Christmas Devotions

Dec 3 – O the unbelieving heart!

December 3, 2016

Luke 1:5-25; Malachi 4:5

I was watching the movie “Ben-Hur” the other night, and it amazed me how much I didn’t know about the world that Israelites lived in. The Jews were oppressed by the Roman government, and the cities were in turmoil. The Romans did whatever pleased them, and the sacred places were destroyed so that the Romans could entertained themselves. The Jews rebelled but none of them could prevail for centuries. Is there hope for the very nation of God to be free again? I think the movie Ben-Hur portrayed the lives of the Jews pretty well although the acting weren’t so great.

What is happening in Luke 1 is Zachariah, the High Priest speaking to the angel while he was in the temple. He and his wife Elizabeth could not have children, and it was considered a curse in the Israelite tradition. A son was promised to Zachariah, but it was different than what is promised to Mary. This son is the one who prepares the hearts of God’s people to be ready for the coming of the Lord. He is not the Lord, but he will greatly used so that people may see the Lord.

How many of us see ourselves as John the Baptist? As we worship; as we praise; as we live our lives righteous before the Lord; we are being like John the Baptist. We make way for the Lord – so that people’s hearts may know the presence of the Lord. We are not to take the throne, nor are we to get the spotlight.

But Zachariah, the High Priest, who knew the Scripture inside and out, couldn’t believe! He doubted. Although the angel told him that his prayers were answered, he couldn’t remember his prayers nor couldn’t he recognize the ones who answered the prayers of men. He was not allowed to say a word until the word of God was fulfilled. With our unbelief, we cannot proclaim the word of God. Unbelieving hearts cannot contain the true word of the Lord. The word of the Lord takes the believing hearts and transforms it by showing what to believe.

This verse “Luke 1:18 And Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years'” reminds me of Abraham in Genesis. In Rom 4:18, we see his faith as “in hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.'”  The Lord always has his ways of turning impossibility to the possibility. For our unbelieving hearts cannot know it is from the Lord unless we see that nothing is impossible with Him. Praise be to Him!

With faith, we receive salvation, which was impossible without Christ.

The movie “Ben-Hur” did an okay job in portraying Jesus and his divinity until the last scene. Jesus did not come just to make bad people to good, but to make dead people come alive. He shows us that there is another world without corruption, and that we can live this corrrupted world through His power.

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