Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ask the Lord to Help You Be Faithful and Blameless

"In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron" (Luke 1:5).

Herod the Great was one of the most horrible rulers Israel ever had. He was not a Jew but a descendant of Esau. The Romans ruled Palestine at this time, and Herod of Idumea (or Edom, Esau) was their puppet ruler. Herod was called “great” because of his great public building projects, but he was a degenerate man who mingled the blood of the people with their sacrifices. His reign was like that of Pharaoh, and so the birth of Jesus was in some ways like the birth of a new Moses, a new deliverer.

Luke does not start out right away with the birth of this new Savior, however, but with the birth of His cousin John. John’s parents were of the priestly family. His father’s name was Zechariah, a name that means “The Lord Remembers.” The people of Israel had forgotten God’s promises, though a handful of people remembered. Most important of all, however, God remembered.

John’s mother’s name was Elizabeth, which means “My God Is an Oath.” God had sworn a covenant oath with His people, and they were relying on it. In these names we see the faith of Israel preserved. The God who had sworn an oath to redeem sinful humanity would not forget His people. The parents of Zechariah and Elizabeth believed this, and they believed it as well. Zechariah and Elizabeth are described in Scripture this way: “Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly” (Luke 1:6). In an age of infidelity, they were faithful. What a fantastic honor to have this said about you. How would you like to have this verse inscribed on your tombstone? Others had forsaken the Lord, but they were loyal to Him and to His covenant.

Luke 1:6 does not mean that Zechariah and Elizabeth lived completely sinless lives. Rather, it means that they kept God’s ordinances after they sinned. They confessed their sin, asked forgiveness, made apologies and restitution as necessary. We see from this that an “upright and blameless life” is not impossible. Ask the Lord to help you live faithfully, as did Zechariah and Elizabeth.