Summary: God rewards faithfulness in His time and in His way - if we are willing to wait upon Him.
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Pastor James May
GOD REWARDS FAITHFULNESS!
Luke 1:5-17, "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Herod “the Great” was assigned the dubious honor to govern the conquered Land of Israel. Somehow, I don’t think that Herod considered this as a great honor because he had ambition and political aspirations to rise to great heights in the government of Rome. But, to get where he wanted to go, Herod knew that he had to succeed in governing this rebellious rabble known as the Jews.
In order to accomplish his goals, Herod is said to have become a proselyte of the Jewish faith by converting from the worship of the idols of Rome to the worship of the Lord God Jehovah. It is most likely that his “conversion” was more of a political move than a spiritual decision. There is no record of Herod having served the God of Israel but there is plenty of evidence to prove otherwise.
When Herod was assigned to rule over Israel from Jerusalem this was a dark day for the people of Israel! This was the first time that a king other than one who was born a Jew would sit upon the Throne of Judah.
Thus it was fulfilled as spoken by JACOB way back in Genesis 49:10, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
Truly the Scepter, or Kingship, of Judah had departed from Israel. God had given it over the Iron Fist of Rome because of the idolatry and rebellion of the Nation of Israel!
Later we read in the Book of Micah concerning the prophecy of the coming Messiah, the coming of the Lord that they would reject. The coming of the Messiah would mark the promise that once again, the Scepter of Judah would be from the Land of Israel.
Micah 5:1-2, "Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."