Born a descendant of Aaron, his entire life had been spent as a temple priest. “Upright” and “blameless in obedience” are the phrases that describe his lifestyle. As a young bridegroom he had asked a favor from God. In his middle years, he had begged for the favor. For decades he had served; he had prayed; he had obeyed. Now he was too old, and still he petitioned: but God had not delivered. He is Zechariah, and he has no children.
Does your service depend upon getting something in return? Will your obedience waver when prayers go unanswered? Is your hope entombed by circumstance; your attitude soured by waiting?
Enter the angel Gabriel. “Fear not! Your prayers have been heard!” Zechariah is startled out of his routine as he hears the words he has longed for: “Your wife will bear you a son!” Zechariah asks the same question of the same angel that a young virgin would soon ask: “How can this be?” Unlike Mary, however, Zechariah is punished for his disbelief by losing his speech.
Do you believe God hears prayers, even after years of silence? Are you still alert enough to hear His messengers of hope? Does your surprise reveal your lack of belief? Does God expect more faith from a more mature believer than from a young girl? If so, what does He expect from you?
Zechariah is never told why he had to wait so long; he is only told about his coming son. “Call him John; set him apart; prepare him for his mission.” These were the words Zechariah was given. This boy-child was chosen and special. Not only would he be cousin to Messiah, but he would also serve to prepare Israel for Messiah’s coming! The son of Zechariah would grow to be John the Baptist. He would be the “voice of one, crying in the wilderness.”
What does it mean to wait on God? It does not mean to wait for God to grant your desire. It might mean waiting until God becomes your desire. Service and obedience will be by-products of a relationship that is time-tested. Good news will not be so surprising. Faith will come more naturally. Visiting messengers will be recognized and welcomed. You will play a part in building the Kingdom of God.