“And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.” (Luke 1:61)
Think about that for a second. The above is referring to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. The one who was to herald Jesus’ coming to prominence. The one to whom Isaiah’s prophecy pertained. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3) Those present at the baby’s birth were essentially making hand-gestures as to what the father would have his son called. John had a very important position in God’s plan for that time. As an aside, you don’t know that you’re not the answer to some prophecy God spoke way back when–why not? Not every prophecy that has come from Heaven is contained in the Bible. God wants to do something in the world and He wants to use you. He knew you were coming and now you’re here! Welcome. Back to the above. So how would you sign to a mute father what he would have his son be called? I don’t know. It necessarily required a pen and paper (i.e. “writing table” Luke 1:63) and so Zacharias spells out “His name is John”.
“John” means “God is gracious”, by the way.
“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10, emphasis mine)
Whereas John was called to inaugurate the Lord Jesus–to be His forerunner to society–the above verse in Revelation says the testimony of Jesus is simply “the spirit of prophecy”. From John (“God is gracious”) to Jesus, to God the Father. And the Holy Spirit is in and among all of it, making it work in our world.
What is a prophecy? As the verse from Revelation rightfully points out, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Jesus came to point to the Father. And to make it possible for us to get there, I might add. Prior to His life, death and resurrection, it was impossible to have our spirit recreated (something the Holy Spirit does) so that we can actually enjoy Heaven. But the testimony of Jesus. It’s “the spirit of prophecy” but all prophecies should inspire one to “worship God”. Keep this in mind.
Distant Early Warning
The DEW Line is a row of communication towers commissioned during the Cold War to warn of any incoming threat from the Soviets. They stretch from Alaska, through Canada up to Greenland. They still stand, but have been deactivated since the mid-nineties. While the DEW towers were in many ways detrimental to the environment, think about what it takes to get God to come down. And if you look at prophecy as just that–a distant, early warning–it could shed a new light on both serving the Lord in our day-in-day-out activities and also God’s character as revealed through Jesus.
“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue” (Psalm 39:1-3)
God is exacting. God is holy. While we are encouraged to “come boldly to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:15), we must realize what it took to open these lines of communication. John. Jesus. “Our Father who art in Heaven.” Laying the groundwork to receive the Lord takes time and pain and hardship. Think about what David, in the above passage, went through before He spoke out. The timing of God is what causes us to both speak and to hold our peace. It’s our responsibility to see that God can come down and change the world through His Spirit. And God wants to come down. But He can’t unless certain conditions are met. If we listen, we’ll see in our life, the signs that God’s been seeking to intimate to us in whatever way, that would begin to pave the way for His coming. And I’m not talking about the Second Coming of Jesus. I’m talking about inviting God to dwell with us in a fuller measure by His Spirit.
“But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (Psalm 22:3)
Very High Frequency Omnirange
The VOR station enables aircraft to stay on course through a series of signals emitted on each of the 360 degree marks. With each giving a relation point with reference to magnetic north. Close enough.
Where is God? Sure, He’s in our hearts by His Holy Spirit. But He has a body. He sits on a throne and He wants to manifest Himself in our day to day affairs in ways He has been unable to for whatever (unbelieving) reason. When Zacharias doubted Gabriel’s instructions on what to name His son, he was stricken with dumbness. I’d wager to say both David and Zacharias were unable to speak for much the same reason. When God is doing something of utmost importance, it’s best to keep it to ourselves, and listen. God is always speaking. Always working out His plan on earth. Timing is everything and if we think nothing’s going on, we need to listen. God is sending His signals out circumambiently. All centering on one point. And that point is whatever you’re called to do. And what you’re called to do is to both worship God yourself, and exhort others to do the same. Gabriel came directly from the throne room to speak to John’s dad. “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God.” (Luke 1:19) The tangent began in God’s heart (prophesied in Isaiah) and it continues in yours. And your call coincides with everything else going on in God’s plan. As we realize the gravity of this, let us dial down the noise in our head and heart and tune in to God’s transmission.
And now, very simply: “In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)