Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Annunciation to Zechariah
1 Chronicles 24: 1-19
1 Chronicles 24:3 - “With the help of Zadok a descendant of Eleazar and Ahimelek a descendant of Ithamar, David separated them into divisions for their appointed order of ministering.”
In today’s Bible portion, we see King David making a priestly order for worship from the descendants of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died before their father because they brought a strange fire into God’s presence. There were 24 priestly divisions from Eleazer and Ithamar’s descendants. The priests were selected to serve in the tabernacle in the Temple, later when King Solomon built it by casting lots.
The theme of today’s devotional is “Annunciation to Zechariah”. The Gospel of Luke 1:5-7, it says: “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. 6. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”
Here we see both Zechariah and Elizabeth as descendants of Aaron. They were blameless before God and kept all the commandments of God, yet they were childless. In the Old Testament, there are similar stories: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Hannah all were childless and waited a long period of time for God to answer their prayers. Here both Zechariah and Elizabeth were advanced in age. At this point in their lives, they are probably debating if they should still pray for a child.
In the passage, we see Zechariah the priest has received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to burn incense in the Temple by having the lot land on him. As he was in the Temple burning incense, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him saying, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:13, 17)
Zechariah did not believe the Angel of the Lord as he was thinking about the natural state of their bodies, especially Elizabeth’s. Instead of punishing him, God was merciful to Zechariah by keeping him mute until the birth of his son, John, perhaps to prevent him from speaking any more words of unbelief.
We all go through this similar situation of having an unanswered prayer. Throughout the Bible, God promises us that He hears our prayers, not just in our schedule, but on his schedule. Always remember that God has bigger plans for our lives. Just look at Zechariah and Elizabeth, who became the parents of John the Baptist and the waymaker of Jesus the Messiah!
Heavenly Father, Please help us to trust you even when our prayers are not answered how we wanted. Lord, let you will be done in our lives as it is in Heaven.
Thought of the Day
“Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God.”
– Mother Teresa
Epiphany Marthoma Church, New York