“Do not be afraid Zechariah, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you… he will go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous- to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and have been sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
Luke: 1:13-14, 17-20 NIV
Before Jesus came, God sent a forerunner, John the Baptist. His parents were Zechariah and Elizabeth. Zechariah was serving in the temple when the angel Gabriel came with an amazing promise from God. He and Elizabeth would finally have a son. When Zechariah heard the angel’s promise, he spoke disbelieving and doubt-filled words. Because of that, he would be unable to speak again until the promise was fulfilled, and the baby born. God is so gracious. He does not take back the promise because of the doubting servant. I wonder what Zechariah learned during the time he could not speak? Would he speak differently when he was able to speak again?
He did. When John the Baptist was born, Zechariah’s lips were loosed, and we see a change. That stretch of silence was valuable. Zechariah knows his own words were not needed to carry God’s plan through. Now prophecies and praises pour from his mouth. All who hear him are blessed and in awe of the Lord.
This story convicts me. I, like Zechariah, have spoken faithless words. Rude and pinched words, human views, my personal judgments instead of God’s grace, my puny opinion instead of God’s great truth, words of doubt, complaint, fretting, aimless words and arrogant words, all have gushed from my lips. I have said things that dishonor the promises of God to me, and to others. And today I need to quiet my lips, focus on what God has promised, and believe. Worship God with my silence. And learn, like Zechariah, how to better speak. Oh Lord, what words of yours is it time that I accept and believe?
Forgive me for the doubt-filled words I have said. I have quenched the very Holy Spirit I have asked to move. Today I give you silent lips. Your words are better than mine, so wonderful and true. They bring life and hope to all who hear them. Today I will be in awe of what you have said and of how every promise from your lips will come true. Help me Lord, to be quiet and believe. Prepare me to better speak.
Immediately his [Zechariah’s] mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. Luke 1:64 NIV