Luke 1:8-9, “Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.”
Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its decision is from the Lord.”
Zechariah and the thousands of other priests were divided into twenty four sections, and each section served the Temple for one week at a time with three weeks in which everyone was on duty. Every job was selected by lots — like an Old Testament dice-rolling — but it was always in the hands of God, not chance. The most desirable priestly job was the lighting of the incense, to initiate the offering to God. When Zechariah drew that lot, I imagine tears welling up in his eyes. For so many years, he had been faithful, but had not drawn this sacred assignment. It was a once-in-a-lifetime job that just “happened” to land on Zechariah — the one who would be John the Baptist’s dad.
Zechariah solemnly approached the altar of incense in front of the curtain that shielded the Holy of Holies. He lit the incense, remembering the Jewish people’s prayers for deliverance from slavery and bondage. As he did, an angel appeared and announced that a son would be born to him and his wife, even though they had given up hope of ever having a child. Can you visualize it? The smoke of the incense is rising and God is about to set in motion the redemption story that will free all of mankind from the power of sin.
Doesn’t this give you hope? Give you peace? That meeting you have today isn’t random — it is divine! That old friend you ran into in the grocery store isn’t a coincidence — it is divine! God wants to show up in our day. Our life is meant to be lived for His glory and in His presence, so why not expect him?
Pay attention today to “God appearances” and praise Him. Thank Him for the unique experiences and everyday blessings that fill your day.
Jesus, help me to praise You when I see Your hand in my life. Amen.