02. Someone cares: God speaks to those who hear him

God hears your prayer, your cries and your pain. Jesus is near. Spend time in the light of God’s Word and your answer will come.

God was mostly silent, but he heard Zechariah’s prayer.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

I spent my 15 minutes “in the light” today in the book of Luke. I saw some things I’d never seen before about Zechariah and Elizabeth as I studied this part of the Christmas story again.

Read the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth from Luke 1:5-25 here.

Who were Zechariah and Elizabeth? Zechariah and Elizabeth were both descendants from the priestly line of Aaron and the Levites. They were devout and upright. The Bible says they observed all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. That doesn’t mean they were perfect. It does mean they set their heart and intent to follow God and submit to him in every way.

When God was silent

Zechariah was chosen to burn the incense on this day. The altar of incense was inside the temple, just outside the Holy of Holies where God came down to speak with the priest. The incense represented prayer.

At this particular time in history, God was mostly silent. In times gone by God had given the Israelites mighty manifestations of his power and glory and had spoken to the priests as they were inside the Holy of Holies.

The original purpose for the tabernacle and later the temple was for the priests to make appropriate sacrifices to represent the sacrifice that the Savior would some day make. But even more than this, it was to a place where God could be among his people. As God spoke with the priest and the priest revealed God’s words to the people they had a little part of God with them.

However the people were rebellious throughout the ages. God would forgive them and help them and they would soon be in rebellion again. Finally, about 400 years before the birth of Christ, God decided to remove his presence from them. He still spoke to anyone who would hear him, but he no longer sent prophets to warn the people of their wrongs and encourage them to return to him. He allowed them to go through their religious rites, but they were only making a mockery of what he had established. They were practicing rituals yet their heart was far from God.

God spoke when Zechariah prayed.

Then comes Zechariah. The Bible says he was devout. God sent an angel to tell him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.”

All God wants is for us to be sincere in our devotion to him. He is reaching down to you right now saying, “Do not be afraid. I want to help you. I hear your cries and your pain. Your prayer has been heard.”

Take heart, my sisters. We will share more about Zechariah and Elizabeth later. But for now, just know that someone cares. His name is Jesus. He is with you even now. Don’t give up.

Next Christmas Light

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted