In societies like Israel, a woman’s value was largely measured by her ability to bear children. To be without children often resulted in hardships of many kinds as well as public shame. Children were important for the expansion and preservation of one’s family and fulfilling God’s command to fill the earth. That stands in stark contrast to the millions of children whose lives were snuffed out over the past 48 years. Elizabeth was old, barren and lonely giving up on ever having a child like all of her friends and relatives. At the same time Elizabeth remained faithful to God. She didn’t become bitter due to her disappointment, unrealized expectations and probable ridicule from other mothers. Although she didn’t understand she trusted God’s perfect plan and eventually accepted a marriage without children.
Now imagine what it would be like to have your husband come home from work unable to speak, filled with excitement and with the news you were going to have a baby boy in your old age?! Today’s reaction would be different than 2k years ago. At any rate, Elizabeth, I’m sure was excited; for one, their long-lost dream would soon become a reality, and, the child must be someone special since it was told by an angel and it would be a miracle baby.
If that weren’t enough excitement, seventy miles to the north, in Nazareth Elizabeth’s relative Mary, also spoke to the angel Gabriel and is expecting a child though she is a virgin. Something mysterious is going on and it isn’t the drinking water. So, Mary visits Elizabeth and what happens when they meet? Luke 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. The ‘fetus’ or baby recognizes the Messiah in Mary’s womb! Wow, the supernatural is off the charts. Clearly God is in complete control as he is today and tomorrow.
When Elizabeth gave birth, she insisted on giving him the name John which was not a family name. When Zachariah wrote the name John, another supernatural act occurred, Zachariah could immediately speak. No man or woman could have orchestrated these events. God in his perfect timing and perfect plan for all humanity will always take center stage and will never fail.
Like Elizabeth, Zachariah, Mary and Joseph we too can’t see tomorrow or understand how our current situation fits into anything. As a result, we often fret, worry, take matters into our own hands, and of course mess things up. Perhaps we need to stop sometimes and recognize God’s perfect timing and activity in our lives.
Pr. Bob Snitzer
By the Way: Today Confirmation 4:30
Sunday 12, 9:00 Morning worship. Sermon: Heaven’s Angels
10:15 No Sunday school until January 9.
Prepare for the coming King
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