“…there was a priest named Zechariah,..And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.:” Luke 1:5-7
Elizabeth and Zechariah loved the Lord and followed Him in all in His ways, including devoting their lives to serving Him in the local church, yet they had no children from their marriage. In their time, when a woman couldn’t have children, it was believed that she had no children because she was a sinner. God was not blessing her because of sin in her life. It was her fault; she was blocking the blessing of God. She was ridiculed by her family and her neighbors, and probably kept at a distance because others didn’t want to be associated with such a ‘sinner.’ Elizabeth suffered unfair ridicule her entire child-bearing age, probably some 20+ years.
- But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John [The Baptist]. ” Luke 1:13
Elizabeth had not conceived a child during her ‘normal’ years as the Lord had different plans for her. Why? God wanted to display His glory through Elizabeth by showing His great power. Elizabeth’s womb was opened far beyond when was humanly possible to conceive. Elizabeth conceived when she should have been a grandmother or even a great-grandmother. This was truly a special miracle.
- “After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” Luke 1:24-25
When Elizabeth finally became pregnant, she did the opposite of what we would guess. She humbly hid her pregnancy, though she new it would finally clear her own name of shame. She treasured this gift within, as she now knew and experienced the power of the Lord’s mighty hand. It was not her own sin that had kept her barren, but it was the Lord’s hand who kept her barren to bring glory to Himself later in her life.
- “As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1-3
Most of the time, the Lord’s timing is not our own and His ways are definitely not our ways. During times in our lives, the Lord may choose to have us suffer for Him in order that we stay humble and dependent on Him. It’s during these times, it is key to remain faithful to His call on our lives, trusting in His goodness and mercy.
- “Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” Luke 1:57-60
- “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. ” Matthew 11:11 (Jesus said)
Sometimes, we hear man saying things like, “You haven’t been healed because you have hidden sin in your life,” or “You aren’t been blessed because you don’t have enough faith and God can’t bless you when you don’t believe,” or in recent times, “You aren’t in tune with the spiritual realm, so God can’t activate His blessings on you,” or “You aren’t praying enough or in the right way,” or “You need to go to this class so you can learn how to receive God’s blessings.” These statements turn God’s work into the work of man, placing the ability to be blessed on our own actions.
- ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
It is God’s choice to do as He desires. He may choose to do certain things which to man, might seem like a curse, but to God, it is His most richest blessing. Can you, then, ‘block’ God’s blessings? Yes, ..to a point. God does say that He turns His face from those who rebel against Him, yet He can still also choose to exercise His mercy even on those who do rebel; afterall, we are all rebels in this way. Ultimately, it is God’s prerogative alone and has nothing to do with our works.
- “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2
- “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
- “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,” Romans 10:12
Jesus died so that our sins may be covered and the Lord’s face may not be hidden from us. Turn to Him. Obey His commands and let the Lord work in your life to bring Glory to Himself and to His Son.
Father God, forgive us for times when our pride has said Your works are dependent on us. You are not in need of anything. Help us to not only put our full trust in Your Son, Jesus Christ, but to obey Your commands in order that we might remain righteous as Elizabeth. Give us patient endurance in all circumstances and help us to glorify Your Name in how we handle ourselves. God, you are ultimately in control of all things. In Jesus Name. Amen.