Set Free to Praise

Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. Luke 1:64 (NIV)

The baby is born to Elizabeth.  The Jewish custom was to take the baby to be circumcised on the eighth day.  Zechariah had been unable to speak since the angel had appeared to him to announce that the elderly couple would have a son.  Relatives had come to share the joy of the birth of this boy.  But as they went through with the ritual ceremony, they wanted to set the boy´s name after his father.  Elizabeth objected.  Zechariah spelled it out for them on a tablet that the boy was to be called John as the angel had told him.  At this, the elderly man´s voice was restored to him and he began to praise the Lord.

Zechariah praises God for thinking of His people.  His tongue is loosed so that he could speak words that he may not entirely understand.  He speaks of God´s mercy and care for His people.  He describes how a loving God is intelligently working out His great plan to look after and restore His children to Him.  He mentions his awareness that God was bringing up a descendant to come and save us.  Then he calls blessings upon his own son by saying that the child will one day be called a prophet of the Most High.  He will prepare the hearts of men for the saving grace of light sent from heaven.  He speaks of the tender mercy of God that will be shown to us all. He says that God is deliberate giving us a Way to patch what is wrong between us and our Maker.

Throughout the Bible we find accounts of people who speak of things which they cannot possibly see at the time.  Here is a man describing events which will take place when this baby is grown up.  These words come to him in a moment when he is filled with praise to his God.  How can he even imagine the things of which he is speaking?  Could he even fathom the depths of the words he was offering up?  Could it be that the same powerful Entity which was formulating and putting His great plan of salvation into action was also stirring in the heart of this man?  Is it possible that when God moves, it reaches into the souls of trusting people?  If God in Heaven begins a mighty work, should we think that the waves of His Spirit may sweep over those who turn to look at Him? Should people who truly love their Creator be able to feel and to sense when His mighty arm is at work in their lives?

As we study on into the story of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ, could we take note of God´s careful planning?  More than a beautiful story, can we see God´s attempt to reach out and touch the lives of those who would put their hope in Him?  Do we feel a sense of wonder after the compassion and care by which the Lord works out a Way for His people to be reunited with Him?  Are we stirred ourselves by His generous and loving gestures?  Can we feel our hearts reaching out to Him in awe?  Would we like to know such grace?  Would we like to study into what is relayed to us by His gestures and demonstrations?   Do we want to know what is in the heart of the One who designed us?  Are we truly interested to know the One who says He cares enough about us to go to great lengths to teach us of Him, of His love and of His mercy?

Dear Father in Heaven, we read of how Your movements affected other people.  We take note of how they looked towards You.  As we stop now and turn to You, be pleased to teach us of You.  Give us a sense of Your Presence please.  Let us feel and know Your great love for us and Your mercy.  Prepare us too to be moved by what we experience today.

Amen

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