Sunday, October 25, 2009

Luke 1:67-75 Zechariahs praise

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

Luke 1:67-75 Benedictus

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Calvin abridged: “Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit” This phrase means that the servants of God receive more abundantly the grace of the Spirit at some times more than others though they were not without it. When the Spirit was given to the prophets, the Spirit was more fully exerted in them when they were brought into the public view to discharge their office. This was a remarkable instance of the goodness of God, that not only did Zacharias recover the power of speech, which he had not enjoyed for nine months, but his tongue became the organ of the Holy Spirit. 68 “Blessed be the Lord God”- He starts with thanksgiving, and by the Spirit describes Christ on which the safety and prosperity of the church depended. The people of God had sunk to such a depth of calamity, and were overwhelmed and distressed, that no one entertained the thought that the eye of God was upon them. The visitation of God is said to be the cause and origin of redemption. The efficacy of Christ’s redemption was the same for those who believed before Christ came. 69- “Raised up the horn of salvation”- speaks of God’s saving power. When the rhtone of David was cast down, and the people were scattered, the hope of salvation had to all appearance perished (cf. Ps. 132:17). David was the chosen servant of God to rule and save the people- as Christ does in fulfillment of that office. 70- “As he said through the prophets”- The means of salvation through Christ is not new- but was predicted by the prophets. This was not just a celebration of God’s truth and promises, but also a witness so that the people might believe in Christ. 71- “Salvation from our enemies”- The Church has always had enemies outward, inward, and spiritual. As long as the Church continues her pilgrimage in the world, she lives amongst her foes but Christ is always at hand to grant assistance. No enemy, power, schemes or attacks will prevent our deliverance to an everlasting salvation (Is. 45:17). The fountain from which redemption flowed is God’s mercy and covenant (vs. 72). This mercy also extended to those ancestors in the Old Testament. It is not that the Old Testament fathers earned their faith by keeping the law. 74- “To enable us to serve him”- God has a purpose so that being redeemed they may dedicate and consecrate themselves to the Author of their salvation. The final cause is that we might glorify His name. We should remember this our calling carefully. We are admitted by adoption into the family of God that we may yield obedience as children to a father. We frustrate the grace of Christ if we do not follow that design (Gal. 2:21). “without fear”- This implies that we cannot worship God properly without composure of mind. Those who wonder if God is favorable or hostile to them who fluctuate between hope and fear will be anxious in their worship of God, but not obey Him. We must obtain peace of conscience before our worship of God. 75- “In holiness and righteousness” We serve God properly when we serve him with holiness and righteousness looking to do so all the days of our lives.

Thoughts: This passage is sometimes called the “Benedictus” after the Latin translation of the first words here. God sought to bless all peoples through his Messiah’s coming. Zechariah knew that John’s coming meant the Messiah was close at hand. He had his ear to the ground, listening for God to speak to him—especially after the angel came and made him mute. There is an 84 foot antennae dish (radio telescope) outside of Harvard whose main job is to listen for extra terrestrial life. This takes a great deal of time and money. I wonder if we would do the same for listening for God and His will for us.

Prayer: Lord, you are worthy of praise and help us to love you and hear your voice.

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