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Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham: to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:67-75)
Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit when he prophesied these words.
And his words were not the same as Mary’s.
Before we talk about what we have just read, I’d like you to pay attention to the following: Mary was not unable to speak for months… We could say that her situation was different because she had a different reaction.
Both of them asked questions. Zacharias asked a question because he had doubts, while Mary asked a question because she believed what the angel had told her. She wanted to know how it was going to happen and what she should do.
After being unable to speak for months, Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied.
When will we be filled with the Holy Spirit and used by God?
When we decide to pay the price and learn from Him.
“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people.”
To redeem is to save from error or evil.
When Zacharias said those words, he was emphasising God’s care for us. He knew the people of Israel had no right to His mercy because, despite having been chosen, they had made many mistakes.
And the same thing happens to us when we learn and recognise God’s mercy, for we have no right to be saved because of our mistakes.
“… and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.”
Even though we believe in God and keep His discipline and commandments, we fail Him many times. In light of this, all we can say is that salvation is a powerful thing!
Zacharias saw God’s mercy in his life. This is why his words were so clear and to the point. He recognised his mistakes and learned his lesson.
He was a righteous man, yet he had to learn. And so do we. We make mistakes but we have to carry on learning.
“… that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us…”
God allows us to go through difficulties so we can learn to break free from what holds us back, from our ‘enemies’, e.g. our own will, our feelings.
“… to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham…”
Everyone sins… but God never changes! His mercy never ends.
God does not need to take oaths, for He has all the power and does not need to convince anyone of this. Then, why did He take an oath?
Because he values each one of us and insists that we remain confident. This is why He swore by Himself and by the covenant He had with the patriarchs.
“… to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear…”
We feel frustrated when we are dominated by our feelings. We can’t praise God out of fear; instead, we do it in a religious way, with repetitive and meaningless words.
Because when faith is contaminated with feelings, it’s emotional.
When our feelings (our ‘enemies’) are controlling us, we can’t be bold or decisive. We can only be bold when we are free from the bondage of sin.
Zacharias would never be able to praise God freely if he had allowed his doubts to prevail.
When we break free from the bondage of sin, all worries, doubts and suspicions go away. This is why I consider feelings sin, because they hold us back. They are our enemies!
“… in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.”
We live in holiness when we live according to the Word of God and not according to our feelings.
We cannot eliminate our feelings, but we have to be aware that they are our enemies. So, every time we see that they are trying to take the lead, we must cut them at the root. We cannot allow them to prevail — not even for a day!
Dear friend, you have to cut the evil at the root.
I don’t know your situation, but one thing I know: if you remain the same after the 40-Day Challenge ends, it’s a sign that you are living by emotion, not by faith. You have accepted the Word of God with joy, but you have not hated your mistakes, and you have not valued yourself.
And when do we value ourselves?
When we fight to be independent from what other people think about us.