Consider the case of Elizabeth and Zachariah, a couple from good families but without children. In that time childlessness was considered a sign of God’s judgment on sin. Can you imagine the whispers? “She has no children. Was it her sin or her husband’s?” Or “Old Zechariah seems like a good man, but his wife has no children. Such a shame!” And so it went for many years.
Indeed, the old couple felt the shame deeply, especially Elizabeth who says, “it was a disgrace among the people” (v. 25). People can be insensitive, even cruel, but they can also be very wrong. In verse six, we learn that Zechariah and Elizabeth were “righteous in the sight of God.” In God’s sight! Whatever people around them thought, God had a different opinion.
Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish convert to Christianity, writes: “Zechariah and Elisabeth would have had all that was beautiful in the religion of the time: devotion towards God; a home of affection and purity . . . and above all, intense faith and hope in the higher and better future of Israel.”1 Some people spend their whole lives concerned with what other people think. They constantly compare themselves to others. They can become perfectionists, desperately trying to make sure there is no crack in their image.
It is not wrong to be well thought of, but God’s opinion of us is infinitely more precious than that of humans. Who are you trying to please most? Treasure God’s view of you above all else. Live for him alone!
Lord God, Thank you for freeing me from the burden of living to please others. Thank you for reminding me that I live solely for you and that what is important is faithfulness to your will. Guide me today so that I accomplish your will freely in the power of the Spirit, as an act of loving worship. Amen.
Throughout This Day: Whenever you feel pressured to please people rather than God, remember that all he asks of you is faithfulness to his will.
Reference: 1. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1896, chapter 3.
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