23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” (Luke 1:23-25)
Following his time of religious and priestly service, Zechariah went home. Even though the Lord disciplined him for his unbelief, He still allowed Zechariah to serve Him as a priest in the Temple. This is an illustration of Hebrews 12:3-11 in which the Lord disciplines those who He loves. Such discipline, in whatever form it takes, is an indication of the veracity of one being a child of God.
Up to this point in the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth, Luke’s emphasis has been upon the faithful priest. But what about his faithful wife? It is at this point that the narrative shifts and focuses on Elizabeth.
It was after Zechariah’s term of service, and after he went home, that Elizabeth conceived a child by Zechariah. One would think that upon realizing such a wonderful event, that she and her husband would be telling everyone they knew. There seemingly would be baby showers for Elizabeth and backslapping upon Zechariah.
However, that is not what occurred. In fact, the text says that Elizabeth hid herself for five months during her pregnancy. Why? Perhaps it was out of great devotion and gratitude to the Lord. Or, maybe she did so until she was sure she was pregnant and there was no mistaking her physical condition.
Dr. Don Carson writes that, “Elizabeth remained in seclusion during the period when her pregnancy would not be especially obvious and she would still be liable to reproach for childlessness. The news was broken first to Mary, and the miraculous character of what had happened remained a secret from the people at large.”
Whatever the reason for her behavior, there is not misunderstanding of her perspective regarding what had occurred. She praised the Lord and said, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” She was grateful for the Lord’s miraculous answer to her and her husband’s prayer.
Elizabeth, unlike Zechariah, did not need to know the how of her becoming pregnant at such an advanced physical age. It was enough that God blessed her and Zechariah resulting in her becoming pregnant. For Elizabeth, she had no questions. She had only praise.
God rebuked Zechariah for casting such a dark shadow over the light of His divine wisdom revealed through the angel. We must make sure that we never doubt, or event rebuke, the Lord when things seemingly do not happen when we think they should. The Lord’s timing is always perfect.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!