Saturday, December 10, 2022

God's Will For The Barren

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As we get close to the Churches’ celebration of Christmas, the thought occurred to me that if we were doing this chronologically, according to the calendar, I should have begun this first Chapter of Luke last March, or perhaps late February! For it was nine months prior to the birth of Jesus where Luke begins his narrative with news of the birth of John, who Jesus said was “…of those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” (Luke 7:28).

Like so many others, John’s mother was declared to be barren. As women, they were viewed as being under judgment because the Lord had shut their wombs. Abraham’s Sarah had her womb opened and gave birth to Isaac, Isaac’s Rebekah eventually gave birth to Jacob, and Jacob’s wife Rachel eventually brought forth Joseph. The Patriarchs came from that blood-line, from those mother’s that were declared to be barren. A man of the Tribe of Dan named Manoah and his unnamed wife who was barren eventually gave birth to a rebellious son, Samson. Always pushing the envelope of grace, Samson won a great victory against Israel’s enemy, the Philistines. These barren women of Israel brought forth sons who God used in mighty ways, and their lives are recorded in sacred scripture. Their stories are exciting, their lives full of hardship, and of blessings as they fulfilled God’s word for Israel.

In Luke 1, we are introduced to Zacharias and his barren wife Elizabeth. Her barrenness ended and Gabriel appeared to Zachariah as he performed his duties as a Temple Priest in Jerusalem. The Altar of Incense was Zacharias’ responsibility, and the smoke from the incense was viewed as the prayers of believers rising to heaven, carrying prayer petitions to God’s Throne.

Their son John was prophesied of in Isaiah 40, some 700 years before Christ. Isaiah 40:3-5 ~ “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’”

John the Baptist’s message ushered in the birth of Christ Jesus, born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). The role of the angel Gabriel is revealed: 
The Bearer of Good News & Tidings of Great Joy!
The Hashomite Kingdom of Jordan (Israel’s neighbor to the east, east of the Jordan River) has a four lane, divided highway named “King’s Highway.” It gives access through the desert to Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses, and to Petra).

Today's Audio Message:
Luke 1:1-25 - "God's Will For The Barren"


One of the foundational truths of our faith is that God is Creator of all that is. God is also Sovereign which means He is the ultimate source of power, wisdom and authority over all of His creation. As our Sovereign Creator, He exercises His rule in our lives.
God has a purpose and a plan for our lives. We’ve all heard it many times prior to our salvation, and throughout our Christian walk, and it is true! It is essential to know Who God is so that we can understand His providence, which governs and directs all things according to His plan and purposes.

To ensure that His purposes are fulfilled, God governs the affairs of men and works through the natural order of things. The laws of nature are nothing more than God’s work in the universe. The laws of nature have no inherent power; but are the principles that God set in place to govern how things normally work. They are only “laws” because God decreed them.

Today’s study is titled, “God’s Will for the Barren.” It is a look at how God accomplished His will in the lives of Zaccharias and Elizabeth, his barren wife. God would open Elizabeth's womb to bring forth a son, fulfilling Old Testament prophecy as the forerunner of Jesus, our Messiah.

There are other godly women throughout the Old Testament who were barren: Isaac’s mother, Sarah (Genesis 11:30; 21:1-2); Jacob’s mother, Rebekah (Genesis 25:21);
Joseph’s mother, Rachel 
(Genesis 29:31; 30:22), to name a few. What's interesting to note is that their stories nonetheless showcase the power of God as He advances His promises, His plan, and His will in their lives by overcoming obstacles.

Elizabeth is only mentioned in Luke chapter 1, but we learn much about her in this chapter. She is described as a righteous woman living a life of willing obedience to God even in the midst of trials and difficulties. Patient, trusting and waiting - even when it seemed impossible being beyond childbearing years, she remained faithful to God, unwavering in her faith. Her husband Zaccharias is a Priest in the Temple, faithful to God in his calling. After years of praying and waiting, in their old age, an angel of the Lord appears to Him.  

God Alone is the One who has the power to open and close the Womb. The undeniable truth of Scripture tells us this plainly. If a child is conceived and born it is because God has created that life, formed that baby, and even caused the delivery of the child. In this case, and in other examples throughout scripture, God had a specific plan in Elizabeth’s barrenness, the miracle of John, the fulfillment of prophecy, according to His will, His purpose for the salvation of mankind.

No matter the circumstance, God is in control of all of His creation.  Sometimes trials are like barrenness - they are difficult.  Trials may come with the ridicule or reproach of others.  Our prayers may seem to go unanswered, and the waiting seems endless.  Yet God is in the details of our lives.  As we wait, He wants us to trust, to remain faithful and to grow in that faith.  He wants to use us for His glory and the work of His kingdom.  

Sometimes we are distracted by our own plans. We strive in the flesh to make things happen.  Remember, it is God's will that we should be striving for, and in His perfect timing, He will make it happen...even when we doubt.  

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