"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,Luke 1:68(NASB)
Zachariah's unbelief when told that his old, barren wife - Elisabeth, was to bear a son who would be the forerunner to the Messiah, was replaced with a heart of thanksgiving and praise at the birth of his little baby boy.
The old priest had been filled with doubt when the angel announced the good news, but with the birth of his son, he was filled with the Spirit, and inspired to articulate a most beautiful hymn of rejoicing, and prophesy of the imminent arrival of Israel's longed-for Messiah. Luke writes "his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel..."
This is the second such song of praise in the gospel of Luke, which is brimming with Old Testament quotations and rich with prophetic pronouncements. The earlier hymn of joy was sung by Mary, when she visited the heavily-pregnant Elisabeth, a few months before John was born... and Zachariah continues the theme of worship and praise as he opened his 'Benedictus', with the words, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and redeemed His people — Blessed the God of Israel, Who has come and provided redemption for His people."
While God is the One Who pours out His blessings on man, it is man who is caused to exalt and worship our Creator God, by blessing the Lord and praising His holy name. There are many Psalms that open with the word like, 'bless the Lord O my soul' or 'praise be to the Lord Most High', and the opening phrase in the song of Zachariah, reflects the heart of such psalmists - "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel".
When a man is caused to bless the Lord, it is as a declaration of God's supremacy, as our praiseworthy Creator and gracious heavenly Father. When a man offers the Lord blessings and praise, it is an acknowledgement of God's goodness and greatness, His dominion and glory, His might and majesty, dominion and power... and it speaks of His unfathomable kindness to us, who are totally undeserving of His mercy and grace.
Not only does the song of Zecharias express glory and praise to God for Who He is, but it also acknowledges that He is faithful to His covenanted people. He is true to His word and honourable in all His doings - "for He has visited us and redeemed His people."
God's plan of redemption was foreordained in the heavenly council chambers before the foundation of the world. The promises made to Eve and Abraham about their Seed; the covenant God made with His people Israel through Moses; the promise that a Man would sit on the throne of David eternally and the numerous prophecies that foretold of the coming Messiah, were all to be accomplished. And John, the son of Zacharias the priest, was to be forerunner to the prophesied Messiah, Who was to visit and accomplish redemption for His people Israel.
The song Zachariah sang when his newborn babe was about to be circumcised is a most beautiful expression of faith in practice. His inspired words continue to glorify our Father in heaven as he spoke of Christ's advent and finished work of redemption, which was accomplished at Calvary and will be completed in the future.
John's prophesy was written in such a way that the future redemption of His people had already been accomplished. The words of faith he spoke were factual words that would be realised at the cross and yet will be fully executed in future time.
May we be those who faith is established and anchored to the facts of Scripture.. for when faith is founded on God's unchangeable Word, we know ALL that He has promised WILL be completed - through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Heavenly Father, we praise and thank You for Your word of truth and for examples of faith - like Zacharias, where Scripture is confirmed before it is brought to completion. We bless Your holy name for Your goodness and grace to all Your people and for the finished work of Christ on the cross, which has secured our eternal salvation and life everlasting. Help me to stand firmly on the facts of Scripture and trust You in every eventuality of life for His name's sake - AMEN.
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