most definitely, they were special people who spent a life of service to God.

When the angel of God first appeared to Zacharias to tell him of the promise of a son, Zacharias did not believe the messenger. Because of his unbelief, he was stricken for the duration of Elisabeth's pregnancy, and was unable to speak.

I can sympathize with Zacharias and his unbelief. He and Elisabeth were well past their child bearing years, and things like this did not "just happen". Being a humble servant, Zacharias probably did not compare himself to the similar story of a promise made to Abram and Sarai many years before.

When Elisabeth was full term, and the baby was born, she and Zacharias were careful to closely follow the instructions given to them by the angel of God, and named the baby John, despite protests from well meaning relatives. They raised him up according to the vows and commands that God had instructed, and John became a great man and preacher.

Luke 11:51- "From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation."

As the story continues, we don't hear much more about the life of Zacharias and Elisabeth, but we do know that Zacharias met an untimely death doing what he loved - the service at the temple. What a man he must have been, that even at his older age, he was able to instill such strong character and a fierce determination for right in the heart of his son.

Like Zacharias, I would like to be found faithful to carry out the promises of God in my life. I would like to overcome my times of fear, doubt, and unbelief, and allow God to use me despite my failures. I pray that I can instill such strong character traits in my children as Zacharias instilled in John the Baptist. And when the time of my departure from the life comes, may I be found still in the service of my Lord.

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