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!”

 ______________________

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. AnnaLee says:

    "Zechariah was struck dumb because God knew his disbelief was a stumbling block in their relationship." This really helps me realize why Christ has been calling me in the way He has. Lately, the Holy Spirit has been guarding my heart towards certain people and relationships; while I am following His call and asking for the insight and wisdom to do so, the insight that He's been protecting me from these things because He knows they are a stumbling block to me- and to our relationship- fills my heart with SUCH appreciation. He knows me, and He completely knows what I can and cannot handle/what is fruitful and what is not for me. That Christ would hold me, and our relationship, in such High regard! that He wants to get rid of anything that may hinder my love from growing more for Him, and may hinder His blessings from raining down on me– Father, you are SO GOOD! I believe. Help me today, in any of my unbelief, Lord! I trust you to do what is truly GOOD.

  2. Ioneem says:

    The waiting is so hard because He made us Mothers able to fix things. But there are a lot of things we can't fix . We must wait and grow in faith while we know He is able in His timing. Lord, help our unbelief as we trust in You!

    1. Lori B. says:

      This is where I find myself lacking in trust in The Lord, Ioneem. I have been praying for God to break the lure and draw of drugs and alcohol for my son, but sometimes I realize that there's a part of me that doesn't really believe it will happen, as he comes from a long line of addiction on his father's side. As his mother, I tried everything I could think of to keep him from this place, and I failed miserably. I finally gave it to God, and have heard His voice consistently tell me, "I've got this, Lori." So why do I continue in my disbelief?

      Thank you for this prayer today… Lord, I believe… Help me in my unbelief!

  3. Emily says:

    Love your comment, Cass. How sweet our relationship with Him can become while we are waiting and trusting. This can be hard, but we must shift our focus on Him and He will take care of us. Thank you, Jesus, for your love and understanding. Help me in my disbelief as well! Sometimes I tell myself that I’m trusting You, but do I really? Search my heart and draw up in me the places that struggle to trust You.

  4. Ashley says:

    In my work as a chaplain that is one of my most favorite verses to pray with people – Lord I believe, but help my own belief. It draws on our humanity – that we are not called to be perfect – that is why we have Christ.

  5. Cass says:

    Beatccr, a very dear friend of mine has been in a period of waiting/struggling for nearly 6 months. She and her husband were willing to step out in faith and make a tough decision, but it seemed that God wanted them to persevere for all those months-just trusting, resting. While the struggle was incredibly difficult, I saw her grow in such grace! Jesus became so dear to her! Like yesterday’s devotional claimed, she was drawn closer to God because He was the only sure thing! Praying that God makes himself as sweet to you as you persevere until His will is made known to you! Pursue him, seek him and you will find him, and finding Him will bring peace in the waiting.

  6. beatccr says:

    Gah. I cannot tell you how much I needed today's and yesterday's devotions. I'm right now in a situation (while it may seem trivial) is really testing how strong my belief is and how much I can trust God. I feel like I've done everything I can do and I'm stuck waiting to see what's going to happen. And I once again cannot believe that God could come through with this. And it's SO frustrating! All I want is a Yes or a No so I can then react appropriately. And instead, I just feel that God just wants me to trust in him. But how long am I supposed to do this???

    So I read this today and yes. This will be my prayer for today “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”. And maybe I won't get an answer immediately. But God will answer. It's as if he actually wants to me to live out everything I've been writing in my blog lately: trusting in God, letting go, waiting, listening in the silence, etc. Fancy that huh?

    1. AnnaLee says:

      Totally in the same boat! You aren't alone there! Praying for you, sister. :)

  7. lifethroughmylenz says:

    last night we were able to go see a live Nativity production and while watching this part of the production, my kids were amazed that God would do this and had so many questions. It was a great tool to show them just how powerful our God is. The oldest one said, "wow i'm never going to not believe because I don't ever want God to do that to me…." it's a start, right? So this morning after everyone is awake, we plan on going back to what we saw last night and really explain to them what they saw last.

  8. Joanne Sher says:

    The Lord gives us great power through Him. And we have doubts. Because we are human. And He UNDERSTANDS. We believe, but not perfectly. So thankful the One we doubt will help us believe!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *