“To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear” (Luke 1:74).
Elisabeth’s song to announce the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:45-75) is the first prophecy in the New Testament. God broke His four hundred years of prophetic silence with the voice of a woman. The second prophetic voice in the New Testament is also that of a woman, Mary’s Magnificat (verses 46—35). The third prophetic song in the New Testament was pronounced by Zacharias. The last time he had spoken he had manifested doubts, but his first words after nine months without speaking were words of faith. What a great spiritual benefit is found in silence! Zacharias learned to be quiet in God’s presence, to distinguish His voice, and to prepare to be the father of the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah.
Explore God’s voice in the stillness of silence!
We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Here alone can true rest be found. And this is the effectual preparation for all who labor for God. Amid the hurrying throng, and the strain of life’s intense activities, the soul that is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. The life will breathe out fragrance, and will reveal a divine power that will reach men’s hearts.” -The Desire of Ages, ch. 38, p. 363.
Zacharias’s song is known as the Benedictus, which is the first word of the song in Latin: ‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel.” It is a song of praise to the God of Israel for having fulfilled the promise of the Messiah, the Redeemer. The great messages and prophecies of the Old Testament were being fulfilled at that moment. John, the son of Zacharias, would prepare the way for the Savior. In his prophetic song, the humble, elderly Zacharias summarized the hundreds of years of God’s sovereignty in Israel’s history, beginning with Abraham and reaching out to eternity. With a priestly tone, he divided his song into two sections: the work of the Messiah (see Luke 1:68—75), and that of His forerunner, Zacharias’s own son (see verses 76—79), showing that he had researched the prophecies telling about the Messiah and John the Baptist.
The Messiah, Lord God of Israel, would come to redeem, and deserved everyone’s reverent fear. Israel had lived for centuries under cruel, pagan conquerors who forced them to obey. The Messiah would attract all peoplestoward Him, and His love would subdue them and invite them to reverence Him.