24 After some time his wife Elizabeth
became pregnant, and for five months she kept
herself in seclusion. She said, 25 “This is what the
Lord has done for me at the time when he has been
gracious to me, to take away my disgrace among
people. Luke 1:24-25
Imagine living a righteous life, but being considered unrighteous by all your peers. Now, this is not considered unrighteous by God, but unrighteous by some flawed people who are unrighteous themselves. Some of them are even more reckless and lawless then you are, but have been deemed blessed because they were able to birth a child who is just like their mom and dad!
Having a community of people looking down upon you, and speaking about you as one who lacks discipline and commitment to the Lord. People questioning your every move, thinking your public and private lives to be two islands without a bridge. This is Elizabeth!
The Father Who See’s Privately, will Reward Publicly
Elizabeth, whom was barren, was aging in years and having to bare the disgrace of not being able to conceive a child in front of her family and peers. At that time, a woman that could not conceive was considered to be punished by God because of her sin, or the sin of her ancestors. Thus, each time people saw her without child, they would associate her with sin, considering themselves blessed and favored, while thinking her cursed and punished.
She had most likely accepted that she would live and die with the shame of not having an offspring, when her husband went into worship and received a Word from God! That Word was different than any thing ever spoken, more joyous than any promise every given, more rewarding than any gift ever received; God’s promise!
The reality was, Zechariah’s seed had the power to impregnate her the entire time, but didn’t have permission from God to unite with her seed. Elizabeth was capable of conceiving and carrying, but God had yet to speak to her eggs; releasing them to be fertilized. He then orchestrated a harmony with one seed to break through and produce the one that would make the path straight.
John the Baptist would just make crooked path straight, but would also straighten out the misconception about his mother. His birth would be proof to all those that she was not being punished, but was purposed to bring forth a special child who would more than a gift to her, but a gift to the kingdom of God. Which is why the next verse to me was so powerful.
…and for five months she kept
herself in seclusion…. Luke 1:24
After living all these years barren, she finds herself now with child, and chooses to live the first five months in seclusion. Yep, you guessed it! I would have been most social in this time, eager to erase the stain and stigma she had publicly, but she found pleasure in watching John grow and worshiping God for allowing her to conceive.
While the rest of us would have been eager to show ourselves to the crowd, she reserved the joy of the gift of John as a moment between her and God. I imagine she has a moment like Sally Fields, who uttered the words “…you like me! You REALLY Like me!” Elizabeth gave the first moments of praise and adoration to God. She was not controlled or influenced by the the crowd, nor was she eager to impress them with her new found status. She secluded herself, reserving the first moments of joy to spend with the Lord, who is the only one that matters.
While others teased her and judged her, she continued to find satisfaction and peace from the one that had always given it to her. While others showered her with condemnation, God had always showered her with love, and instilled in her a sense of self worth that allowed her to survive the judgement and ridicule of those watching and enjoying her shame.
If only we were the same! “You Like me! You really like me,” Sally exclaimed, excited to received her second award. It was received as validation. It took what she suspected and made it something she knew. I suspect these early moments were the same for Elizabeth. Once the Words of the Lord comforted her, but her growing belly now erased any doubt she had lingering.
I am encouraged that the death on a cross was the confirmation of God’s love for us. It’s not just that He allowed us to be created, but that He made an allowance for us to reconnect with Him beyond the barrier sin creates. He then places His Holy Spirit in us, and allows us to walk before man as someone chosen, beyond the shame of our prior actions and reputation.