Day 17

Zechariah Struck Silent

from the Advent 2017: Joy to the World reading plan


Luke 1:18-25, Genesis 18:9-15, Luke 7:18-28, Romans 4:19-21

I really get Zechariah.

I understand doubt, and can relate to wanting to be absolutely sure of something before I lean on in and believe. Perhaps Zechariah would have been right there with the apostle Thomas, saying, “Unless I put my hands in his sides, and in the nail prints, I will never believe!” (John 20:25). At the time, it probably seemed like good sense to be cautious. “How can I know this?” Zechariah asked the angel. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years” (Luke 1:18).

Zechariah’s question makes me wonder what sort of confirmation he wanted. After all, could there be a more sure, concrete sign than a direct word from heaven, delivered by an angel who regularly stands in the presence of God Himself?

Something in our foolish hearts loves to cast about for ways to doubt God. Like Zechariah, we enter into His presence full of petitions, offering prayers and supplications. But then when He answers, we can’t seem to wrap our heads around it. O, we of little faith.

I love the message that Gabriel brings. Zechariah was serving as High Priest, burning incense on the altar. In other words, he was representing all of Israel, offering prayer up for all the people. It was not merely a personal petition that God is fulfilling. Gabriel declares that God has heard Zechariah’s priestly prayers on behalf of all the people, and so his message is one of salvation for all mankind, not just for the son for Zechariah. The promise is earth-shatteringly grand, and Zechariah gets the rich blessing of seeing his own son play a remarkable part. How, indeed, can this be? How could Zechariah comprehend this?

A sign was given to Zechariah: his own muteness. It’s fitting that his human doubts and protests would be silenced, leaving only the enduring promise of God to remain. This is how God makes for Himself “a people prepared” for the coming of salvation (Luke 1:17). Our words, our doubts, our own notions of rationality and caution, are all silenced. And in that silence we wait, as God’s sure promise is fulfilled, as His own Word takes on flesh, and we behold His glory as that of the Father’s only begotten Son, full of grace and truth.

The Lord has done this for me. He has done this for you.

Written by Caleb Faires

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4 thoughts on "Zechariah Struck Silent"

  1. Jeff M. says:

    “A sign was given to Zechariah: his own muteness. It’s fitting that his human doubts and protests would be silenced, leaving only the enduring promise of God to remain. This is how God makes for Himself “a people prepared” for the coming of salvation (Luke 1:17). Our words, our doubts, our own notions of rationality and caution, are all silenced.”

    God how quickly I want to see, to know, to process, and even to make happen what I hope to accomplish…to work it into existence. But then, a day like today comes…Kaitlyn’s dad awaiting his biopsy diagnosis from the doctors and there’s nothing to do. Nothing we can do. All the striving is silenced, and I’m left realizing just how out of control we are in this life. Even in her old age, Elizabeth conceived. Mary conceived as a Virgin. You are the God of the impossible. What we formulate in our heads as to how, when, and what is going to happen and then we just sit in our little kingdom hoping it all comes true. But Your Word tells us to draw near to You with confidence and ask of You…Your Word speaks so much to this truth – Your plans will be established. And they are good! Goodness, it is so easy though to forget that truth and have unbelief.

    Unbelief that what You have is best. Forgetting who You are and who we are…You alone are Lord God, and we are your beloved servants. Father I pray you would lead us today – praying specifically for my friends Bill and Caitlin as they await a report that is in every sense under your control. May we rest today and live today, love today out of these truths of Christmas even in the midst of the unseen circumstances.

    Thank You for establishing Your plans as You will – not as we do. Help us to pray and come before You looking to You, not to our present circumstances for hope or peace.

  2. Andrew says:

    Lord, fill me with faith!

  3. Curtis Azevedo says:

    Oh ye of little faith.

  4. Alberto says:

    Forgive me Lord for my doubt. The Lord has been promising me something and I’ve seen the steps leading to the promise come to pass, but my flesh keeps wanting to doubt. Thank you Lord what you’re doing. I repent of all doubt and unbelief in your promises and in your word!

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