When Deborah had led the people to victory, she sang a song. “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves — praise the Lord!” [iv] she shouted.


It would be so easy for us to get self-righteous. To read Ancient Israel’s story and to think, “You know, if God freed me in such a way, I’d never allow myself to get sucked back into the muck and mire of sin.” But we know that’s not the case, don’t we? We have all sinned, Paul writes in Romans. We have all fallen short of God’s glory[v]. We all play the game of testing God’s boundaries, sticking our fingers into the frosting of sin only to discover that the sugar is salt and the price is more than we can pay. Time and again we cry out to Jesus, “Save me!” Time and again, He does.


Okay, So We Finally Get it Right
Perhaps you have gotten past this point in your walk with God. Perhaps you have gotten yourself in so many messes and Jesus has had to bail you out enough times already. You no longer want to dally in the world’s delights. You’ve got your eyes on the Cross, your feet on the Path, and your heart set toward Heaven.


So why is it, then, that so many of us still struggle to figure out what it is God wants us to do with our lives? Why do we feel we aren’t successful? That even with all our victories, we still feel defeated?


It’s common. In my ministry, I hear it all the time. “At least you know what God has called you to do. Surely you never feel like a failure.”


I’m Not Alone
I do, and I’m not alone. Zechariah surely felt the same way. Outwardly, he had everything going for him. He and his wife Elizabeth were both of Aaron’s line, above reproach, and he was a priest in the temple of the Lord. But the one thing they truly wanted, they did not have. A child.


What were they to do? Without fertility clinics and with only unanswered prayers, they simply lived day to day doing the next right thing. And then it was Zechariah’s once-in-a-lifetime turn to burn incense before the Lord. In the midst of “just doing his job,” God’s angel met the old priest and told him something magnificent. “Your wife will have a son…”[vi]


And not just “any son.” Their son would be the one who would prepare the way for Messiah, to shout, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.”[vii]