Finding God in the middle of the storm

Finding God in the middle of the storm

Finding God in the middle of the storm.

Zechariah the father of John

Luke 1:5-20

With Peter Veysie

George Methodist family church

28th November 2022

8am and 10am

In this last week having gone through the horrible experience of our entire flooding house being flooded and the challenges of losing all our valuable and treasured possessions, I began to realise that they were just worldly things – wereldse goed and what was important to me was family and the blessing of the wider family of the Lord. We were so blessed with numerous folk just reaching out to us too many to mention and we were so grateful including hands on care from our insurance company.

Create the picture in the temple

Hope and promise in a hopeless situation

  • Timing – Herod

The birth of John the Baptist foretold. In the time of Herod king of Judea 

 in the days of Herod: These events happened at a definite time. This was the man known as Herod the Great, who was at the end of a long and terrible reign. Ethnically, he was not a descendant of Israel, but of Jacob’s brother Esau – therefore an Edomite, or an Idumean. He was known for his spectacular building programs, but even more so for his paranoid cruelty, which drove him to execute many, including members of his own family.

2. Zechariah and Elizabeth

there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 

According to 2 Chronicles 13:1–2, Abijah became king of Judah in the 18th year of the reign of Jeroboam, and reigned for three years.His name means “my father is God”.

Zechariah means – remembered by God which is also very significant in terms of the 400 years of silence that they had experienced and Elizabeth means “God is my abundance or oath” which is also highly significant in the sense that she had gone through so much in the middle of her storms of not having a child and then still declaring through her name that the Lord was her abundance.

6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 

I love the fact that they were seen as righteous by God and obedient, yet also stigmatized by their barrenness (but they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren).

3. Duty in the temple

8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshippers were praying outside. ( I like the fact that they were praying outside and not inside – I think it’s time for us to be more out there in prayer but just not in a wierd kind of way).

Only priests from a particular lineage could serve in the temple. Over the years the number of priests multiplied, (there were said to be as many as 20,000 priests in the time of Jesus) so they used the lot to determine which priests would serve when. The lot to serve might fall to a priest only once in his life. Thsi was literally drawing the short straw.

To a godly man like Zechariah, this was probably the biggest event of his life, a tremendous privilege, a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

He must have wondered what it would be like for him to enter the holy place, and if God had something special to speak to him in this special event of his life.

It is also easy to imagine that Zechariah would have questioned the other priests that had been before as to what would happen in the temple, maybe if they had any unique spiritual experience when they were there. The whole event was filled with enormous anticipation.

As he faced the golden altar of incense, to his right would be the table of showbread, and to his left would be the golden lampstand, which provided the only light for the holy place. I think we need to be reminded that the temple was filled with the Presence of the Lord – Shekinah which actually means weight and the powerful present of the Holy Spirit. It’s important to note this and to be aware of the fact that it’s important for us to find time and space especially in the middle of our storms to move into a place where you experience this whether it’s in your car, or home or up a mountain or at the sea. I have found this so important with the literal storm and the flooding that we have experienced lately.

4. The Angel Gabriel

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 

12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: ‘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. 

Like most angels in the Bible, the first thing this angel has to say to his human contact is “Do not be afraid.”

Zechariah must have thought, “Does this happen to everyone who does this? The other guys didn’t tell me anything about this!”

Biblical names don’t get much stronger than Gabriel—the archangel who visited the Virgin Mary to announce she would be the mother of Jesus Christ and also to Zecheriah as we have read in the story. Hebrew in origin, the name Gabriel is translated as “God is my strength,” “God is my strong man” or “hero of God”. We also see that this same angel visited Daniel. Daniel 8:15-17.

It is so profound to me that in the middle of the storm and in the temple God sends a messenger (Angelos) to speak to Zechariah about his son. He is not alone. We need to build our theology up when it comes to angels as I think that we don’t know enough about them and we need to know more. They always point to God and the truth and we are warned never to worship them.

5. John – prophetic words over a son

The name John is derived from the Hebrew Yohanan, meaning “graced by God.”

Origin: John is a biblical name, first appearing in its Hebrew form in the Old Testament. The New Testament, which was written in Greek, adapted the Hebrew name Yohanan as Ioannes, later Johannes in Late Latin, which then became John in English. I am Peter John – the small pebble graced by God!!!

John’s prophetic purpose spoke out in the temple to Zecheriah

1. A joy and a delight

14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth. I really believe that it is so important to speak well about our children and to bless them with kind words.

2. Great in the sight of the Lord

15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. Even Jesus declared that there was noone quite as great as John.

3. Restoration

16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. There is a season and time of restoration coming and we are trusting the Lord for great things going forward having all endured the many storms of covid etc…

4. In the spirit and power of Elijah

17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah,

Turn the hearts of parents to children

Disobedient to wisdom

Make ready a people prepared for the Lord

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. We are in a crisis with regards to children in our nation and it is time that the parents hearts are turned to their children. We have a generation that is rising up and they need encouragment to lead into the future with wisdom and insight.

The Lord is calling us to this mission as we make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

We have no idea as to when the Lord will return but soon was when he rose from the dead and we are two thousand plus years away from that and so each day we need to be prepared and live knowing that His presence is with us, but also aware of the second coming of Christ.

5. Questions

18 Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.’

I would have also questioned the angel especially as an old man who had not had a child and now was going to in their late years. I am sure that we all have questions to ask about things that are in the spiritual realm especially when they don’t make sense !!!

19 The angel said to him, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.’

Silence

I thought a lot about this silence and how the Lord had been silence for 400 years and then he silences Zechariah for 9 months which such good news. I think that sometimes we need to be quiet and wait for the right timing to speak and this is exactly what happened to Zechariah with regards to his son. It might also have been quite nice for Elizabeth to have a bit of peace and quiet around the house 🙂

0 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *