Zechariah’s song of hope

 

horn

 

Zechariah has now become a father in his old age.  After being barren, He and Elizabeth have had a son.  Zechariah can now speak after months of being silent.  He speaks out that the son given to him and Elizabeth will be called John.  Immediately his tongue is loosed and Zechariah begins to praise God.  His praise is about the coming Messiah and what that means to the people of Israel.  It is only a small verse  about the son he will have and what John’s life will be.  He now forgets the fact that he and Elizabeth have prayed for many years to have this child.  It is amazing what God will reveal when you are unable to speak for months.

Luke 1: 67-79Now 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 begun, 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 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.  And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Zechariah’s words of praise to God come after he has contemplated the meaning of the angel Gabriel’s message for nine months.  As a priest studying scriptures all the time, I am sure that Psalm 132:17 came to his mind many times during the long period of silence. Psalm 132: 17 says, ” There I will make a horn to sprout for David.  I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.  His enemies I will clothe with shame.

Zechariah’s song of praise comes from the knowledge that Messiah is coming and He will deliver His people from the curse of sin.  The purpose of delivering man from His enemies is that he “might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.” Luke 1:74-75.  Is that the attitude we have about our daily walk as a Christian?  Are we thankful for heaven but forget that we are to live here and now serving Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life?”

What does it mean then that the Lord has raised up a horn of salvation?
There were two points of emphasis I would like to bring out.

  1. The horn of salvation was a symbol of judgment that would come to those that refused to come by God’s way of provision.
  2. The horn was a symbol of power and strength given to those who would take refuge there.

“The horns of the altar in Jerusalem had provided a refuge for fugitives. Those who caught hold of the horns of the altar were granted asylum (I Kings 1:50-53).  The use of the horns sheds additional light on God’s statement in Amos 3:14.   “The horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground” (Amos 3:14 NASB). Some scholars believe that God’s promise that the horns of the altar would fall to the ground meant that there would be no place of asylum, no place to escape the coming judgement.” (Quote from gotquestions.org)  The scripture here in I Kings 1:50-53 is the story of Adonijah and Solomon.  When Solomon came to the throne after his father David died, “Adonijah feared Solomon. So he arose and went took hold of the horns of the altar. Then it was told Solomon, “Behold, Adonijah fears King Solomon, for behold, he has laid hold of the horns of the altar, saying, “Let King Solomon swear to me first that he will not put to death his servant with the sword. And Solomon said, ‘If he will show himself a worthy man, not one of the hairs shall fall to the earth, but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.”  Adonijah does not show himself a worthy man and Solomon has him put to death.   Later in the story Solomon also has Joab who was captain of the army and the priest Abiathar also put to death for their part in the betrayal of Solomon.  Joab tries to obtain mercy and forgives as Adonijah had but Joab was not repentant and therefore tried to come under false pretense just to save his life.  The lessons here for us I believe is there is a place of refuge and forgiveness when we come to the horn of salvation, Jesus Christ.  But when one comes, God wants a sincere heart, one that is truly repentant.  The problem in Amos’ prophecy was that the people thought they could come by their own standards idolatry and all.  God said no; my judgement stands.

The horn is a symbol of forgiveness but we run to it also for the strength and protection it provides. It is our chief weapon in the arsenal we have to use against our enemy, Satan.  In the temple, the priest would sacrifice the animal and dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it on the horns of the altar.  At the horns of the altar, atonement was made. The horn of the altar was a sacred place where sins were forgiven.  However, this atonement for their sin was only temporary.  Until the horn of our salvation, Jesus Christ, made his appearance and once for all times made atonement for man.

This season we celebrate the birth of our Savior who provides strength, protection from our enemies, forgiveness and salvation.

As we move through this week of advent season, the focus is on the hope of His coming.   The people of Israel longed for the coming of the Messiah. They studied the scriptures to know what was the sign of His coming.  Yet they missed Him!

We hope and long for His Coming again.  We study the scriptures to know the signs of His coming.  Yet many days we go through our busy schedules and we miss the opportunities to meet with Him and do the work He has called us to do.

This week let us focus on the hope that we have in Jesus as we make preparations for the celebration of His birth.

Love you ALL,

Freda Reynolds,

Treading forward.

Sidewalk Prophets  Hope was born this night

https://youtu.be/Fok1h3p1sh8

Let Hope fill our hearts because Hope was Born that night!

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