zechariah is struck dumb

from the zechariah is struck dumb reading plan


Luke 1:13-25

BY Diana Stone

Text: Luke 1:13-25

Zechariah is struck dumb until the fulfillment of Gabriel’s prophecy.

 

Reflection

Zechariah is only briefly mentioned in the Bible, but his story is a powerful one. He is called “righteous in the sight of God” – a label not used to introduce many, even in the time of Jesus.

For all his knowledge as a high priest, a visit from the angel Gabriel brings out the disbelief in Zechariah. He is told that his wife, Elizabeth, will conceive a child. His answer is similar to a man he must have studied and known about his entire life, Abraham (Genesis 17:17): “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” (Luke 1:18)

He is then struck dumb by the angel Gabriel until his child is born.

Why is this? It rings with the familiar tone of Moses being denied entry into the Promised Land, Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt, even Adam and Eve leaving the garden. We might look at each of those situations and say, “But Lord – such harsh consequences for these offenses. Why?

Looking closer, we see that those who seem, in our eyes, to have been doled an unfair lot, are also those that God placed immense trust and power in over the years. The saying “With great power comes great responsibility” is also true of those who represent the Lord. Zechariah was struck dumb because God knew his disbelief was a stumbling block in their relationship. He saw the authority Zechariah had not only over the people he ministered to, but soon his own son.

In this Christmas season when hearts ache as much as rejoice, let us hold fast to the promises of our Lord of a second coming, of life after death, of grace covering our sins. We can believe in what we have been told, and we should.  Like any relationship, distrust whittles away a bond over time. While God knows our humanity and weakness, our prayer should be, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

 

Prayer

Father, like Zechariah, our belief in You often falters. Deepen our trust in you. Help us to understand the weight of our responsibility as followers of Jesus. Hear us when we cry out to you, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Amen.

 

Advent Action

Go stargazing and recite Mark 9:24 aloud, as a prayer. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

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For an added layer of worship and study, we chose a beloved Christmas song for each day of our Advent plan. We invite you to listen to The First Noel today as we dwell on the truth of God’s word together.

Post Comments (15)

15 thoughts on "zechariah is struck dumb"

  1. Emily says:

    I have prayed this prayer many times! And I can tell you God is SO WILLING to respond! If you were to ask me what I am doubting right now I would have to say… That I will ever get employed. You see, I have been waiting so long to have a steady job, and today I looked and thought wow this is just for me ! It's really hard for me to look around, especially at my unbelieving friends, and see that they have cars and a job.
    What I most definitely take from this story is not to doubt that God can do something! I am so sure, even in my weak moment now, that Jesus knows how badly I want to get work. I'm sure He knows how much I have longed to have my own car to make ministering to my niece a lot easier.
    I'm also waiting for a lot of other things such as a husband and my family to be Christ followers.

    This is my cry these past years and probably the next.
    In the end, I thank Jesus for reminding me of this.

  2. Catherine_K_L says:

    Lord, I believe! help me in my unbelief! There are many times my unbelief has been a stumbling block.

    For many years, I carried an extremely heavy burden of guilt for my poor choices. I believed that a God forgives and that The blood of Jesus cleanses all sin. I just had a hard time believing that included ME. I mean, I had done some really rotten things you see. How could God really include me in that? I didn't forgive myself. It was revealed to me at some point that my unbelief that his mercy and grace included me was like telling Jesus that He wasn't enough! Oh, the tears that came as I allowed His blood to wash me clean. And the love I have for Jesus, especially since I truly understand Him as my Savior is greater than words can express! Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law."

    I think it's our human nature to try to rationalize things in our own minds and no doubt the devil has a lot of fun helping us in our unbelief. It occurred to me that I see a lot of Christmas decorations with the word "BELIEVE" . I know this is in reference to Santa Claus….but I decided that whenever I see that, I will say the words of Mark to myself "Lord, I believe! Help me in my unbelief" and I will thank God for his answered prayers (past , present and ones to come) , praise Him for his faithfulness and for the all the wondrous works of His hand…..especially the birth of our Savior that we celebrate this season and wait for his return! Christ Jesus has come, He has Risen and He will come again!

  3. Candace land says:

    Diane Smith your advent study sounds like something I need as well.

  4. Janee White says:

    Yesterday, we read that blessed is she who believed that the Lord will fulfill His promises to her. Today, we see the results of Zechariah's doubt.

    The angel said to him, "And now you will be silent…until the day THIS happens." For Zechariah, it was the birth of his son to his barren wife. But what's your 'THIS'? What are you disbelieving will happen? What has God promised that causes you to doubt Him?

    I have been struggling to believe that God will fulfill His promises to me. That His ways are higher than mine. That He gives homes to the homeless. That He will prepare a way for me. That my future will be prosperous. I am in a season of doubt.

    So I prayed today, Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief. For I am your servant Lord, let it be to me as You have said. For blessed is she who believes that no Word from God will ever fail.

    May that be your prayer today as well…..

  5. Diane smith says:

    WE are ladies in waiting. I was struck by Luke 1:17 as I read this devotional; .such a huge responsibility for Zachariah ! &Elizabeth
    To wait! believing God would do what he said he would. In my own life ,my husband and I are waiting too. throughout this advent time I have been given verses about the hearts of the fathers being turned to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.
    This can only happen through the Holy Spirit s move on and in us. It is a slow process, that of forgiveness and reconciliation,but we know it is the will of God not just for our family, but for the Glory of God. Parents aren't perfect, no matter how hard we try to do everything right.We need gods intervention as much now as we did when we waited in childbirth? today we too are praying for God to help our unbelief.

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