Joshua 13-15 Luke 1:57-80
“The people who heard about them wondered, saying, ‘What will this child be?’ because the Lord was with him. Then Zechariah, John’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: … ‘Now you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go before the Lord to prepare his way. You will make his people know that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven.’” (Luke 1:66-67, 76-77 NCV)
I imagine Zechariah must have had a difficult nine months. He was struck dumb for his disbelief when the angel announced that his prayer was answered and he couldn’t share the joy of the news that he was going to be a father properly. The baby was born and everyone rejoices with Elizabeth, forgetting about dear old dad who couldn’t say anything. The naming ceremony comes and mom, being obedient to the Lord and her husband lets those rejoicing with her know that they’re gonna call the baby John. Only then do the onlookers remember dad and seek his opinion. So Zechariah wrote down the name and immediately He was able to speak and praise God. Apparently this got the friends and family upset, because the Bible says that they were alarmed. Then they wondered what kind of kid this John was going to be. Zechariah made that clear as well: John would be the one to prepare the way for the Messiah. He would let people know that they would be saved through the forgiveness of sins.
Children are a great joy, but, as Zechariah showed, obedience to God is even greater. Sometimes we must overcome well-meaning friends and family to be obedient to God. “Wouldn’t you prefer to name the boy after you?” or “Why won’t you honor your grandfather. He was so good to you.” Those kinds of names would have made sense, but God had given Zechariah different instructions and he obeyed. We see the results of that obedience in this passage. How often do we get ideas in our heads about things we think need to be done? These ideas may not line up with God’s plan, but the temptation to follow them is strong. When we give into those temptations, we may gain some momentary joy, but we never have long term satisfaction. When we reject those temptations and follow God instead, even though we may have difficulties, we strengthen our relationship with God and gain lasting joy. I wish I could say that obedience was a no brainer, but I still give in to my temptations instead of obeying God every day.
Lord, I face all kinds of temptations to stray away from You every day. Help me to ignore the temptations that would lead me away from Your will and learn to follow You more closely.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.