Inspiration always has that ‘new car smell’ to it. There is something fresh and valuable when God opens our mouth to bring a message. Whether it is a new song, an inspired prophetic utterance, a novel, a poem, or a personal message spoken in love; creative expression thrills the one giving it.
After nine months of in imposed muteness, Zechariah finally has his speech restored. We often think about a person’s last words on their death bed, but what about their first words after being set free?
His prophetic utterance of praise upon the birth of John the Baptist are an overflow of praise. Like the first strong blast of water from a hose on a thirsty lawn, Zechariah gushes with living water. He is not only relieved to praise God, but to speak God’s message after four hundred silent years without a prophet. This was not just about Zechariah getting free to speak, but the nation having its hope restored in God’s promise.
I am intrigued by verse 71 where he says that we are saved from our enemies and rescued from all who hate us. How exactly are we saved from those that hate us?
One way is to try and destroy all your enemies. If you can just get rid of the haters, you may be able to live at peace. The problem with destroying your enemies is that you may make more enemies in the process of elimination. Some people that might otherwise stand with you will distance themselves if you are acting in hatred for others. We all have finely tuned detectors for expressions of hatred and contempt. If that is how you are toward those that oppose you, what makes us think that you will treat us any differently if you find something off in us?
The other problem is that hatred for an enemy is the inherent flow of distrust that will grow in you.
Verse seventy-four says that God will save us from our enemies and that the outcome will be a fearless life for us. When you start taking out enemies, your state of vigilance and defensiveness goes off the charts.
There’s another way to be rescued from those that hate you. In God’s perfect plan of Shalom, there will be a reconciliation of opposing parties. The destruction of enmity preserves the life of your enemy. Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for those that despitefully use you. Perhaps the rescue from an enemy is the peacemaking that comes from the presence of God’s love. You win when you love your enemy. Even if they oppose and defeat you, they cannot remove the love of God, the forgiveness, and the peace that Christ will offer.