There are many in Scripture whom we overlook and perhaps do not give enough attention. Two of these are the parents of John the Baptist, Zacharias and Elizabeth. They are overshadowed in Scripture by their son John and their nephew, Jesus Christ. There is, however, a very powerful statement made about them that shows how they are an excellent example to you and me and all who desire to live lives righteously before God. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. (Luke 1:5-7, NKJV, emp. added)
They Were Righteous Before God
First consider that they were righteous before God. This means that they were righteous in God’s judgment. What a compliment! What high praise! One may live all of his life as a hypocrite, appearing righteous on the outside yet all the while living a lie. No other person may know this, but God knows. God concerns Himself with the inside of man, his heart, not the outward appearances. … For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV); Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men. (Proverbs 15:11 NKJV); I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:10 NKJV).
They Walked in All the Commandments and Ordinances
To be righteous before God is to walk in all of His commandments. To walk in them is to live one’s life in obedience to them. Commandments here means the moral obligations in the law. Ordinances refers to the ceremonial parts of the law. Zacharias and Elizabeth did not consider the law a buffet from which one might draw away one thing and leave another. They realized they were obligated to observe and obey all of it.
Nor did they pay mere lip service to the law. They were obedient. The scriptures say a great deal about those who claim righteousness or faithfulness yet refuse to obey God’s commands. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 NKJV); But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22 NKJV); “He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. “Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you (Matthew 21:29-31 NKJV).
They Were Blameless
These verses describing Zacharias and Elizabeth are not telling us that they were sinless before God, for only one was sinless, Jesus Christ. These verses are teaching us that these were of such high moral character that none could rightly point a finger toward them, blaming them of being unrighteous according to God’s standard of righteousness.
The text states they were childless and this may have caused some to accuse them of some secret sins. The Jews of their day believed that being childless was a judgment from God because of some hidden sin. This teaching did not come from God, it came from the traditions of men and many saw suffering and misfortune as evidence of sin (cf. John 9:2). Even a cursory perusal through the book of Job ought to have put such notions to rest. In God’s judgment, they were blameless.
Can God say the same about us that He said regarding the godly couple, Zacharias and Elizabeth? Let us strive for God’s approval by following all of His commands and living lives blameless before Him and the world.