“SERVE HIM WITHOUT FEAR”
These words are taken from the inspired speech of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Because he did not believe the angel who appeared to him in the Temple he had been made dumb, then when the child is born and there is pressure to call him Zechariah, the father’s “tongue is loosed and he spoke blessing God. And fear came upon all their neighbours” [Luke 1 v.65] The sense of ‘fear’ does not mean being scared or afraid, but to be in awe.
Today’s chapter then tells us that “Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied …” [v.67] It is a prophecy about the coming task of his newborn son “who will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways” [v.76]
Compared to human expectations God’s time frame for action is exceedingly slow: it had been some 400 years since God had sent the last prophet (Malachi) to his nation, but, as Zechariah now says, “the Lord God … spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us …” [v.70,71]
Because they rejected his Son, God delayed the fulfilment of this – to our days – but “time” from God’s perspective is so different; but isn’t it remarkable the deliverance that the re-born nation of Israel has experienced since 1948 in being “saved … from the hand of all who hate (them)”!!
Deliverance needs to be assessed from several perspectives; there is deliverance from fear of evil men and deliverance from sin and death John and then Jesus came to “give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” [v.79]
How clearly are we seeing the “light” and letting it “guide our feet”? There are so many traps these days as to where we can put our “feet” – in a spiritual sense of course. How many appreciated the “light” they were seeing in the words of John and Jesus? They all stumbled and fell. By his grace, those with genuine hearts were pulled to their feet again. May we have genuine hearts and clearly see the light, only then can we “serve him without fear.” .