1. The longer a couple lives together, the more they think alike.
2. What is God’s expectation of marriage? "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). Oneness.
3. Why is Elizabeth and Zacharias a godly example of marriage? They did not fuss.
4. When you get past 50 years, you do not have to prove yourself. Life becomes very comfortable.
5. What characterized the marriage of Elizabeth and Zacharias? "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments . . . of the Lord blameless" (Luke 1:6).
a. Companionship – they thought alike.
b. Calmness – they did not emotionally react.
c. Contentment – they accepted God’s will.
6. Elizabeth (oath of God) and Zacharias (God remembers) put their names to test in their sunset years.
7. They demonstrated in the final years of life, a couple can do their greatest work.
A LIFE-LONG PROBLEM
1. What was their one lack? "They had no children, because Elizabeth was barren" (Luke 1:7).
a. Social stigma.
b. Religious custom said it was divine disfavor.
2. How had they approached the problem?
a. He did not blame her.
b. They kept serving God.
c. They did not quit on God or the marriage. They prayed.
3. What should a couple do when problems come?
a. Pray together.
b. Search the Word together.
c. Encourage one another.
d. Keep doing what God called them to do.
e. Wait for God’s answer.
ONE LIFE CHANGING DAY
1. What was special about the day? "According to custom . . . his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple" (Luke 1:9).
a. His first time.
c. Last time before retirement.
2. What frightened Zacharias? "When Zacharias saw him (Gabriel) he was troubled" (1:12 KJV). "He was gripped with fear" (NIV). Unexpended.
3. Why did God promise him a son? "Thy prayer is heard: and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son" (1:13). He did not quit praying.
4. Why did God strike him dumb? "Zacharias said . . . how shall I be sure of this?" (1:18 NIV).
a. Did not believe God could do it.
b. Too good to be true.
c. Too hard on wife.
5. What did God’s punishment teach Zacharias?
a. He learned God’s great power.
b. His own unworthiness.
c. He received a strong active faith.
6. What’s the reaction in a strong marriage when one partner does something wrong?
a. You go home (1:23).
b. You go back to serving God.
c. You do what you have to do.
7. What is the usual complaint in marriage. "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (1:37).
a. My spouse will never change.
b. We will never get out of debt.
c. Things will never get better.
1. What did Elizabeth reveal when she said, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of they womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord shall come to me?" (1:42,43).
a. She understood who Mary’s child was.
b. She knew Mary was honored.
c. She knew Mary had more honor than she had.
d. She did not feel worthy of the visit.
e. She did not have any jealousy.
WHY OLDER WOMEN ARE NOT JEALOUS OF YOUNGER WOMEN
1. She knows she had God’s best in her "day."
2. She knows her "window" had passed.
3. She knows God is still working in her life.
4. She has inner contentment, something young women do not have.
THE CONCLUSION OF COMPANIONSHIP
1. Why did the neighbors want to name the child Zacharias?
a. They were not told.
b. Named after the father.
2. Why did Elizabeth refuse? "And his mother answered and said, ‘Not so;’ but he shall be called John" (1:60). Communication.
3. What was Zacharias’ act of faith? "He . . . wrote saying, his name is John" (1:63). "His mouth was opened immediately" (1:64). God rewarded him for obedience.
4. What was the first thing Zacharias said? "His tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God" (1:64).
a. God does not always give according to our asking, sometimes more.
b. God does not always give according to our worthiness, but we should be blameless.
c. "Now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20).
Lord, we’ve just been talking about becoming comfortable in our companionship. I’d like to find that intimacy with You. It takes quiet listening time on my part, doesn’t it? I want to live so closely to You that I’ll hear Your voice above all others. Please show me that age still bears fruit. We want our efforts as a couple to bear MUCH fruit.
Questions for Discussion:
1.What are the lessons you’ve learned about contentment studying this chapter? What does “comfortable” feel like?
2.At what times during your life have you felt most comfortable? Why?
3.Are you one who is always planning for the future, but never living in the present? What will it take to get you comfortable? How will you know where to turn your attention from the future to the present?
4.Zechariah and Elizabeth had to plan for another life after finishing their “first” life. How would you have felt? What would you do?
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your salvation experience so that we can rejoice with you.
***** Joined Together is now available online at www.elmertowns.com. Elmer L. Towns, Joined Together, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2003.