Dear Student of the Word,
I am doing better - this update did not take nearly as long for me to finalize as the last one! Here is study three in our Luke Bible series. Luke chapter 1 is a long but fascinating chapter, which highlights the responses of Mary, Elizabeth and Zacharia to Gabriel's visits and proclamations. Here is what I wrote in part one of this seven-part study:
Study Three, Part One
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."
1:57 – Just as Gabriel had predicted, Elizabeth had a son. God’s word always accomplishes the purpose for which it is dispatched:
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Be encouraged today. Whatever God said He will do for you, He will do it! The word may delay and tarry, but it shall come to pass. Are you fretting over the seeming delay or impossibility of God’s promises to you? There is no need to do so. God is faithful.
1:58 – Friends and loved ones share your joy. Those that don’t have your best interests at heart do not. Are you involved in any what I have come to term, “toxic relationships,” those who drag you down instead of lift you up? Is it time to end those relationships, or at least limit their impact on your emotional well-being? Proverbs states: “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). It’s not how many friends you have that is significant, but rather the quality of the friends you have.
1:59– Zechariah must have been most anxious at that point in time, wondering if and when he would ever speak again. He was the proud father of a son for whom he has waited all his life and he can’t talk to the baby, his wife or anyone else about the happy occasion. Unbelief has its consequences and for Zechariah, the consequence was an inability to share what God was doing in his life. Is your unbelief doing the same thing to you? Has your unbelief got your tongue, so to speak? Then put your trust in God and what He has promised and hopefully He will loose your tongue to glorify Him and testify of His goodness and provision.
1:60 – I am partial to the name John for obvious reasons. John literally means the gift or grace of God. I am sure that Zechariah was writing Elizabeth notes during the time that he was mute, so he communicated that the baby’s name was to be John according to the word of Gabriel. The people were astonished that they were breaking tradition using that name. People sometimes are too concerned about following tradition and should be more concerned about following God. Are you bound by tradition? Which ones? Is there anything that God is telling you to do that you can’t do because of tradition? What can you do to break free? Breaking tradition requires courage. I urge you to be courageous today and obey God, even if that means you are flying in the face of family or religious tradition.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled What Would Jesus Ask You Today? Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.
*****************If you have not seen or read my recent update asking for ministry help, please take some time to do so now.