God’s Answer & Zacharias’ Doubt

When Zacharias was in the temple of the Lord, an angel of the appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled and great fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife, Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children’, and the disobedience to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife is well advanced in years.”

And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings (the good news). But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time” (Luke 1:11-20)

Perhaps, it’s easy to wonder why Zacharias didn’t have any faith, especially when in the past, Abraham and Sarah who were well in advanced in years and Sarah was past the age of childbearing, were blessed with their son, Isaac or Hannah who was barren was blessed with Samuel and other children. Not to mention, Rebekah who bore twin boys after her husband, Isaac, in faith, entreated the Lord on her behalf because she was barren. In faith, Zacharias had prayed for God to bless Elizabeth and him with children but as time went by and his prayers weren’t being answered, did he eventually give up, resigning himself to the idea that Elizabeth and he were never going to be parents? How would we have responded if we were in his place? Would we continue to trust in our God whom we have seen working in our lives time and time again or would we, like Zacharias, express doubt? Would we forget that nothing is impossible for God or that when something is within God’s will, it will be done?

Zacharias couldn’t imagine that that an old man and a barren woman could have a child but the angel, Gabriel was very specific. He told the priest that God had answered his prayer albeit, it was many years later, what the child should be called, instructions on how to raise him and the Divine plan for his life. Unfortunately, doubt replaced faith in the God who called into existence things which didn’t exist and as a result, Gabriel rebuked Zacharias and pronounced that he was going to be mute and unable to speak until the things which were foretold came to pass. Gabriel asserted that his words “will be fulfilled in their own time.” In other words, there was no question or doubt that Elizabeth will have a child and he will be all the things which Gabriel said he would be. God’s Word, when it goes out, does not return to Him void. “But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

Has God promised you something but you have doubts? If so, ask Him to increase your faith. Jesus encourages us to, “Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Mark 11:23).

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