Explore the Bible Study: Planned

12:48 PM

How has 2020 affected your plans? Have you cancelled vacations, delayed visits to the doctor, postponed family gatherings? Have you wondered if the political and social unrest would unravel your plans for the future? We all have had to make adjustments due to the many events taking place in our world today. This session of the Explore the Bible Study: Planned, focuses on how God rocked the plans of a dedicated Jewish priest and his wife with one simple, yet significant, announcement.

Over the coming weeks the study will focus on the Gospel of Luke.  Luke begins by describing two unique births—the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus. We are first introduced to an elderly Jewish couple, the priest, Zechariah, and his wife, Elizabeth, and the announcement regarding the birth of their son, John.

Both are described as righteous individuals who lived “without blame” in the Lord (Luke 1:6) yet “had no children” (Luke 1:7). Zechariah was a descendant of Moses’ brother, Aaron and, because of this, was one of many who shared the priestly duties in the temple. The passage of study for this session begins with Zechariah faithfully fulfilling his priestly duties by entering the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense (Luke 1:9). As Zechariah was performing this duty, an angel appeared on the right side of the altar. This is when God changed Zechariah’s plans!

Luke 1:13-25 describes how Zechariah's plans were changed because of one special encounter with a messenger from God. The plans announced to Zechariah caused him to doubt that God could do what was promised, resulting in God teaching Zechariah an important lesson regarding trusting God. The outcome for Zechariah was an amazing birth, an incredible affirmation that God was at work, and a demonstration of transformed faith!

God reminds us in Proverbs 16:9 that A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps. Zechariah and Elizabeth had a plan—a routine—in which they had become comfortable. It even included prayer, but then God spoke and their plans changed drastically. While Zechariah struggled with doubt, the lesson God taught him transformed his doubt into faith and trust! He adjusted his plans to God’s plan.

What about you? Are you listening and watching for God? Are you willing to allow God to interrupt your plans and work in ways that don’t match your expectations and fulfill your desires, or in ways that don’t even make sense? Are you willing to trust Him when He speaks? If so, then you are right where God wants you and He will guide you and give you strength and wisdom, no matter what the future holds.

When God does reveal His plans to you, I pray you will heed the advice given to Zechariah at the beginning of his encounter in Luke 1:13 - “do not be afraid . . . your prayer has been heard.”


The Bible study helps have been modified in order to provide opportunities for both online and face-to-face teaching venues. Ideas in boxes will be provided for engaging groups more when meeting in person. The boxed items could also be modified and used for online discussion as well. 

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