Prelude to Praise - Luke 1:5-9
December 6, 2022, 9:00 AM

“ In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

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.”

Prelude is the preparation for worship or the introduction to a song. Often there is someone playing piano, or keyboard, or music through the speakers to prepare us for worship to set the mood. You might say the mood prior to the events surrounding the birth of Jesus was sober and dreary. It was not happy music. It was a feeling of barrenness and emptiness both in the history of Israel under Roman domination as well as literally the barrenness of the womb of an old couple Zechariah and Elizabeth.

Zechariah was a rural priest married to Elizabeth, both from the line of Aaron, the priestly lineage. They were childless, but the Bible says they pleased God. They were upright observing all the Lord’s commands and regulations. She must have wondered, “What’s wrong with me? Why is God punishing me?”

Before we can experience God’s power, we need to acknowledge that we are powerless. A person of faith can say, “Even if my prayers and desires are not met, I will remain faithful to serving and obeying the Lord.”

Like the Old Testament Saints, Sarah and Hanah, Elizabeth experienced the shame and ridicule of being barren. She was to give a son to Zechariah, but no children came though they tried.

Many will blame God and give up on God for not answering their prayer. In spite of the circumstances, Elizabeth and her husband served the Lord faithfully. Some will talk the talk but not walk the walk. They did both in serving God outwardly and honoring Him privately.

I’ve seen too many people get so disappointed they become bitter toward God drop out of church.

He was chosen by lot (and we know how God directed the lots or dice) to serve in lighting the incense at the temple before the altar. He was not the high priest, so this wasn’t the area of the Holy of Holies most likely, but it was a special honor and separated from the praying people.

This prelude was preparation for Elizabeth. Elizabeth had spent her whole lifetime being prepared by God to be John the Baptist’s mother – and she didn’t even know it.

Application: Ponder this, “Do you ever think God is preparing you for something according to His will?”

Prayer:  Lord, open my eyes that I may see your hand in my life. When things don’t work out how I think they should, help me to aske if you are using this to prepare me for your will.

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