Lesson Ten | Devotion #6: Elizabeth
Sierra Combs | Women’s Ministry Director
Righteous. Blameless. Barren. One of these words is not like the other, especially in biblical times. But, they were the words used to describe a woman named Elizabeth.
Luke 1:5-7 says, “In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.”
In Elizabeth’s day and age, there was perhaps no greater shame for a married woman than being unable to bare a child. Whether true or not, being barren was often considered a curse or a result of some not so righteous living. It must have been difficult for her and her husband, not just because they longed for a child, but because their reputations were probably often questioned. They were already set apart as descendants of Aaron and members of the priesthood (Elizabeth, the daughter of a long line of priests and Zechariah, a priest himself). They had the “godly” credentials on paper, but the lack of children in their advanced age probably suggested the lack of favor from God.
Are you not glad that things are not always as they appear? 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that “the Lord sees not as man sees…the Lord looks on the heart.” Elizabeth had a righteous heart, “walking blamelessly in all commandments of the Lord.” While she must have known the stigma that she carried, she lived her life to please God, not men. She could have easily become angry with Him, knowing that she was doing everything right and yet she still was stuck in a hopeless situation. Instead of questioning why, Elizabeth and Zechariah prayed. They probably prayed for decades. It was all they could do. So many things in life are out of our control, but we can rest in the complete assurance that we have a mighty God who cradles our lives in His hands. While we may never know why and when, God has a plan.
His plan for Elizabeth was a great one. Luke 1:13-17 tells us that the prayers of Zechariah and Elizabeth were answered and that they would soon be given a son whose name would be called John, and that they would “have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord…he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will…make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
Their son would be John the Baptist, a man that had been prophesied centuries beforehand by the prophet Malachi. A man whose mission would be to prepare the way of the Messiah Jesus Christ who would be born to Elizabeth’s cousin Mary just months later! Matthew 11:11 says, “Among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” It was by no coincidence that God chose Elizabeth to be his mother in that specific place in time. She was faithful, righteous, and obedient. Coming from a long line of priests, she would have known God’s Word and how to raise a child in the ways of the Lord. She was the perfect woman for the job, and God blessed her.
Elizabeth lived a good portion of her life in what seemed like a hopeless situation, but God had great plans for her, in HIS perfect time. Likewise, God has great plans for you! If you are struggling, feeling like God has forgotten you or left you alone in difficult circumstances, do not lose hope! Live faithfully, be patient, and pray, as Elizabeth did. Your time may be coming soon. Our God is the God of the impossible!