Summary: We handle fear by affirming God is in control, with prayer, and obedience!
In our text today, there are 3 main questions we will ask:
1. Do things happen by chance?
2. Is it alright to have fears?
3. Can we question God?
Many of us go through life either having these questions unanswered or we don’t think about the importance of the answers to these questions. Knowing the answers to these questions will help us deal with the struggles of life and are keys to spiritual growth! Do you have struggles in life? Are you growing spiritually? Let us worship God by listening to His Word!
A Jewish priest named Zechariah experienced the answers to these important questions. Please open your Bibles to the Gospel of Luke. Before reading, let us go to God, the Creator of the universe and us, and make a commitment to His Word….
Let us note that Zechariah and Elizabeth became parents to who??? - John the Baptist; the one called by God to prepare the way for the Messiah, our Savior, Jesus Christ!
John the Baptist was a miracle! Do you think it was just by chance that Zechariah and Elizabeth were the parents of John the Baptist? Read along with me Luke 1:5-22……….
Can you picture that? Zechariah just experienced something miraculous but he couldn’t speak! Everyone was waiting for Zechariah to come out and when they saw him he was making all sorts of gestures! They said, “Speak up Zechariah!”…..”Are you hurt?”….”
“What Zechariah??”........“Is it a Title of a Song?”….”How many words?”…. “How many syllables in the first word?”….
You see, God invented the game “charades”!!
All kidding aside, what can we note from this story?
a. Married couple Zachariah and Elizabeth were godly people well in their years!
b. Zechariah was called to be a priest for Israel.
Since he was from the family lineage of Aaron, the first priest of Israel, Zechariah was born and trained to be a priest. Zechariah was old and he was a priest for a long time (as a matter of fact, he was close to his retirement)! Zechariah knew God and the Old Testament and was familiar with all the things which went on in the Temple of God. We would say that Zechariah grew up in church and knew everything about church!
c. It was Zechariah’s turn to burn incense in the Temple.
The priests on duty drew lots to see which ministries they would perform, and Zacharias was chosen to offer incense in the holy place. This was a high honor that was permitted to a priest only once in a lifetime. While the smoke of the incense ascended to the sky, the priest was to pray for the people of Israel. And as we noted last week, family and church family members pray for each other. The people outside the Lord’s Temple were praying for Zechariah as he prayed for them! And remember, fathers and pastors are like priests; are you praying for them?
Now, the priests drew lots to determine who will do what. Does this mean that things happen, even at church, only by chance? Think about what God did through Zechariah then decide whether things only happen by chance. Also, how powerful is God who created you and me and the entire universe? How powerful is God who is not limited to time and space? God knows every single hair in your head! Every person was wonderfully and carefully made by God in their mother’s womb! In spite of what we think, nothing happens by chance in the hands of the Almighty God. And so,
d. God’s plan and timing for Zechariah was perfect!
Nothing happens by chance in the hands of the Almighty God.
Now, Zechariah had been a priest all his life and was a holy man. Why was he startled and gripped with fear?
e. Zechariah was gripped with fear because he was confronted with something extraordinary and out of his control!!
Is it alright to have fears? What is the answer based on this passage??
God knows we will have fears because there will be things out of our control or extraordinary! God knows our fears and He will comfort us! This is the main point of the message this morning and we will discuss this further in our applications. But before we do that, we can note something else important in the story of Zechariah.
f. After the angel comforted Zechariah, a great promise of a child was given!
And we note in v19 that the promise was directly from God!
But what did Zechariah do?
g. Zechariah questioned what God said!
But was it Zechariah questioning that got him into trouble? Look again at v20; what got Zechariah in trouble??
h. Zechariah got in trouble because of his unbelief!
Zechariah did not believe what God said, therefore he sinned against God and he had to face the consequences! Zechariah must have known the story of King Saul, who told the prophet Samuel that he fully obeyed God! But God told Saul to get rid of everything including all the animals. The prophet Samuel told Saul, “if you really obeyed God, why do I hear goats behind you?” And so God told Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22, "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice!”