From Shame to Honor
[The Lord] has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people. Luke 1:25
It’s that time of the year again, when families gather to celebrate the festive season together. Some of us, however, dread meeting certain “concerned” relatives whose questions can make those who are still single or childless feel that there’s something wrong with them.
Imagine the plight of Elizabeth, who was childless despite being married for many years. In her culture, that was seen as a sign of God’s disfavor (see 1 Samuel 1:5–6) and could actually be considered shameful. So while Elizabeth had been living righteously (Luke 1:6), her neighbors and relatives may have suspected otherwise.
Nonetheless, Elizabeth and her husband continued to serve the Lord faithfully. Then, when both were well advanced in years, a miracle occurred. God heard her prayer (v. 13). He loves to show us His favor (v. 25). And though He may seem to delay, His timing is always right and His wisdom always perfect. For Elizabeth and her husband, God had a special gift: a child who would become the Messiah’s forerunner (Isaiah 40:3–5).
Do you feel inadequate because you seem to lack something—a university degree, a spouse, a child, a job, a house? Keep living for Him faithfully and waiting patiently for Him and His plan, just as Elizabeth did. No matter our circumstances, God is working in and through us. He knows your heart. He hears your prayers.
God, You are forever faithful and good. Help us to keep trusting in You, even when we experience heartache.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron (Luke 1:5). God had designated that only Aaron’s descendants could serve as priests (1 Chronicles 23:13). Israel’s priesthood was divided into twenty-four divisions, with each division rotating to serve in the temple for just two weeks every year (24:1–19). With so many priests, lots were cast to determine which specific priest would have the once-in-a-lifetime privilege to burn incense in the Holy Place. Coupled with the angel announcing the birth of a son despite their old age, this would have been the highest point of Zechariah’s life (Luke 1:8–13, 18). The same archangel Gabriel, who told Daniel the meaning of the vision that concerns “the appointed time of the end” (Daniel 8:19), now appears to Zechariah, whose name means “the Lord has remembered.” God remembered His promise to send the Messiah and now sets in motion the events of the end times.