Season of Hope Part 3 – Your most exciting moments are yet to come!
Hopefully you have noticed that much of the Christmas story is about common people. There is nothing common about the way the Lord meets them. The couple today is the same way.
How many of you have dreams, not stuff like I hope when services is over, or I can get through the drive through quickly but stuff that may have even been on your heart for years
- Going back to school
- Right career
- Finding the right spouse
- My children finding the right spouse, the Lord, the right job
- My family all knowing the Lord
- Having enough money to retire, purchase my dream house, car, land
- Having enough time just to enjoy life
- Having children
- Being able to vacation every year
- Being able to have a dream
Somebody want to tell me their dream?
Today’s story is all about a dream being fulfilled and the unique way that God did it that he can do for you too!
When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. 6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
8 One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. 9 As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.
11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah to come out of the sanctuary, wondering why he was taking so long. 22 When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized from his gestures and his silence that he must have seen a vision in the sanctuary.
23 When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
Priesthood divided in 24 divisions each division 2 times a year for a week. 56 were chosen by lot, his lot was to burn incense…nation was in prayer, golden altar to burn incense. This is how we know better that Jesus was actually born
Zachariah – God remembers Elizabeth – His oath – God remembers His oath
In this culture to not have a child was almost a curse, making you an outcast
- God always hears the prayers of those who are truly seeking Him
Elizabeth and Zachariah were not perfect people we see that in the way Zachariah responded to the Angel with doubt.
Our struggles as Christians are not to be perfect, but to allow the Lord to be perfect through us, to build a relationship with Him based on love not on work or our self-righteousness.
Be honest with yourself! How many times do you think you are not important enough to God or good enough for God to want to answer your prayers? How many times you think others are so much better than you and surely they will get their prayers answered but you will not?
1 John 5:14,15
And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
1 Peter 3:12
The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil.”
Psalm 66: 17 -20
For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. 18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.
20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.
I know these last two references may send you down a fearful road, “how can I ever be good enough to get my prayers answered?” We are…..
2 Corinthians 5:21
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
He took on all of our sins, past, present and future. As we draw closer to Him we quickly recognize our sin, repent and it is His righteousness that makes us righteous so we know He will hear and answer our prayers because He is the one that makes us right with God.
God always hears our prayers because of that! He answers His way, in His timing we need to simply choose to trust.
Elizabeth and Zachariah were both old beyond child bearing years but as we see in verse 13 that they always prayed and Zach even took advantage of his position and time with the Lord to ask again. It was heavy on their hearts and they did not grow weary in asking and trusting the Lord, mostly
1:13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.
God hears and He knows your hearts cry so don’t give up. God may change your prayer, adjust it, show you a new way of thinking about your need or that He wants to do something bigger which takes us to my next point
- Don’t limit God regarding what He can do – Zachariah was a righteous man, in the presence of the angel of the Lord, serving God
All they wanted was a child, I believe they would have been happy with a boy or girl but see what they didn’t know is God had chosen them to be the parents of the forerunner of the Christ and He would be much more than they could imagine
- Filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb
- Move in the power and Spirit of Elijah
- Preached repentance to prepare the nation for the Messiah
- Alerted the nation to the Messiah
Often, we think our dreams, our prayers aren’t being answered when all it is, is God’s timing.
We want the promotion, we want to launch the new business, we want to find the right spouse, we want to purchase that new house….if we choose to trust the Lord he will not only answer our prayers but fulfill our dreams greater than we can imagine
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
God loves to amaze His kids….let Him amaze you!
God has a history of making the seemingly impossible, possible think of..
Abraham and Sarah – Isaac (Genesis 15,18,21)
Manoah and his wife – Samson (Judges 13)
Elkanah and Hannah – Samuel (1 Samuel 1)
Moses bringing freedom to a nation, David a shepherd boy becoming King, Joseph another shepherd boy saving the world. Daniel being stripped of everything changing a world. Ruth and Rahab women from the most ungodly world’s becoming powerful women of God who changed their world and are in the Messiah’s linage
We could go on and on today, but we have this story to remind you God is gave the dream, don’t limit is wait for it…
Let me remind you of the words of the Lord to Habakkuk 2:3
“This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
God will always answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams just on time
Sometimes he needs to work on others
Sometimes he needs to work on us to prepare us for them
Sometimes it is simply a matter of trusting His timing.
Remember what Gabriel said to Zachariah
- You will have joy and gladness
- Many will rejoice
Your dream, your answer is rarely just about you, as I listed all of the other dreamers above their dreams touched many more people and so will yours if you will not give up but like Liz and Zach allow God to make it happen, keep praying, keep seeking, keep being true to the Lord and he will surprise you at how amazing your dream can be.
“….but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
Look to change the world with your dream, it will happen just keep seeking and trust