[reprinted from December 10, 2008]
Once when Zechariahâ€™s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: â€œDo not be afraid, Zechariah, your prayer has been heard.â€ Â Â Luke 1:8-13 (NIV)
I am going to ask my husband to also do a devotion tomorrow on this passage. I suspect he will give a different perspective on this story. Iâ€™d like to hear what he has to say!
Zechariah was a minister or celebrant of God. He had the responsibility to keep the incense burning and the lamps lit. It was part of the worship ritual. BUT the worshipers were outside! That is the way it was until Jesus tore down the curtain! We can worship in the presence of God. We do not have to hide behind a curtain.
The angel had a message for Zechariah. It is a message that God sends to us every day.
- â€œDonâ€™t be afraid of your problems. They are not â€˜giantsâ€™. I AM the LORD of Hosts!â€
- â€œI hear your prayers, Jody. I hear you. You are my child. I hear you because I love you.â€
- â€œDo not be afraid of Me, Jody. I AM your Father. Come closer. Come to worship!â€
As we sing and pray and worship this Advent season, let us come closer. Let us not stand with our hearts outside on the side lines. Let us not be afraid of our Father. If there is sin that is keeping us apart, He gave us a Savior to wash us clean. Ask. Receive. Worship.
â€œAnd he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous â€“ to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.â€ Â Â Â Luke 1:17 (NIV)
How Great is Our GodÂ , How Great Thou Art written & arranged by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, & Ed Cash and sung by Chris Tomlin