31 Days of Women from Scripture
Lessons from Elizabeth
Yesterday’s lesson was heavy! Fortunately we have several days before we hit the dark side of things again. 🙂
Today’s woman is Elizabeth. You can read her story in Luke 1:5-25, 36-37, 39-45, 57-80.
We learn right away that Elizabeth is married to a priest named Zacharias. She is also of the tribe of Levi. Both she and Zacharias were “righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” That is quite a statement! There are only a few others who the Lord singled out in this way (Gen. 5:24; Gen. 6:9; Num. 12:6-8; James 2:23). We also learn that Zacharias and Elizabeth are “advanced in years” and Elizabeth is barren.
While Zacharias was serving his turn at doing his priestly duties, he was visited by an angel of the Lord. The angel tells him that his prayers have been heard. He and Elizabeth will have a son, and they are to name him John. This man will be “great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zacharias asks how he will know this for certain, because he and his wife are advanced in years. The angel, Gabriel, says basically because you did not believe the words of the angel of the Lord that is standing in front of you, Zacharias will be mute until the baby is born.
When his service days are completed, Zacharias goes home – still unable to speak – and in due course Elizabeth becomes pregnant. Elizabeth kept herself at home for five months enjoying the blessing the Lord had given her.
When Elizabeth was six months along in her pregnancy, Mary came to see her. Mary had also been visited by Gabriel and she had been told that she would bear the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). Gabriel told her that Elizabeth, her older relative who was barren, was also bearing a son. Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed in the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me?” She says that the baby in her womb “leaped” for joy. So another aspect of Gabriel’s prophecy comes true (Luke 1:15). Mary stayed until Elizabeth’s time to deliver was near, then she went home.
Elizabeth gives birth to her son. The neighbors are rejoicing with her. Everyone wants to know if the boy will be named after his father. Elizabeth tells them no – the baby’s name is to be John. The family argues with her and calls for Zacharias to clear up the confusion. Zacharias writes that the boy’s name is John. Zacharias is suddenly able to speak again and the friends are astonished. All those around perceive that there is something special about John’s beginnings and they wonder what he will become.
Elizabeth shows a great deal of faith. Her husband comes home from work one day, unable to speak. He conveys to her what happened at the Temple. She continues to have relations with her husband, and finally after all these years, is able to conceive. She recognizes God’s hand in her pregnancy and stays home to cherish the time. Mary comes and Elizabeth is blessed again when the Spirit makes her aware that she is in the presence of the Lord God, being carried in Mary’s womb. When her baby finally arrives, she enjoys the gathering of friends and family who are happy for her. When they start to put their opinions about what to name the baby out there (see, nothing new under the sun) she does not waver. Zacharias told her the angel said the baby was to be named John, so John his name will be. As he grew, Elizabeth taught her son that he was to drink no wine or liquor (Mt. 3:4; Mt. 11:18; Lk. 7:33). She taught her son what he would become (Mk. 1:1-8; Lk. 1:80; Lk. 3:2-18). ALL of these things reflected her faith (Rom. 16:26; Jam. 2:17, 26).
Elizabeth was older, married for many years and past child-bearing. Some in our generation would say she was past her usefulness. Not so! Her devotion to the Lord was noted by God for us to learn from – and it was something she was doing and had always been doing, not a long ago past. Worshiping God is not a YOUNG thing, nor is it reserved for the OLDER. Living a FULL life of SERVICE to Him is always something we can achieve. Never allow your age or circumstances to become an excuse for no longer serving the Lord. He wants YOU to reach for Him NOW – no matter who you are or where you are in your life (Acts 17:24-28; 1 Tim. 5; Titus 2.)
To become a woman like Elizabeth, start when you are young if you can. Whatever your age – start TODAY. Put her on your list of goals then list out what she did to become chosen by God to bear the son who would prepare the way for our Lord. She was obedient. She was submissive. She was confident in the Lord. What can you do to be more of those things? Study God’s word (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17). Put on the armor (Eph. 6:10-17). Do your work (1 Tim. 5:13-16; Titus 2:3-5). Work out your own salvation (Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 4:11-16). Elizabeth did – so can you.