August 30, 2018
Luke 1:8-11… Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was a priest according to the tradition of the Jews. They were grouped together in divisions according to birth. He was in the lineage of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was from the lineage of Aaron. At the time of this encounter, his division was on duty. He was chosen by lot to enter the temple and burn incense.
“chosen by lot” … That seems strange to me. Casting lots was, in my mind, a form of gambling… or at least a goofy way to choose someone to do a duty. But, here it is recorded in the Bible. I have always thought, “That was then; this is now.” And I just sort of wrote it off. Today, though, the Lord asked me a question, “By what criteria would you make the decision?” I pondered how to answer Him. Have you ever pondered a question in your heart, realizing it was from God? I thought of some possible answers: Zechariah looks good today; ‘He just got a haircut’, or, ‘He is wearing a new shirt’, or, ‘He quit swearing last week.’ Or, ‘He hasn’t served for awhile.’ Each of those criteria was performance based, or human based. He was chosen by lot. He did not rig the election; God selected him. God planned to talk to him.
“on duty”… Zechariah was serving in a ministry that was going to be done away with. Jesus changed all that. He replaced all the ritualistic pomp and circumstance with His sacrifice on the cross. But, Zech was faithful to what he knew. Are we faithful to what we know? Are you? Can God say of you, “I know where he/she will be tomorrow morning at the hour of prayer?” Do you have an ‘hour of prayer.’ Sweet hour of prayer
That calls me from a world of care
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known