We've been studying Luke in Sunday School for several months now. It's a great time of digging deep into the story of Christ. Today, I decided to transfer my notes into a journal and it's amazing how you can see something new every time you look at the Word.
Here are some of my thoughts about Zacharias and Elizabeth:
Chapter 1, verse 6 says, "And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."
Righteous. Blameless. This is the way God saw them.
But verse 7 shows us how the world viewed them. "But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years." Old and dried up. It was assumed, back in the day, that childlessness was the result of God's judgement. Clearly, this was not the case. And yet even this blameless, righteous guy, standing face to face with an angel, came up short on faith.
So, Gabriel gives him news about a baby. Zacharias more or less says, "Prove it." Gabriel says, "You asked for it." And Zacharias is silenced until the birth of his son. He finishes up his priestly duties and heads home. Still mute. At some point he has relations with his wife Elizabeth -which as a side note is probably very appealing to most men: sex without the obligation of conversation. ;-) She conceives a child.
Here's the part that jumped off the page to me today (yes, I'm finally getting to the point) -- In verse 25 Elizabeth says, "Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."
Stage notes: Spotlight opens on Liz at center stage and... cue the music.
"It's all about me: Elizabeth
And all this is for me, to take away my reproach
It's not about God and his desire to save all humanity from their sinful state..."
Yeah, I quit before I had to rhyme something with reproach. Anyway, I really don't think she got it. Okay, I'll cut her some slack -does God ever have multiple purposes? Sure. Does His big picture include smaller, individual blessing? Yeah, yeah. Was her husband in a position to articulate helpful information? Not exactly.
Still, her focus was as narrow as it could possibly be. Oh, one more: Do I do the exact same thing? Absolutely.
Jump ahead to verse 41.
"And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth (important words) was filled with the Holy Spirit."
Thanks to the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth's eyes are opened and she understands that she is part of something much bigger than just public opinion regarding barren women.
And so my personal application is a prayer that when I am tempted to narrow my focus and make it all about me, the Holy Spirit will open my eyes and give me a greater vision and a more clear picture of my part in God's plan.