I want to give you my main point right away and then I’ll explain it. Following God’s will is less about “getting it right” and more about trusting in His faithfulness. Many people think of finding God’s will as a series of choices and decisions that, when chosen wisely, lead to blessing and that, when decided upon foolishly, lead to hardship and struggle. For example, years ago you may have been deciding between two jobs, took one and were laid off a few years later. Your reaction might have been to assume you had chosen wrongly. This could be true in other areas or in pieces of your life having to do with your parenting, your marriage, or in the lives of you children. However, and this is a hard thing for me to write because I don’t know all of your circumstances, have you ever considered the events of your life, even the hard ones to be evidences of God’s grace and mercy and thought that maybe they were exactly what God willed for you?
A few weeks ago, we talked about Zechariah, an old man who was faithful to God, but challenged God’s declaration that he and his barren wife would have a son. This was probably a very sore subject for Zechariah and, perhaps, he couldn’t bear the thought of getting his hopes up one more time. No matter what the case, this time was different. This was God saying his wife, Elizabeth, would have a baby boy. When Zechariah faltered to believe this message from God he was rebuked. Rebuke is not always a bad thing, specifically when it is from God. In fact, several times in the wisdom literature, God tells us how beneficial a timely and meaningful rebuke can be (Prov. 13:1, Eccl. 7:5).
There are many examples of men and women who are reprimanded by God throughout the Bible. Some use it as an excuse to turn away and run from the Lord, but many others receive God’s correction and are drawn into a deeper, more satisfying relationship with Him because of that glimpse of His great mercy. Zechariah needed rebuke and correction and out of it came some of the most profound words of worship in the Bible. God’s temporary punishment was exactly what Zechariah needed: the opportunity to witness God’s faithfulness and praise Him for it.
That was Zechariah. How will you respond? In our pride and because of our sin, each one of us needs the reproof of God from time to time. It is not a penalty. His rebuke flows from His great mercy. In other words, God disciplines us because He loves us. As in the Bible, many people run away from God after rebuke, but when they do, they miss the opportunity to behold His faithfulness and the sweet blessing of being drawn into deeper fellowship with Him. I love Luke 1. Its conclusion in verses 56-80 is difficult at times, but they are the perfect culmination to the profound events that have already taken place. I hope you will be there to talk about it. I look forward to seeing you Sunday!
For the sake of His name,