Luke 1:68–79 (NLT) “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. 69 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, 70 just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. 71 Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. 72 He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant— 73 the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham. 74 We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. 76 “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. 77 You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. 78 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
When Elizabeth gave birth to the one who was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, the relatives expected him to be named Zechariah after his father. Elizabeth said that his name was to be John (“The Lord gives”). The relatives were surprised as no one in the family had that name. So they asked Zechariah who had been unable to speak since Gabriel had appeared to him. Zechariah took a chalkboard and wrote, “His name is John.” Zechariah wrote this as an act of obedience by faith. Immediately he could speak, and the first words that came out of his mouth were praises of joy for what God had done.
Before I ask you to slowly reread what Zechariah said I want to tell you a story. Kathy and I have 18 grandchildren. They are truly the treasure and legacy of our lives. We have a wall with an 8” x 10” picture of each grandchild taken when they were between 4-6 years old. I often sit in my chair and look at those pictures. When I look at the whole wall my heart is filled with joy to be so blessed by the Lord. But when I look at each face closely, my heart is overwhelmed with love and joy for that child.
My heart toward my grandchildren reflects the heart of our Heavenly Father. Our Father is filled with love and joy over His children. But when He looks at you alone, He is equally filled with love and joy. My grandchildren have taught me about the heart of my Heavenly Father.
When I would meet my newborn grandchild for the first time, I had a particular thing I would do. I would pick them up and get in a little more private place in the room and say quietly to them, “Haley, this is your Papaw. I want you to know that God loves you and has sent His Son to die on the cross to save you from your sins. And you are going to grow up to be a woman of God who loves the Lord with your whole heart!” I wanted to make sure that there was never a moment in their life that they had not heard the Gospel.
So What? With this backdrop, please reread Zechariah’s song (Luke 1:68-79) and write a prayer to the Lord that reflects your hope for the future of your life and that of your family…
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