There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. – Luke 1:5-7
When I read about Zacharias and Elizabeth in Luke 1, I’m mindful that it had been 400 years since the Lord had last spoke to Israel. 400 years of silence. Think about it. Have you ever experienced a time of silence in a relationship? It’s hard, isn’t it? Nowhere more so than when that silence involves God.
For Zacharias and Elizabeth there were untold years of silence when God did not answer their prayer, yet they remained faithful. God tells us that they were upright and blameless in His sight. They went about their daily lives faithfully serving the Lord and obeying all His commandments and regulations.
Even though the Lord was silent, they didn’t use that as an excuse to go off and live according to their own will or take things into their own hands. They didn’t become slack or lazy in doing what God had commanded. Their obedience and faithful service was not contingent on God blessing them or answering their prayers for a child.
In their culture, a couple that remained childless would likely bring judgmental speculation by others. Speculation that perhaps God had not given them a child because of hidden sin in their life. I think that Zacharias and Elizabeth’s commitment to walk upright and blameless before the Lord brought a measure of peace. Peace with God…a peace that passes all understanding. Peace that remained, no matter what others thought.
Instead of focusing on what they didn’t have, instead of listening to what others said about them, Zacharias and Elizabeth, kept their focus on God. They trusted that God was good…that He is exactly who He revealed Himself to be in His word. They believed that God was worthy of worship, praise and adoration because of who He is, not because of how He answered their prayers. Nor was it based on what He did for them.
I’m challenged by the faithful obedience of Zacharias and Elizabeth. Do I remain faithful and obedient to do what God commands even when He is silent? Am I willing to serve Him, bless Him and praise Him when God, by His perfect will and plan, chooses to withhold something that have I prayed for? Do I continue to pray, watch and wait expectantly for what God will do?