Continuing in our study of Luke . . .
Before introducing Jesus, Luke sets the stage with the story of the Lord’s cousin, John, and the wondrous way in which he came into this world. John’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were both descendants of the first high priest, Aaron. The Scripture says they lived upright and blameless lives – yet the Lord withheld the blessing of children from them. It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Sometimes the best people get the worst breaks. Ah, but there is still more to their story.
Luke 1:8-9 says that Zechariah was “chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord to burn incense” (v. 9). There were so many priests at this time that they could only perform the morning or evening burning of incense once, to allow each to participate. For any other priest, this was a simple “roll of the dice,” but for Zechariah, this was a divine set-up. Proverbs 16:33 reminds us, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” The “lot” fell exactly as God planned for Zechariah to receive the most important message of his life.
Throughout Scripture, God is seen orchestrating events to accomplish His purpose. In the lovely story of Ruth, we learn that the young woman went out to glean in the fields and “As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz” (Ruth 2:3). This was not happenstance; this was God working behind the scenes to bring a needy widow to her kinsman-redeemer and future husband. Remember when Mordecai told Ester: “Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Because of divine placement, Esther was instrumental in saving her people from annihilation.
Friend, I don’t know where you find yourself today, but I know it was not by chance. You are in your neighborhood, in your job, in your church, in your school because God has brought you there. It may not be where you think you want to be, but you are there by the hand and will of God. It may be a place of great ministry. It may be a place to grow. It may be a place to learn some challenging life lessons. Paul said the Lord “Determined the times set for [men] and the exact places where they should live” (Acts 17:26). It is true for me and for you. Listen carefully for His message. Look intently for His hand. You are exactly where you are “for such a time as this.”
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