Time Out!

April 11th, 2008 • Category: Gospel of Luke
by Steve Adams

Today’s scripture: Luke 1:57-66 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Steve Adams):

Would months of no talking be a hard ordeal for you to endure? Well, that’s exactly what Zachariah had to go through! His words, “How will I know this is so?” cast a long shadow over him, because the angel knew what was in his heart: Zachariah did not believe Gabriel’s message that he and Elizabeth were to become parents of a very special son who was going to play a pivotal role in the redemption of humankind.

WHY would Gabriel afflict Zachariah with this condition? Yes, he didn’t believe the angel’s message at first, but why couldn’t Gabriel have had a good talk with him and convince him that very night that the declaration would indeed come to pass? The angel could have taken care of all his doubts then and there, so that Zachariah could have avoided his no-talk time and returned to his important priestly duties, which must have included speaking to God’s people.

I think the reason (as Mark referred to on Tuesday) was that Zachariah needed a “time out” — a time for quiet, a time to focus on God, a time to pray, and a time for soul searching. He needed quality time with God to cry out for insight, raise his voice for understanding, seek it like silver, search for it as for hidden treasures (Proverbs 2:3,4), and to trust in the Lord with all his heart (Proverbs 3:5). Perhaps the only way he was going to be able to do this was to shut out the world, quit talking for awhile, and have an extended one-on-one with God! Old Zachariah just wasn’t going to “get it” until he spent the necessary time with his Lord and his God.

And I think that’s exactly what he did, with superlative results! He wrote on the tablet that his son was to be named John, as Gabriel had commanded, and suddenly he could talk again!. He gave the brilliant prophecy that we’ll read about tomorrow, which gives a great preview of the ministry of his son, and how he would “prepare the way” for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thought for the day: Thank you, Lord, for those precious, quiet times, when it’s just You and me!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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