What do you do when God sets you aside for a season? When you can’t do normal, but have to learn to wait on Him? There’s lots of circumstances God can use to set us aside: career interruptions; health challenges; romantic breakups; job searches; and family crises.


In today’s passage, Zechariah’s season of being set aside finally ends. God enables him to speak again, and we realize, now that he’s back in the game, that he made good use of his time on the bench.


We’ll see three ways from Zechariah’s story how we can respond when God sets us aside for a season.


1) Check Your Heart


God sets us aside to get our attention.


During Zechariah’s many months unable to speak, we see that he spent that time doing some serious heart work. He reflected on his failures and lack of faith. So, when we see Zechariah emphatically pronouncing the name of his son, John, we see this moment full of faith and obedience. God had got his attention.


When God sets you aside, check your heart.


2) Engage the Word


After nearly a year of silence, Zechariah’s first words pour out blessing upon God in a beautifully crafted poem, the Benedictus. And what’s amazing about this poem is that there are nearly 100 allusions to the Old Testament. Which tell us what Zechariah has been doing all this time: he’s been pouring himself into the Scriptures. He’s been meditating on the promises of God.


God sets us aside to fill our attention.


Sometimes God slows us down to fill our attention with what truly matters. We’re so busy doing, doing, doing, that we don’t give God the attention He deserves. When God sets us aside, we should engage the Word.


3) Look Unto Jesus


Zechariah’s just gotten his voice back after a lifetime of waiting for his prayers to be answered. He’s just welcomed his little son into the world, and yet, it’s clear what has captured his heart, because his song is almost entirely about Jesus.


God sets us aside to focus our attention.


Sometimes we can lose focus on what really matters in life, and we start living for all the wrong stuff. And God loves us enough to set us aside for a season, to refocus our attention on what really matters, so that we might learn to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)


Takeaway: God sets us aside to get us back in the game.


He puts us on the bench, not because He’s done with us, but because He’s getting us ready for the next play. Won’t you trust Him?


Luke 1:57–80