by Pastor Tim Burt
How do we hear from God when trouble comes and we seek His help? That is the question of the ages!
When Zechariah and Elizabeth were old and beyond the age of childbearing, an angel, Gabriel, told Zechariah that he and Elizabeth would become pregnant and have a son. The angel told him his son was to be named John and he would be great in the eyes of the Lord. Zechariah struggled with doubt because he knew he and Elizabeth were beyond childbearing years. Zechariah expressed that doubt to the angel and suddenly could not talk. The angel said he would not be able to until after John was born. Zechariah left this experience knowing he had experienced a very real encounter with God through this angel. Elizabeth knew she needed to get away and be alone where she could be with the Lord and sort this all out! And so, she “hid” herself for five months from everyone. Luke 1:24 (NIV) “After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.
This was a miracle that presented challenges in their life. Who would believe them? How would she as an old woman have the strength to deliver and raise a child? She and Zechariah were very godly people. She needed to keep this quiet and process this entire experience in prayer and study of the word. She needed to hear from God for herself.
Soon, Mary was also visited by Gabriel and told she would become impregnated by the Spirit of God and give birth to His Son Jesus. (Go back and read all this in your Bible as these are marvelous stories and truths.) The angel also told her that her cousin Elizabeth was six months pregnant. Mary believed all that was told her and became impregnated by the Spirit of God. She hurried to go see Elizabeth. I believe part of her motivation was also to get away from the gossip this could stir and see God’s doing with her own eyes as she prayed about how to walk this news out. Together they would help each other!
As you think about this, think about the difficulty of the circumstances in their lives. Who is going to believe either of them? People will think they are crazy and gossip all day long. How would they walk this out? We all have situations that come up. We seek God and want to hear from and have Him shows us what to do. The temptation to doubt almost always comes. The assurance needed does not come from other people’s opinions but by continuing to pray and receive the confirmation that brings us our own peace and confidence to move forward in Him.
When Mary came and visited Elizabeth, immediately the Holy Spirit began to speak through her.
Luke 1:41-43 (NLT) “At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?”
Examine these words spoken. Elizabeth experiences confirmation in her heart by the very words that she is speaking that she knows are not from her mind, but from the Spirit of God. Her baby leaps at the site of Mary. But then she also asks the question; Why would Mary visit her? Elizabeth had been in seclusion. No one knew about her baby. The Spirit of God begins to speak through Mary as He did Elizabeth and they both pronounce great declarations from God. They both learn they’ve both been visited by the angel Gabriel. They both come to understand how God has led each of them. There were no coincidences. God has performed miracles and led them in every step. They now know and have confidence and peace! This is what confirmation from God brings!
We all have difficult times in our life. We need God’s help and direction and yet things can seem so crazy that we think, “How could God help me and how will I hear from Him?” For me personally, there are four main sources (but not limited to that) that God finds a way to speak to me. One is directly through the Word of God. Another is through my wife. Another is through those speaking in our church pulpit. The other is through a weekly Bible study breakfast with a group of guys whom I study the Word of God and pray with. I count on hearing things in my heart from God in all of these places.
As God used two godly people to speak and confirm His will to each other, so God wants those kinds of people in your life. If you try to fix all your problems yourself while neglecting time to read, pray, and hear from God, then you might not hear from God. But if you will wait upon Him, then no matter what is going on, God will find a way to speak into your life and lead and help you! He’ll use His Word, your Pastor, your spouse, and often godly people He has surrounded you with!
Isaiah 30:18 (NLT) “So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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