05/26/T – A Prepared People

Numbers 21:1-30; Luke 1:8-25; Psalms 57:4-11; Proverbs 16:1-3

NT: “At the hour of incense the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified and overcome with fear. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:10-17‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

God was about to send His Son into the world. He wanted to make sure there were people prepared to receive Him and His message. To fulfill scripture, He anointed a prophet to prepare the way. That prophet was John the Baptist. John the Baptist’s parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth, a faithful couple who had served the Lord their entire life, but were without children. God had been preparing them and setting them apart for His anointed time – and His time had come. When the Angel Gabriel announced that Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers would be answered, he described the son that they would have: His name would be John (Jehovah is gracious), he would be fully dedicated Nazarite to the Lord his entire life, he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb, and he would launch a national revival that would turn God’s people back to Him. One thing that this world-wide pandemic and 2-month quarantine has done is turn the hearts of fathers to their children… and the hearts of children to their fathers. Is the Lord making people ready? As He is using a world-wide crisis to turn hearts from the frivolous and unnecessary to what is important and vital, could He be preparing a people? Could we see, not just a national revival, but a world-wide revival of people turning to the Lord? Are we prepared? Have we allowed our hearts to be turned? Or will we go back to busying our lives with the frivolous and unnecessary and forsake, once again, the things that are most important?

Psalms: “My heart is confident, God, my heart is confident. I will sing; I will sing praises. Wake up, my soul! Wake up, harp and lyre! I will wake up the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your faithful love is as high as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches the clouds. God, be exalted above the heavens; let your glory be over the whole earth.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭57:7-11‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

David wrote this psalm when he had to hide in a cave as he was fleeing for his life from King Saul. His confidence didn’t come from his ability to defend himself. His confidence came from God’s faithfulness to defend him. His confidence was placed in God’s checed (mercy, goodness, covenantal love toward him) and faithfulness that exceeded all understanding. David was a man who remained prepared to receive all God had for him by keeping his eyes ever on the Lord and remaining ready to praise the Lord at all times. He wouldn’t allow a day to start without giving God the praise that He deserved – even if he was hiding in a cave… especially if he was having to hide in a cave.

Proverbs: “All a person’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs motives. Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:2-3‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

We can easily be deceived into thinking we are doing good when we are not. How often do we give ourselves a pass because the ends justify the means. If our “intentions” are good, then we don’t judge our actions or lack of action. God doesn’t get deceived. We can remain on the righteous path, prepared for all He has for us, by committing everything we do to Him. If we lay everything before Him and submit fully to His leadership, He will direct our paths and plan our day. Then the things that we do will be established by the Lord.

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