Bible Reference: Luke 1:18-20
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is too old to give me a child. What sign can you give me to prove this will happen?” 19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel. I stand beside God himself. He has sent me to announce to you this good news. 20 But now, since you did not believe my words, you will be stricken silent and unable to speak until the day my words have been fulfilled at their appointed time and a child is born to you. That will be your sign!”
OBSERVATION: Way too often we pray for God’s wisdom; His healing; His direction; and His protection, yet when God is on the move we tend to find explanations on why certain activity is occurring, or we may even attribute the turn in events to ‘good luck’. Oh my, where is our faith truly at? Who is our God? I have two similar Biblical characters to consider today that reacted surprisingly to God’s orders/miracles. Let’s examine our own hearts as we look at this.
APPLICATION: In my Old Testament reading today, there was the story of Balaam. He spoke to God about whether he should visit with king Balak. God directed him not to go. However, Balak was persistent and he sent back a different team of messengers to plead with Balaam to change his mind. Although having been given a Word by God, Balaam went before God each time that Balak’s team of men asked. I can’t imagine God changing His mind, neither telling Balaam that He had made a bad call in His first response. But eventually God saw the need to teach Balaam a lesson by letting him go with the messengers. Then I turned to my New Testament study and found this story of Zechariah, who encountered a similar discipline to that received by Balaam. I’m sure it is easy for us to look down our noses at both of these servants of God and in shock wonder how on earth could they possibly respond in the way that they did. But are we truly any different in our response to God and/or His miraculous work? I don’t think so, for I believe we are equally as bad, or perhaps even worse. Now think about this: we have learned from Balaam, we have learned from Zechariah, and I’m sure there are many other similar examples throughout God’s Word, but way too often we place God in a box only as big as our vision and our capacity. How often do we go beyond those borders? I have a very personal experience, I can share with you from my church: our leaders are stretching and testing their faith in trying to solve a challenge of overcrowding. Through faith in our all-powerful and fully capable God, they are led of God to find property to relocate, or expand our ministries to meet the needs of adequately ministering to the people He is sending our way, and will send our way over the foreseeable future. To approach our God for something like this – something that is several times larger than what we have; something that will meet the needs of ongoing ministries way beyond our ability to imagine – this requires a persistent faith that is strong and immovable. Please consider praying with BFC, Sebring, FL about this need. We want to see Jesus lifted up and glorified, even through our humble efforts. We are convinced that God has blessed us with the crowds He has sent our way, even in spite of a community that is largely unchurched. However, we take the Scripture very seriously, and He has encouraged us with the words, that if I am lifted up, I will draw the people unto myself. We are in a continual mode of lifting up the name of Jesus in all that we do. As for you, may I suggest that you stand in awe of who God is, and all that He has done, plus all that He has the power to do again. Try looking beyond things that your natural eyes can see, and try trusting God in the small and in the great things. Try listening to what God wills, and allow Him to stretch your vision and your faith so that you will openly allow His work to be done for His glory alone.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for saving a sinner such as I. It is hard to imagine that a miraculous working God like You, who has the power to do all things, and see all things that are yet to come, yet You loved me enough to use even me in Your mighty work. Lord, my readers and I stand in awe of You. We want to experience your awesome work, and we want to participate in the many blessings that You shower on us each day. Please teach us to pray. Please strengthen our faith to believe and deepen our trust in You for all things. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, so that You may be glorified in all things. Thank You Heavenly Father for loving even us. AMEN!