Blessing or Curse?

Background Story: Zechariah is a priest who served in the temple. He was married to Elizabeth and they had no children. So far their life had been pretty normal but all of that is about to change.

Read Luke 1: 5-25

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. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Big Idea: Our struggles might be a blessing and not a curse.

We serve a God who brings water from a rock and life from barren places. That word “barren” means bleak, lifeless, and unable to produce. Elizabeth was old…way too old to have kids. She was so old that when her husband Zechariah saw a literal angel standing in front of him telling him she was going to have a baby; instead of rejoicing, he argued with the angel.

One important questions we should ask is…was Elizabeth’s barrenness a blessing or a curse?

She always saw it as a curse. She said so herself that God, “has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” She assumed that this long period in her life where she could not have children was a lack of favor from God. But would Elizabeth’s story have even made it as part of the Bible had she been like everyone else and had her baby at a young age? Her barrenness was necessary for her miracle.

It’s easy to see the struggle that we are going through right now and feel discouraged or like we are not in God’s favor. But what if your present circumstance is the necessary plot point in the story God is writing? What if this struggle is necessary for the miracle ahead?

Little did Elizabeth know during those dark times of barrenness, that she was to be the mom of John the Baptist. My guess is Elizabeth’s moments of discouragement prepared her so that she could in turn be the mom that helped prepare her son, John the Baptist for his struggles.

Verses to Think About:

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

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