2004-09-22 - God's Promises
In Luke Chapter One, we find two promises given, as well as two different reactions to these promises. Let's take a close look at God's promise to Zechariah and to Mary, regarding the forthcoming birth of their sons, John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ.
Zechariah was an elderly priest. He and his wife had no children. This was a source of dishonor for people of their culture. I can imagine early on in their marriage, that they prayed fervently for a child. As Zechariah was burning incense in the Temple, the angel Gabriel appeared to him. Let's listen in on the exchange. All verses are from the NLT Bible.
Luke 1:13 But the angel said, "Don't be afraid, Zechariah! For God has heard your prayer, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son! And you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice with you at his birth."
Luke 1:18 Zechariah said to the angel, "How can I know this will happen? I'm an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years."
Notice Zechariah puts his circumstances in front of God's power. "He is saying to God, how can this take place? Look my situation, look at me, and look at my wife. We are old, and my wife is barren. Give me a sign, God!" (I myself think his wife being pregnant is sign enough.)
You and I often respond to God in the same manner. Thanks for the promise God, but it can't happen. You don't know my circumstances like I do. I appreciate your promises, but I don't believe.
We want to trust the promise, but not the Promisor. Trust the Promisor and the promise will take care of itself.
Trust the Promisor, and the promise will take care of itself.
Luke 1:20 And now, since you didn't believe what I said, you won't be able to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly come true at the proper time.
Zechariah's lack of belief does not circumvent God's plan. His wife becomes pregnant and gives birth to John. However, his disbelief robs him of the blessing of sharing with others what has happened. His unbelief causes him to be mute. Unbelief is always mute; it does not have a message.
Now Gabriel tells Mary she will have a child.
Luke 1:30 "Don't be frightened, Mary," the angel told her, "for God has decided to bless you! 31 You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus."
Mary's response seems similar to Zechariah.
Luke 1:34: Mary asked the angel, "But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin."
Don't miss the subtle, but important, difference in Mary's reaction. The question is "how can I have a baby," not "how can YOU God produce the miracle?" Mary puts God before the circumstance of her being a virgin. Mary is humbly asking how this can be possible. "I, Mary can not do this alone, I need God's intervention." Zechariah places his situation in front of God's power. God should always be in front of us, not behind! Let God be God in your life. He comes first, not our situation.
Notice Gabriel's answers to Mary's question of faith, and Mary's response:
Luke 1:37: "For nothing is impossible with God." 38 Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants."
This is the attitude we should strive for. An attitude of "God, I know all things are possible through You. Here I am, wholly and faithfully available to be your servant, to carry out Your will and to humbly receive your blessing."
Father, help us to place YOU in front of our circumstances, and not our circumstances in front of You. Increase our faith, so that we may walk in Your blessings. In Christ's name. Amen.
Questions or Comments?