Dedication of Zacharias

The account of Zacharias is inspiring. He and his wife, Elizabeth, prayed to have a son but their prayers were not answered and now they were old in years. We read in the New Testament:

And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,

According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. (Luke 1:8-9)

If we look into the scriptures (see 1 Chronicles 24:10, Nehemiah 12:4), we learn that Zacharias was of the tribe of Levi. In the Bible Dictionary we read:

The work of ministering in the sanctuary was assigned to this tribe. The Levites are sometimes spoken of as distinct from the priests (1 Kgs. 8:4Ezra 2:70John 1:19); sometimes as though all Levites were also priests, “the priests, the Levites”…

So from this we learn that Zacharias was tasked with working for the Lord in the temple and he must have shown some dedication in his life to this duty. If we are unsure of this we can read in Luke 1:6:

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and
ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Blameless – walking in all commandments. I think already we can take it that Zacharias was diligent in his priesthood duties. This is where we find Zacharias where he is visited by the Angel Gabriel and told of the miracle that was to take place. We know that he is told that his aged wife was to have a child called John. He finds this hard to believe and he is struck dumb for his unbelief.

We might be forgiven for thinking ill of Zacharias for this unbelief. Although, I’m not sure how I would feel if this were to happen to me. However, what stood out most to me was Zacharias’s reaction after this event. He has been visited by an angel, told his wife will now be pregnant with a miracle child, struck dumb as a sign of his unbelief and what does Zacharias do?

23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished,
he departed to his own house. (Luke 1:23)

If I were in Zacharias’s position I would return home. I would want to tell my family, find comfort from the fact that I could not speak and share what marvelous experience just happened to me. However, Zacharias stayed and completed his duty before he then departed to his own house. An example of dedication to the Lord, the Temple and his duty.

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Trim Your Lamp

This is just the first in my planned weekly entry on one thing I have learnt in the Come Follow Me programme (although I didn’t post this last week due to things I needed to do with my calling).

In the first week we had a look at the Parable of the Ten Virgins.

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virginswhich took their lampsand went forth to meet the bridegroom.

And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (Matthew 25:1-2)

As a side note – I wondered if there was significance in the numbers, five wise and five foolish? We know that the kingdom of heaven on Earth is referring to the Lord’s Church. Does this indicate the proportion of the Lord’s kingdom who will be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord? Maybe, maybe not – but it did cause me to consider about my standing if I would be ready.

Anyway – the main thing that caught my eye was found in this verses:

And at midnight there was cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to
meet him.

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps(Matthew 25:6-7)

I’ve skimmed over these verses in the past and just presumed it referred to ensuring we are ready for the Saviour. However, the phrase ‘trimmed their lamps’ did make me wonder what this actually meant and what could we learn from the analogy.

So, a Google Search was in order. From the search I gathered this information:
This care involved trimming the wick, which drew the oil up from the storage reservoir, so that the flame would be clean and bright. Lamp trimmers also refilled the reservoirs, which held enough oil for several hours of burning, but not enough to start a major fire if the lamp were to be knocked down or damaged somehow.
A poorly trimmed wick creates a flame which is dim and smoky. A properly trimmed wick should come to a rounded point, or should be wedge shaped. When lit, the wick should burn cleanly all the way up to the highest flame it can make. (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamp_trimmer)

This explanation was illuminating! We know that there are reasons for why the Master Teacher would use certain analogies and whilst the Parable of the Ten Virgins is a lesson in preparing for the Second Coming, there is reference here to light and tending to that light in our own souls..

We tend to our own ‘lights’ by:

  1. Trimming our lamps – in order to have the clearest light in our testimonies, we would need to work at ‘trimming’ our lamps. One way we do this may be ensuring we live worthy to have the presence of the Spirit in our hearts. We must ensure we are ready to receive the good things which light the candle of testimony in our hearts.
  2. Pouring oil into the lamp – when we are ready to receive the fuel, we then study, pray, partake of the sacrament to fuel the flame of testimony in our hearts.

As I studied this analogy, I couldn’t help marveling at the layers that were there within it. We can then link this in with Christ being the Light of the World – but that can be one for a future post. I can’t wait to continue studying the New Testament this year in the Come Follow Me programme.