He was nervous; he wasn’t getting any younger. As the other priests gathered around, the lot fell: it was his time. Zacharias was the chosen one to perform the most sacred of task. He was chosen to enter the temple and burn the incense. He knew that many would gather just outside to pray while he performed his duties.

He had trained for this. 

He knew what to do.

He thought he knew what to expect.

But then an angel appeared.

Right by the altar of incense. 

The symbol of the prayers of God’s people reaching up to heaven, day and night.

Zacharias had said many of those prayers over the years. 

Prayers for God’s provision.

Prayers for his wife and her heartache.

Prayers for a child. 

Yet there was just silence. 

Until now.

He was literally in the second most sacred place (behind the veil being the utmost) on earth.

Surrounded by the reminders of God’s provision and protection for His people.

Zacharias sees the angel of the Lord. 

Yet instead of joy...

Instead of relief...

His heart was troubled. 

If he was anything like me, his first thoughts upon seeing the angel would be analyzing his work and seeing if he messed up anywhere. When Zacharias saw the angel what did he really see? A messenger of an infinite, omnipotent God with a promise, or a messenger giving him a task that would be beyond his resources? 

So many times we put ourselves physically in the right place, yet spiritually we are far off. 

We pray for God’s presence, His provision, His work to be come. 

Yet are we prepared for Him to answer?


Morning Pause: In these morning hours, how do you need to prepare your heart to hear from God today? Even though you are physically entering into this sacred season, where is your heart? 

Afternoon Pause: Cease striving and know that He is God. In the midst of this day, take time to stop. You may be able to religiously go about your task, but how can you stop and see God at work? Surrounded by symbols, are you ready to hear the words of the Lord?

Evening Pause: At the close of this day, how did you do listening, looking for God? In those moments when you saw Him, what was the reaction from your heart? What might that reveal?