The Promise Keeper

Day 4

Luke 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And 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 the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
Christmas is a time of promises.

Each year we make promises at Christmas time. We promise gifts, we promise that we’ll be together, and even some of our songs are full of promises. “I’ll be Home for Christmas” anyone?

The season of Christmas is the season of promise. We build traditions, and these traditions are full of the promise that they will continue. Promises are from a place of trust, and a place of hope.

The Bible is full of promises! One man, named Dr. Evereck Storms, counted all the promises in the Bible and found 8,819 promises. Almost 8,000 of these were from God to men. Books like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel have over 1,000 promises each. Almost every verse in Psalm 37 contains a promise. There are a lot of promises in the Bible.

It’s amazing the number of promises that we find in scripture; but what’s even more amazing is that God keeps all of His promises. God is the greatest promise keeper that ever was, and ever will be.

Luke 1:13 “But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard;”

Gabriel says that he does not have to be afraid of him, and that his prayer had been heard. But what were they praying for? Well, they had been praying for a child. However, we see in verse 18 that Zacharias had long ago stopped praying for a child. He had thought his prayers for a child were not being heard or had been ignored.

They had prayed and waited. And prayed. And waited. And no child came.

But it wasn’t because God didn’t hear their prayers. It wasn’t because they were sinning, and so God wasn’t answering their prayers. It was because God had something in store for them beyond anything they could ask or imagine. They would become the parents of John the Baptist who would prepare the way for Jesus Christ. They had waited on God, and God had answered.
God kept his promise to Israel, he kept his promise to Zacharias, and he kept his promise to us. He keeps all His promises to us.

For some of us, we’re waiting on a promise. Some of us are waiting on a prayer to be answered. Israel waited 400 years for their prayer to be answered, for their promise to be fulfilled. Zacharias waited many years for his promise to be fulfilled and was left silent until his child was born. Some of us have been waiting years for a promise from God. We’ve waited for our prayers to be answered. Promises come from a place of trust. When we put our trust in God, he will fulfill our prayers.

Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

The Christmas season is a reminder of the promise of Christ. The Christmas season is a reminder that God is for us, and who can be against us? Christmas is a reminder that God keeps all of his promises. God is the ultimate promise keeper, and we can trust that our prayers will be answered. We celebrate his promise each year. We celebrate the birth of our Messiah each year during Christmas. We celebrate the greatest promise to us from God.
Philip Wines | Abingdon Student Pastor

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