Luke 1:18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.”
It never struck me before, but Zechariah and Elizabeth had to be under 50, because Numbers 4 states clearly that priests and Levites were to serve from age 30 to age 50. With current medicine and life expectancies that’s not old at all! It is probable that Elizabeth was younger than Zechariah, which means that she was still in the “surprise baby” bracket, of women who think they are in menopause and so stop using birth control. In other words, the only miraculous thing about John’s conception was the healing of Elizabeth’s previous infertility, and the angelic announcement. That makes Zechariah’s skepticism all the more pronounced. In this case God was gracious enough to override that skepticism, but so often we cut ourselves off from untold blessings by failing to believe and trust God. Because John was so important to God’s plan, Zechariah got off with being struck mute for nine months, but I think God often just uses someone else, or even delays what He had planned. I see people all the time who disqualify themselves in their own minds from being used by God, somehow feeling that their weaknesses are too great for God to overcome. We forget things like Moses being 80 when he had the encounter with God at the burning bush, and having a severe stutter on top of that, and he was pretty resistant to boot! God can and will use any yielded vessel, if we will only trust Him.
Wow! I had never seen this in this passage before. Right now I am 66, more than two years older than my father was at his death and at least 16 years older than Zechariah was in this story, but not “old” by current standards. By God’s grace I have never been particularly self-limiting, being ready to try my hand at almost anything, but recently I have been using age as an excuse more and more. I am not to be presumptuous, but neither am I to draw back from anything God directs me to do. I have been quick to see how others have excluded themselves from the flow of God’s grace and power, but blind to the fact that I have the same tendency. The focus has got to be on Him, now and always. I’ve got to praise Him for what He is going to do even before I can see how it could possibly come to pass. His plans are indeed greater than I could imagine, and I’ve got to trust Him enough to be fully available to Him, however He wants to use me.
Father, thank You for this powerful Word! I really don’t know what You are going to do, but I’m getting excited! Help me approach each day, each moment, with an anticipation of Your power, Your love and grace, being manifested in, around, and even through me. May Your Name be hallowed indeed as Your kingdom comes and Your will is done, right here on this earth, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!