Here’s a reflection from my daily scripture readings this morning. Luke 1:17 caught my attention. “He will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (NLT) This verse is a portion of the message the angel spoke to Zechariah predicting the birth of his son John the Baptist. I don’t know why, but this picture of a self-willed rebel becoming submissively compliant strikes me as an incredible miracle. The rebels I’ve known aren’t open to outside advise, particularly from those who aren’t like them. And since I was a rebel once myself, I can attest to that.
It reminds me of something I heard Dallas Willard say in a recent podcast (see the link in“I wish I’d said that”). He was asked how a loving God could send someone to hell. And I am paraphrasing here. And his answer was that God’s intention is not to send people to hell. What God is trying to do is to get people into heaven. The problem is, Dallas continued, there are people who will not to be able to stand heaven. You see in heaven, no one but God can be in charge.
So following the logic of Dallas’ insight about heaven, it is understandable that rebels are going to need a change of heart to get there. And that is the genius of God’s plan which the angel is revealing to Zechariah. No one is a hopeless cause. There is hope for those who stubbornly cling to their own way and don’t want to listen. God can take a heart of stone and turn in into a heart of flesh.
This verse encourages me today. It fills me with thanksgiving to God for giving me a heart that will enjoy heaven. And also it gives me faith to keep praying for those I know who are yet rebellious and would benefit from accepting godly wisdom.