May 14

Rev Gav

Praise

Luke 1:65-68. Worship is a way of establishing a right perspective or relationship with God. We are saying, “God, you are king, and we are your subjects.”

Luke 1: 65-68

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. 58 And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”

61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:

68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has visited and redeemed his people.

69 He has sent us a mighty Savior
    from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised
    through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies
    and from all who hate us.
72 He has been merciful to our ancestors
    by remembering his sacred covenant—
73 the covenant he swore with an oath
    to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies
    so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
    for as long as we live.

76 “And you, my little son,
    will be called the prophet of the Most High,
    because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
    through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy,
    the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    and to guide us to the path of peace.”

80 John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel.

Reflect

Zechariah, Elizabeth, and the baby John became an overnight sensation. Everyone had heard about their fame and everyone was gossiping about who John might grow up to be. As we will see later on, this fame becomes very useful when John starts his public ministry to prepare people for the coming of Jesus.

Zechariah had been made mute by an angel and now, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, his first words after being unable to speak for nine months, were words of praise to God. For centuries, Christians have used Zechariah’s prophecy in their own worship. They call it the ‘Benedictus’ because in Latin (the Roman language in which the Bible was first translated), the first word of Zechariah’s prophecy is ‘Benedictus’ (which means ‘praise’) and so the title stuck.

Even though Zechariah was a righteous and religious guy, he realised that he still had more to learn about God. He had not got God all sewn up or in a box, and so his opening words were words of praise. In the same way, when we praise God, it is a way of establishing a right perspective between God and ourselves. We are essentially saying, “God, you are king, and we are your subjects.”

Do

Today, begin by praising God. What characteristics of God can you think of that are worth praising? Praise God for those characteristics.

Pray

Holy God
I praise you for who you are,
and for all the wondrous things that you’ve done.
Lord Jesus, you’re the king of all creation,
and I give my life to you.
Holy Spirit, you’re the giver of life,
come and fill me again,
that I might give the one God;
Father, son and Holy Spirt,
my undivided worship and my own songs of praise.
This day and forever.
Amen.

Think

If you were to spend time Reflecting on the character of God, what do you think the first words to come out of your mouth would be? Start by saying, “God is…”

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