Morning Reading Malachi 4.1-6
Text: Luke 1.67-79 – “Whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us…”
Darkness is the state of the entire world ever since the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned. Our present world condition can best described as in a Great Darkness. I have a good friend who a couple of years ago went to Europe. He visited all of the countries in which God had done many things, Germany, Switzerland, England, Wales and the such. When I asked what it was like, he said, “The scenery is the most beautiful I have ever seen; but if I had to describe the places I visited, I could sum it up in one word – Darkness.”
Incredible that these areas of the world in which just a few hundred years ago had much light of the Gospel are now completely without.
It had been a time of Darkness. God had not spoken in over 400 years. The Old Testament closed out with Malachi and the promise we read: “Unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings!”
I want to speak to you about Zechariah’s Song.
By the filling of the Holy Spirit Zechariah sings his song with Four Stanzas the express the Visitation of God – the Song begins in verse 68 with “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath Visited and redeemed His people…” and concludes in verses 78 and 79 with “Whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us…” This is the Gospel! This is what we call Christmas! The problem is we just look at this time of year as the Birth of Jesus. But this is the Coming of the Christ, the Redeemer! It is the Visitation of God among men!
Before we get to Zechariah’s Song, let’s look at the man Zechariah and what transpired in his and his wife’s life that brings him to the Song. Zechariah, whose name means “God Remembers”, is married to Elizabeth, whose name means, “the Promise of God.”
They have John, whose name means “the Grace of God.”
I. Stanza 1 – Man’s Salvation vs. 68-71
A. 1st, Visited Us – to exercise oversight in behalf of, look after, make an appearance to help, of divine oversight
B. 2nd, Raise up a Horn –
C. 3rd, Done as He said –
D. 4th, Saved Us –
II. Stanza 2 – God’s Sovereignty vs. 72-75
The Second Stanza to Zechariah’s Song lays out God’s Sovereignty. We notice it in three actions God would perform to bring about this Visitation.
A. 1st, To perform – vs. 72
B. 2nd, To Remember – vs. 72
C. Last, to Grant – be rescued from someone’s power. Who are we delivered from? It says enemies. But most people don’t understand who are their real enemies: Sin, the devil, the worldly system and death. vs. 74
III. Stanza 3 – A Son vs. 76-77
The visitation of the Lord would begin with the coming of a prophet like Elijah, “A Son”. We read this in Malachi 4.5, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” Matthew 11.11-14 – So, this is Elijah as prophesied in Malachi 4.5! What does Zechariah say of his son John?
A. 1st, this child John. We have established that. But He is a prophet, but not just any prophet, the Prophet of the Highest.
B. 2nd, And John has a very special mission. He shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways. Now that is very interesting the way this is expressed –to prepare His Ways.
C. Then, “to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins:” Here
IV. Stanza 4 – The Savior vs. 78-79
Zechariah knew the Prophecy of Malachi and he knew that this was the fulfillment of that prophecy! This is a beautiful Metaphor that describes THE CONDITION of mankind; there is no other condition, and the ONLY CURE for that condition. It is given in two words: Dayspring and Darkness.
A. The Savior comes, He visits. This is Jesus. He is called the Dayspring here. ἡμᾶς ἀνατολὴ ἐξ ὕψους – “the Dayspring from on high hat visited us.” It could be translated, “The Sunrise.” This name describes the change from Darkness to Light in the early morning. We say that it is the darkest right before the Dawn. This describes the condition of man, Darkness and the Cure, This Light that Dawns!
B. Let’s talk about THE CONDITION. They sit in Darkness. That is they dwell in Darkness. Darkness is used to describe sin and wickedness. Darkness is used to describe ignorance and error. Darkness is used to describe the presence of Satan. Darkness is used to describe hell. This describes THE CONDITION that men are in. People are in such a bad way. They have all of these problems. They are depressed. They are worried. They know their lives are in shambles. They know to be in a helpless state. They can find no relief or help. And the problem is “They sit in Darkness.” It is where they reside. They are under the influence of the Devil. Sin is rampant in their lives. God doesn’t exist in their lives. They are practicing Atheist, that is, they live as if there is no God. They are morally, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually Bankrupt! The Song goes on to describe their state in a fatal manner – “in the Shadow of Death.” They are as good as dead. They are walking Dead! And the saddest thing is because they are in Darkness, they do not even know their Condition to be THE CONDITION.
C. But the message is one of Hope! What is impossible with man is possible with God! When light comes, darkness is dispelled. But the message is one of Hope! What is impossible with man is possible with God! When light comes, darkness is dispelled. here the imagery is of dawning light that makes inspection possible, the divine inspection being for the benefit of the oppressed. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ does He gives Light to those in Darkness. He does two things here: He gives them Light and He Guides their feet in the way of Peace. These both refer to a full and complete salvation. Jesus did not come to give you a little help, just to get you through a rough time you may be going through. This is to open your eyes to the truth of your CONDITION and of the Only CURE. But He does not stop there. He Guides you in the way of Peace. The way of Peace is a euphemism for being led to God. Being led to God is not just forgiveness of sins, but a standing before God in Righteousness. The consequence of deliverance is a Full Life. It deals with the total well-being of a person who is then able to stand in the Presences of Almighty God.
I told you the meaning of the names of Zechariah, his wife Elizabeth and their son John: “God Remembers, The Promise of God and the Grace of God.” This is the message of Zechariah’s Song: God remembers His promise and delivers mankind by His Grace.
I have called this Zechariah’s Song. But I have a question for all of us this morning: Is this your Song? Have you experienced the coming of the Dayspring in your life or are you still groping around in Darkness? Is your life in shambles, ruined by sin? Do you feel that you are at odds with God? Do you want peace with God? Then repent of your sins today and let Jesus be your Guide to peace.