Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. —Luke 1:8-9
When we walk toward God, that doesn’t exempt us from problems. In fact, usually when you are trying to walk with God it guarantees that you are going to have problems. Consider Zacharias and Elizabeth: “They had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years” (Luke 1:7). They were in a hopeless situation, or so they thought. But notice how God intervened. “Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense” (vv. 8-9).
According to God’s instruction in 1 Chronicles 24, King David had taken all of Israel’s priests and divided them into 24 groups. Then, according to each group in each division, every priest would go to the temple in Jerusalem for one week, twice a year, to perform his duties. It was kind of like the National Guard of priests. You go to Jerusalem and perform your service one week a year, twice a year. So Zacharias, being one of those priests, was simply fulfilling his duty. He was in Jerusalem the week that he was supposed to be there to perform his service.
There were hundreds of priests who happened to be in Jerusalem on this particular week. So they cast lots to decide which priest would get the right that week to go inside the holy place and light incense on the altar and say a prayer. It was such a high honor to be the one chosen that you only got to do it once in your life. So notice what Luke is saying here: Zacharias just happened to be in Jerusalem on this particular day, and he just happened to be the one chosen to burn the incense on the altar in the temple. Of course, nothing happens by chance in God’s will. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
May I point out something that will be a great encouragement to you? When did God choose to answer Zachariah’s prayers? It wasn’t when he was by himself cloistered in a closet; it was when he was out performing his everyday responsibilities that God chose to speak to him.
We see that throughout the Bible. It is when people are doing their everyday chores that God seems to answer and give direction to them. Think about Moses and David. Where were they when God spoke to them? They were taking care of the sheep. Or think about Gideon. He was threshing wheat. Or think about Peter. Where was he when Jesus called him into service? He was doing his day job of mending nets.
When we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, that is when God can direct us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Touched by an Angel” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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