The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard.”
Some of you are seeking God’s direction about specific decisions, maybe about where to go to school, what vocation to choose, or which person to marry. May I point out three principles about how to find God’s will in your life whenever you are seeking God’s direction?
Number one: Walk blamelessly before the Lord. That’s what Zacharias and Elizabeth did. They were obedient to God in every way they possibly could be. You cannot be disobeying God blatantly and also asking Him for direction. He just won’t give it to you. According to 1 Peter 3:12, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” If you want God’s direction in your life, then walk blamelessly before the Lord.
Number two: Persist in prayer. That’s what Zacharias did. He never quit praying for a child. In Luke 18, Jesus told a story about how we ought to “pray and not to lose heart” (v. 1). We are not to pray only when the answer seems obvious, but we are to pray even when the answer seems impossible.
Number three: Be faithful in your everyday responsibilities. If you want God’s direction in your life, then be sure you are not only obeying God but also fulfilling your everyday responsibilities to your family, to your workplace, and to your church. That is when God is most likely to speak.
Now, it was while Zacharias was in the temple that the angel appeared. “An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel and fear gripped him” (Luke 1:11-12). Why was Zacharias gripped with fear? Remember, God had not spoken for 400 years, and that means nobody alive in Zacharias’s day had ever seen an angel. The Jews knew about angels from the Old Testament; and they knew that whenever an angel appeared, it was usually an angel of judgment. So when Zacharias saw an angel suddenly appear before him, he thought, “This is it. My life is over.”
But notice how the angel greeted Zacharias. He said, “Do not be afraid … for your petition has been heard” (v. 13). What petition? The obvious one is his petition for a son–he and Elizabeth had been praying for years that God would give them a child. But I think it’s more than that. It was not only their petition for a child, but it was also the nation’s petition for a Savior. For hundreds of years the Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah to come. So when Gabriel said, “Your petition has been heard,” he wasn’t just referring to a petition for a son but also to the petition for a Savior.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Touched by an Angel” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.