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  • East Martin CRC

Silence Broken

Luke 1:5-17

Verse s 8-9 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

Zechariah was a priest in the eighth of twenty four divisions of priests. Each division served 2 weeks a year and they cast lots to see who would serve in the special tasks of Temple life. This casting of lots was the way God had set up the system and so there is no doubt that God is choosing Zechariah for this task on this particular day.

God had been silent for 400 years. There had been no prophets and so no messages. Zechariah had no reason to believe this special honor was any different than the ones he had heard about in the past. Yes, it was an honor to be the one chosen to burn the incense but wasn’t it really just an ordinary Temple task? He likely went in to do the task without a thought that it would take longer than normal. Boy, was he in for a surprise!

He was going about burning the incense when suddenly he wasn’t alone. We have all had times when we suddenly realize that someone is standing with us, but it has never been an angel that appeared. We would likely respond the same way that this old priest did, with fear. The angel of the Lord gives the typical angel response, “Don’t fear!”

Being startled is different than being scared. Yes, Zechariah had reason to be startled but the angel commanded him not to be afraid. That command would not have been necessary had the priest simply been startled. Zechariah was afraid because he knew that this angel was from God and would be able to pass judgment on him directly from God. But hadn’t Zechariah been obeying the law in both by the law and the spirit of the law, what reason could he have to fear?

Remember, this is the first message from God in 400 years. Because they knew that God controlled the lots that were cast, Zechariah knew that he wasn’t burning incense before the Lord out of chance so that meant God had chosen him to hear the first message of the era. Too often we get to a certain age and we think we are no longer of use to God, but the fact is that if we are still on this planet, He has use for us. The question is, are we being intentional about being useful to Him?

Making It Personal

What does it mean to you to be useful? How readily do you listen to the Lord? What is something that you know you should do but you struggle with obeying?

Making It Personal Kids

How do you think you would react if an angel came to see you while you were alone? Does Jesus want you to be useful for Him? What do you think you can do for Him?

Closing Prayer

Father, You had been silent for many years and we can’t blame You as people weren’t obeying. Give us hearts that long to obey You as we have Your Word available to us all the time. Don’t let us allow Your Word to be unimportant in our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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