Friday, July 13, 2012

Lessons from Luke - In the Barren

I'm still in chapter 1.  :)  Today I was down in verses 53-56 and God spoke big time to this heart.  But I'm still soaking in that and in no way ready to share it.  Today, I'm posting my notes from Luke 1: 5-13.  It was neat to go back over these notes this morning after God knocked the breath out of me in verses 53-56.  It was as if I connected two puzzle pieces. He is so good like that. So without any more are my notes and thoughts from verses 5-13.

In the Barren
Luke 1: 5-13

Zechariah and Elizabeth had a holy reputation. People respected them. In fact, in this portion of Luke we learn that Zechariah, a priest, had just been chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to enter the temple and burn incense on behalf of his people. As he is in the temple burning the incense God sends an angel. An angel whose first words were, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, your prayer has been heard…..”

This angel goes on to explain that Elizabeth, (Barren and as verse 7 reminds us, was advanced in years) is going to have a son. We know that this son is John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way for Jesus.

As I sat with these few verses that are full application, verses 6 and 7 seemed to be highlighted in holy yellow.

And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

B.A.R.R.E.N. Childless. In a culture that placed value on the ability to have children, this righteous, blameless woman was barren.

Here we find a couple who had most likely been married for years. (end of verse 6 says they were advanced in years) A couple who Luke describes as righteous before God, walking blamelessly in ALL those commandments and statues, and yet they wore the label barren. Whether spoken or unspoken I am quite sure there were people who questioned. Questioned what great “sin” they had committed to be this dreaded “B” word.

We do the exact same thing today. We see people who are in a barren place. Could be financial, physical….just people going through hard stuff and we “assume” that because they don’t have success as we see success, that they have messed up life in some way. Sometimes, hard times do come as consequences to poor choices or sin. Sin has consequences. But sometimes…..

Sometimes, God had different plans. Zechariah and Elizabeth were careful to obey God. They loved Him.

Their reputation preceded them in a way that Luke describes as blameless. God took two people who loved Him.

Served Him.

Obeyed Him, and in His sovereignty, kept them from having children.

Yes. I said it. God allowed them to wear the label barren. Why?

Simply because He knew He could trust them to wear the label WHILE seeking Him.  There was greater glory at stake.

Now, in their “advanced years”, God was going to do something so incredible He had to send an angel to prepare Zechariah. At just the right time, God was going to give them a new label. They were to become parents.

The barren would give life. And not just any life. A life of a child, a son. A son with a holy agenda.

Each of us is wearing or has worn a label such as “barren”. Often times, they are labels we would rather not think about much less talk about! But God has been so tender to point out to me that it is in my barren places that HE has made himself known.

Those are the places where I can say “But God.”

In your life, could it be in THAT barren area, the one you would rather forget about and definitely NOT talk about, that is an area God has entrusted TO you? Perhaps He has trusted you to wear that label so that at just the right time He can showcase His glory.

It is in the barren times and places, the times when “I” have nothing that I realize God is more than enough.

It is in the barren times and places I am taught that His grace is sufficient!

It is in the barren that I hear Him say “Do Not Be Afraid.”.

It is in the barren that I have come to expect Him to speak to my heart.

It is in the barren that I experience the strong arm of God in my life. 

It is in the barren that God strengthens my faith. I can pray "I believe, but help my unbelief" and He does!

Is the barren hard? Yes. But God….

God’s thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways so much higher than mine. His words… His words do not return empty.

They accomplish HIS purpose. And He is faithful to complete the good work He begins in each of us.

So today, I thank Him. I thank Him for the barren area because I know that it has purpose.

There is reason in the barren. And when I am seeking Him and living for Him...

There is beauty in the barren.

There is glory in the barren.

Thank you God, for bringing beauty from the barren.


The Mexican Hillbilly said...

This is a beautiful insightful blog post! I am new to your blog nice to meet you.