But the angel of the Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him, John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many people of Israel to the Lord their God…”
Zechariah and his wife were both very old, so this baby that they prayed for was truly a gift from God. This baby was created with purpose. This baby came with instructions. The angel Gabriel made it quite clear when he said “he is never to take wine or fermented drink,” that John shall not partake in any drinking at all, ever, not even at celebrations or special occasions. John has been sent for a mission, and God wants to ensure that his mind is not clouded by alcohol.
John the Baptist has been assigned the eternal fast to abstain from alcohol for his entire life. His father Zechariah has been given specific instructions. It is understood that Zechariah’s son would be held to high standards. Because of these expectations and the mission God has for him, God also provides John with the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is important to note because John the Baptist comes BEFORE Jesus. The Holy Spirit is not offered to anyone until after Jesus dies on the cross, yet God is providing this gift even from his mother’s womb (ASV).
When I think about all the gifts the Lord has given me, I am overwhelmed with joy, filled with gratitude and humbled by grace. God is so good to me! I think about how my life relates to this beautiful story. I know that I, too, was created with purpose. God has created each one of us on purpose, for a purpose! Rejoice in that for a moment! You were created for God’s purpose.
I don’t know about you, but this, too, overwhelms me. I am often not sure of “my assignment.” I am learning that I can better understand my assignment when my mind is not clouded and I am not distracted. What can we do to decrease distractions and focus more on God and His plan for us? Fasting coupled with prayer. When we take time away from something such as a meal or an activity to focus on God, we are more likely to be attuned to His plan. I would like to encourage you to fast from anything that is distracting you from God’s plan. Pray about it.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You for this life You have given us. How we long to serve You in everything we do! Lord, we come to You today asking You to reveal to us anything that is taking our focus off You. Lord, as we rid ourselves of these distractions, we welcome You into our hearts. Reveal to us Your plans for us, so that we may honor You with our actions. We are excited for all that is yet to come! Thank You for never leaving or forsaking us and walking with us on this journey. AMEN