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Summary: We rejoice in a God who answers.

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WOULD YOU JUST ANSWER ME!

Luke 1:13 (5-17)

S: Prayer

Th: We have reason to rejoice!

Pr: WE REJOICE IN A GOD WHO ANSWERS.

?: Inductive (How?)

KW: Responses

TS: We will find in our study of Zechariah how God responds to our prayers.

The ____ way God responds is…

I. UNEXPECTEDLY

II. PERSONALLY

III. COMPLETELY

Version: ESV

RMBC 01 Dec 02 AM

INTRODUCTION:

You know, it is the time of the year that you have to be prepared.

Are you?

1. Are you prepared for the wait?

Ed Watt was visiting a local department store with his wife, and they had just purchased a piece of luggage and a cooler. As Ed browsed in the shoe depart-ment waiting for his wife to finish the rest of her shopping, a clerk asked if he could be of assistance.

“No, thank you," Ed replied. “I’m just wait-ing for my wife."

At that point, a man behind him said, "I’m waiting for my wife, too, but I never thought to bring lunch and an overnight bag."

For many of us that are not fond of shopping and waiting in lines, this time of the year is a real test.

For it is easy to get impatient.

But in the big picture of things, we must admit that waiting in line is really a small thing.

For…

2. There are times when waiting is much more difficult than others.

If we look back into history to 2,000 years ago, and consider the plight of a little nation called Israel, we might acknowledge that they were having quite a difficult wait.

It was their understanding that God had promised to send them a Messiah that would return Israel to its rightful place.

But they were getting tired of the wait.

They were under the heavy hand of Rome who found them to be a constant nuisance to the “pax Romana” (the peace of Rome).

Such peace, though, would not come with the decisions like the one they made in putting Herod on the throne.

He was an evil man, know for his sadistic cruelty.

He was a man of greed and murder, full of political intrigue.

When Herod was placed on the throne, it was a dark day for Israel.

He was not of the house of David, so in their eyes he was nothing more than a usurper to the throne.

Herod’s possession of the throne must have been very depressing for the typical Israelite.

They had been praying for years that the Messiah would come, but these were prayers that seemed to have gone unheeded or unanswered.

Instead, they got Herod.

How could God allow that?

3. For Israel, praying for the Messiah had to be getting old.

For 400 years, not a word was heard from heaven.

The prophet, Malachi, was the last one to hear a definitive word from the Lord.

It was easy for the Israelite to give up.

It did not seem that God cared too much about them as a people.

Their prayers seemed rather ineffectual.

The oppression continued and it continued to get worse.

When we look at the world today, we might be tempted to feel the same way.

We look at the world around us and tensions are increasing, not easing.

This past week we had bombings in Mombasa, Kenya.

The violence in Nigeria continues.

Places like Bali, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan fill the news.

Potential terror has come close to home in Lackawanna.

Since 9/11, the names of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Yassir Arafat have added negative meaning.

And we wonder and we pray…

Lord, is this ever going to end?

So, as we return to the nation of Israel 2,000 years ago, perhaps we get a glimpse of the tension that they felt in their setting.

It is the tension we find in Luke 1 as we meet Zechariah and Elizabeth.

And today, as we consider Luke 1

4. We will find in our study of Zechariah how God responds to our prayers.

[5] In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. [6] And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. [7] But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. [8] Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, [9] according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. [10] And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.

Let us note these things about…

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