5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, 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 in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. Luke 1:5-7
Zacharias and Elizabeth became the parents of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. “Prepare the way for the Lord!” he declared in later years. But it was only by God’s grace that John was ever born. It is an amazing thing that Zacharias and Elizabeth ever became a part of the Christmas story. Scripture tells us that these two simple but godly people positioned themselves to be a part of God’s most amazing plan for all of human history. “They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord,” the Word reveals. God is giving us important insight into why they were involved in the incarnation of the Son of God.
Would you like to position yourself for God’s involvement in your life this Christmas? You can. Zacharias and Elizabeth were “righteous” by “walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” The key presented here is obedience. Even though, for this ancient couple, obedience meant adhering to so many details of the Old Testament law, verse six emphasizes that they were “righteous in the sight of God.” Theirs was not only an outward obedience (which is what the Pharisees had), but a purity and holiness of the inner person. Their outward behavior was a direct result of their inner selves. And God saw it. And God responded with abundant grace.
Our natural tendency is to want what God offers at a clearance price. We’re often unwilling to do what it takes to position ourselves for God’s involvement in our lives. We can drift through life hoping that every so often we hit the jackpot of God’s blessing upon us. Yes—God’s grace is undeserved. No—we cannot earn it or buy it. But God’s involvement in our lives almost always is found in the position of obedience and sincere authenticity before God. He sees the heart. He longs to extend His blessing and favor upon you. It’s just that so many of us are busy walking our path that we fail get in on God’s plans.
Zacharias and Elizabeth were not perfect…and God doesn’t require that of you either. But what does grab His attention is a heart for Him coupled with actions of obedience. These things will never be yours by accident. Have you chosen to let Him give you a new heart…over and over and over again? Is there an arena in your life where God is not welcome…a secret place that is all yours because you have never allowed God to step in to clean it out? Is there something risky, radical, or difficult that God is urging you to do, but you have reasoned it away? These are your issues of obedience.
This Christmas, God invites you to come to the manger. He wants you to experience His here-and-now presence in a life-transforming way. Are you in position to receive what He has for you? Are you in a position to come to the manger?
ACTION: Be bold as you consider what one or two actions you must take, with God’s help, to be obedient to God’s voice. Write them down if you can…
Now pray to offer these to God. Also, ask Him to show you the way to the manger this Christmas.