Into the Temple, Into the Quiet


While quiet and stillness often evoke thoughts of decreased movements and silence, my hope is that you come to realize that stillness of heart is more about hearing the "right" noises- to cease striving, to stop fighting the battle on your own, and to put your hope where it truly belongs.  

For the purposes of this devotional study, we will be primarily looking at Luke 1:1-80. I encourage you to read the chapter in its entirety.
May this devotional bless you, grow you, challenge you, and most of all, bring you closer to Jesus.

Facts to know

1. What was the role of a Jewish priest in the time of Zechariah? They were ministers of God who worked at the temple. Their duties included managing upkeep of the temple, teaching Scripture, and directing worship service. 

2.  At the time that Zechariah was a priest, there were approximately 20,000 priests throughout the country! This was way too many to serve in the temple at one time, therefore, the priests were divided into 24 separate groups, which came to about 1,000 priests per group. Each group served about 2 weeks per year (see David's instruction in 1 Chronicles 24:3-19). 

3. Each morning, a single priest would go and enter into the Holy Place in the Temple. Who would go that day was decided by casting lots (Proverbs 16:33).

The Passage: Luke 1:1-10 (NIV)

"In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

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. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside."

Into the Temple

Notice the passage says "Once" he was chosen. This may very well have been the only time in his life that he had been chosen to fulfill his calling. The only time he was called to go and enter into the Holy Place. I can only imagine the excitement Zechariah felt as he had been the chosen priest, because he knew he didn't just get lucky. He was chosen. It was a divine appointment. He knew there was no such thing as luck. As a teacher of the Scriptures, he knew Proverbs 16:33 says, "The lot is cast into the lap but its every decision is from the Lord." Zechariah had been chosen by his God, and this was his time to enter the Holy Place in the Temple.

We have something, a beautiful opportunity, that Zechariah never had. Zechariah was chosen that day to go into the Holy Place. To be in the presence of the Lord. That day. But we, as believers in Christ, we are chosen every day. We don't have to go into the temple to be in His presence. We are the temple. And He dwells in us. 

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
"Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are."

You and me? We are chosen too. The Spirit lives in us. Christ lives in us. We are now the temple of the living God. And we have a divine appointment placed before us every day. No, actually every second. 

This is our time.

The question is...do we enter our time with God with the same excitement, enthusiasm, and reverence that I imagine Zechariah did? If not, may we do so!! May this be the time we truly embrace the gift set before us. With Awe. With anticipation. With reverence. With hunger.

Great temples need more than a plan. They need preparation, intentionality, and a worker. Solomon (who built the first temple) not only had a plan for building the foundation of God's temple, but it was a detailed one. Today, the Spirit of God dwells within His people rather than in the temple as it was in Solomon's and Zechariah's day. But that doesn't mean He leaves us with no instructions. His WORD is the detailed plan for us. Our temple needs care, preparation, intentionality, and a worker as well! And stillness of heart does not occur with a wobbly foundation, or an uncared for property. It does not happen without a worker who is willing to meet with the living God and build a relationship. Because that relationship is the foundation of the stillness, the calm, the peace, the joy, the quiet that our hearts seek.

Do you know about God? And if you know ABOUT God, let me ask, do you KNOW God? I mean really know Him? Because the only way we get to know someone is by having relationship with them. 

Reflection Questions

1.  Where is my faith rooted?
2. Do I have a faith plan?
3. What are the rocks I am using to build my faith? Am I using any at all?
4. Am I making space, abundant space, in my heart for Jesus?
5. Am I working to make beautiful the inner sanctuary of my soul more so than my outward appearance?
6. Do I keep a place in my heart to remember the goodness of God and all He has done for me?
7. Is my most significant relationship the one I have with Jesus?

To read Elizabeth's complete Christmas devotional series, visit her devotional resources.

Add a Comment