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A father’s duty

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 1:65-80 The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. (66) Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. (67) His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: (68) “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. (69) He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (70) (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), (71) salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us– (72) to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, (73) the oath he swore to our father Abraham: (74) to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear (75) in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (76) And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, (77) to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, (78) because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven (79) to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (80) And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Earlier is this gospel of Luke, we read how an angel had appeared to Zachariah, telling him that he would have a son in his old age. And now the words of the angel have been fulfilled and John – who we know as John the Baptist – has been born. Due to the supernatural significance surrounding his birth, people wondered what would come of him, what his purpose was going to be. Clearly God was with him and going to be with him.

In a time of Roman oppression and with a few failed coups speckling the past, maybe it was that the people were thinking, were wondering, if this child – John – was the one whom had been prophesied would come to set the captives free, set Israel free and restore her to her rightful inheritance. Maybe it was that the people were thinking, were whispering, “Could this be the Messiah?”

And when we read Zechariah’s prophecy, we nearly want to say yes! For he speaks of God now having come and redeemed His people; and he speaks of being saved from their enemies; and he speaks of God remembering and restoring His covenant. For a moment, people might be forgiven for thinking that Zechariah was indeed speaking, prophesying, about his son John.

But he’s not! You see, verse 69 shows us that the first portion of this prophetic utterance is related to a descendant of David. And Luke 1 vs. 5 shows us that both Zechariah and Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron the priest. They are thus not of the line of David. So, the first half of Zechariah’s prophecy is not related to his son John.

The second half of Zechariah’s prophecy is however related to his son. Zechariah has remained faithful to what he believes, knows, John’s calling to be as given to him by the angel in Luke 1 vs. 17. He prophecies over John in vs. 76, that he is to “go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” THAT is John’s call of duty. THAT is going to be his work. THAT is what his father will be preparing him for.

And that is Zechariah’s duty – a father’s duty: to remain faithful to what God has laid upon his heart for his children and to help prepare them for what God has called them to be.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Realised Faith

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 1:56-64  Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.  (57)  When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son.  (58)  Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.  (59)  On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah,  (60)  but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”  (61)  They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”  (62)  Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child.  (63)  He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.”  (64)  Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God.

The story of the birth of John the Baptist is coming to an end. What started as a visitation from an angel with his message that two old people will give birth to a son, is now reaching its appointed time of fulfilment and completion.

Notice that there is an appointed time. Every message that God gives us, every prophetic word, has an appointed time and place for its fulfilment. As much as Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted their baby to be conceived and born immediately, they had to wait – endure – the time of pregnancy before he was to be born.

And so it is with us! When we hear from God we sometimes get so over-excited about the call, the message, that we run ahead of God and try in our own strength to implement or work out that which God has spoken. We lose sight of the process of development both of ourselves and the circumstances or timing that will allow for the call’s fulfilment. But for faith to be realised, we must continue to wait on God for the appointed time. For it does indeed have an appointed time.

Notice too that faith must be shared. It was not good enough simply for John to be born and for Zachariah and Elizabeth to privately name their child and cherish that in their hearts. A whole week had passed after John was born and yet Zachariah could still not speak. And it also wasn’t good enough for only Elizabeth alone to announce John’s name. No! Both of them had to. Zechariah had to somehow announce it too, make it known. And only after both of them had completed their part in the fulfilment of the angel’s message, only then is the message fully realised and completed and Zachariah’s tongue is loosed and he is able to speak again.

Finally, realised faith results in praise. And it is right that it does. For it is right to express thanksgiving and praise toward someone after they have promised you something and which has now been fully realised, supplied, and completed? This is even more true of God whose promises are true and full of love. We may not always fully understand why things are as they are. But know that when God has spoken and it has been fulfilled according to His will, praise will indeed be the end result of your realised faith.

Friends! Has God spoken to you? Has God laid something on your heart that you need to do? Or has He maybe promised something toward you? Is your faith waning?

Ask yourself if it is the appointed time for the fulfilment of the promise?
Share what you believe God has said to you with someone you trust.
And then praise God when it has been fulfilled and realised.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

Exalted Worship

Daily Devotional Thought from 'this is what i have to say' with Darryl SchoemanLuke 1:46-55 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord (47) and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (48) for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, (49) for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name. (50) His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. (51) He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. (52) He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. (53) He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. (54) He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful (55) to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Mary has just arrived at Elizabeth’s house after being told by the angel Gabriel that she has been chosen by God to bear His son, Jesus, the saviour of the world. Elizabeth herself is party to the miraculous workings of God as she too in her old age had been visited by Gabriel to tell her that she will be having a baby. Spirits are high and rejoicing is flowing. And Mary bursts forth in worship, praising God.

Mary’s praise is a reminder to us of one of the elements of worship and that is exaltation. Many times when we as Christians “spend time with God” by having a quiet time or meeting in fellowship groups, very often our focused time is not spent on exalting God, but rather on getting something from God. Even at church and despite the worship band’s or choir’s practiced efforts, our hearts are not inclined toward exalting God, but rather preparing our hearts and minds to “receive the Word”. Our attitude of worship then is what does God want to tell us, rather than what do we want to tell God.

And this is not a bad thing. A very large part of the Christian journey is about our sanctification. And for that, we need God to speak to us, to tell us how we are doing and what needs to change or improve. But that is not all there is to Christian worship. We forget many times that worship is about God and not about us. We lose sight of the exaltation.

One of the great ways that Mary’s exalted worship shows us how we can worship God through exaltation, is to remember. Moses said in Deuteronomy 32:7 “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.” And that is what Mary is doing here; she is remembering. Nine times in ten verses, Mary says has. God has, God, God has. And in her remembering, she sees God’s hand of deliverance and salvation at work. So Mary worships.

God does not need to be reminded of what He has done; we do. And our remembering allows us to be grateful for what God has already done for us, allowing us then to truly worship God through exaltation. And when have remembered and our hearts have inclined to exalt God, remember and even use the words of Mary, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Holy is His name.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say

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