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  • Renée Coventry

The Guarded Word

Where were Zacharias and Elizabeth and Mary and Joseph before Gabriel delivered these rare and historical promises?

While the Bible does not say, according to church tradition, Zacharias and Elizabeth lived in Ein Kerem, a small town, which means "spring of the vineyard." It sounds like a fruitful place; however, Zacharias and Elizabeth were barren despite this. They were old, their seed shriveled, and seemingly incapable of carrying anything to delivery.

Mary and Joseph were in Nazareth, a small village known for fertile ground, where everyone knew everyone else, or so history tells us. It was a conservative group that followed the letter of the law in a world saturated with Greek thought and influence. Its name means "the guarded one," and following their time in Egypt, it is to this place they would eventually return.

Suffice it to say, neither couple was in a place that today we would consider locations as history-making that could potentially impact the globe. Though a priest, Zacharias was of no significant importance, and Joseph was a builder who possibly walked the short distance to the larger Sepphoris to work on more substantial buildings. Elizabeth and Mary were women, one old, one young, nobodies who would attract the much notice. But God.

Yes, there is that phrase "but God." God was blessed by how, despite their barrenness, Zacharias and Elizabeth walked blamelessly before Him. Though their hearts' desire had, up to this point, been denied them, they refused bitterness and served their community. Though young and quite perplexed by the angel's mode of address, Mary was favored by God, specifically chosen, as was Joseph, the quiet builder, the man of integrity to parent the Son of God.

One could say that these two couples had been hidden away and protected, put in a place where it wasn't likely they would be discovered as carriers of God's greatest blessings to humanity. The forerunner and the Messiah! They were simple people of faith who chose to live their lives out loud for God where they were, content to worship Him in whatever place they found themselves, yet willing to respond in the affirmative when God dropped the bombshell.

If you feel hidden and unseen, could it be possible that you have been secreted away for such a time as this? Perhaps you've been hidden by God for such a time as this? There came a time in both of these couples' lives that God declared something over them. A word they had to take on faith and upon which they would act—a life-transforming, history-making word that people would still be talking about centuries later.

The question is, are you willing to take whatever God says by faith and move into it? What does the word of God require of you? You may be hidden for now, but rest assured, God knows where you are, and His promises always affect our history, if not that of others. So, when it comes, will you step out of your ordinary into God's extraordinary to see His purposes fulfilled on the earth? Two thousand years ago, two couples did, and the world can't stop talking about it!

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