So many women who gave birth to great men of God were barren in the Old Testament. God opens and closes wombs. He decides when a little life will be formed in that sacred place.
Look at this list:
- Abraham and Sarah (Isaac’s mom)
- Isaac and Rebecca (Jacob’s mom)
- Jacob and Rachel (Joseph’s mom)
- Elkanah and Hannah (Samuel’s mom)
- Zechariah and Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mom)
“I wonder if when they finally got their babies, they stood in awe of the only One who creates life.”
All those men who came from previously barren women were world changers. I wonder if the closing of the wombs didn’t humble each of those couples. I wonder if when they finally got their babies, they stood in awe of the only One who creates life.
Samuel was God’s pure voice after the priesthood had been totally defiled by Eli’s wicked sons. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the vessels God used to bring His Son into this dark world. Zachariah and Elizabeth got the high privilege of bringing John the Baptist into the world; the one who prepared the way for His Son.
“Each of these couples have something in common, they loved each other very much.”
Each of these couples have something in common, they loved each other very much. Great men and women are rarely made in loveless homes. It can happen, but the damage done by selfish parents is real and lasts to the third and fourth generation according to scripture.
“If you want children that are great in the kingdom, it starts with you.”
One of the greatest gifts parents will ever give their children is the gift of loving each other. If you want children that are great in the kingdom, it starts with you. If your home is a warzone, don’t be surprised when your kids grow up and reject God. There are no perfect homes or parents, but love will cover so many of our mistakes.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8
“People who live by faith have a characteristic that drives their lives… they love.”
God cared deeply about the people who would shape His kingdom. He didn’t choose random people to birth the great men and women of the world. He chose people who lived by faith. People who live by faith have a characteristic that drives their lives… they love.
As I read Luke, chapter 1, I was struck by Zechariah’s prayer. He was a priest and was chosen by lot to offer incense in the Holy Place. This was a great honor and would only happen one time in his entire life. He would offer prayers for God’s people on the altar of incense. Smoke would fill the temple as worshippers stayed outside and bowed low in worship and prayer.
Zechariah and Elizabeth had no children. It was considered a disgrace for a woman to have no baby at that time. People would wonder what she had done to displease God since He had closed her womb.
Scripture says about these two:
Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
“Nothing is too hard for our God.”
God waited a long time. They were both very old. It would take a miracle. Nothing is too hard for our God.
As Zechariah prayed, Gabriel (the archangel who stands in the presence of God) suddenly appeared and said, “ “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 1:13)
“Men and women of God are not just born, they are shaped by the faith of their mom and dad.”
What was his prayer on this one occasion when he stood before God on behalf of God’s people? He knew for sure he had God’s ear and he didn’t waste a word. His list had the one he loved at the very top! When he got the chance to meet with God, his heart cried out for his wife! They were old and they still loved and cherished each other. No wonder God put His beloved forerunner in their house to grow up. Men and women of God are not just born, they are shaped by the faith of their mom and dad.
Listen to the words of Gabriel after he told Zechariah his prayer was heard:
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
“When a couple lives by faith, God is always in their midst, working everything for good. God’s delays are always for a reason.”
God had Zechariah and Elizabeth in the perfect place… desperate for the son He wanted to give them. He set the stage to have a heavenly messenger tell him all about that son. God wanted Israel to realize someone very special was entering the world through that barren womb. When a couple lives by faith, God is always in their midst, working everything for good. God’s delays are always for a reason. I love the fact that Elizabeth’s barren condition didn’t dominate her life, her marriage and her faith. She trusted God with it and continued to be a great wife and woman of God.
When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Elizabeth didn’t understand why God allowed her the disgrace of being barren. She didn’t let it define her or make her into a miserable person to be around. She was the joy of her husband and a blessing in her circle. God rewarded her faithfulness with letting her be the chosen vessel of the man that Jesus proclaimed, “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John..” (Luke 7:28)
“When we leave our future in God’s hands and serve him faithfully and joyfully, we will receive from Him more than we ever dreamed.”
When we leave our future in God’s hands and serve him faithfully and joyfully, we will receive from Him more than we ever dreamed. That’s just who God is.
“Suffering reveals whether we have faith or not.”
If we get upset with Him in the waiting, try to push our agenda through, and doubt His goodness, we shouldn’t be surprised when life is a huge disappointment. It matters how we suffer. Suffering reveals whether we have faith or not. Suffering can tear a husband and wife apart, or we can let God take it and use it to bind us together.
The tenderness of an old man going into God’s Presence with his beloved bride on his mind touches me. He had the weight of the nation of Israel on his heart as he stood before God at the altar of incense. What kind of woman must Elizabeth have been to that man of God that she was on his heart like she was. She didn’t have a baby, but her God and her man got the best she had to give. She didn’t wait until life was how she wanted it to be faithful in her calling. God exceeded her expectations! He wants to do that for each and every one of us.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.