Zechariah, husband to Elizabeth and father of John the Baptist, was a good and righteous man who observed “all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.” (NAB, LK 1:6) Because of his family lineage, he also had the privilege to serve as priest in the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Zechariah and his wife had grown old without children, and this was seen as a curse from God; people believed that a husband and wife must have some great sin if they are unable to have children. Nevertheless, God blesses Zechariah by sending the Angel Gabriel to him as Zechariah served in the Temple. “The angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall name him 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.’” (LK 1:11-15)
The Angel makes other promises to Zechariah about John, but then Zechariah, a man of faith and a man who had witnessed the faithfulness of God many times, questions whether this could even happen. Zechariah doubts the prophecy of God’s messenger. Zechariah has fears that God “can’t deliver” on this one. The Gospel of Luke tells us that Elizabeth did conceive a child, and that Zechariah, as a consequence for his disbelief, was made silent until the birth and naming of his child.
God makes so many promises to us in his Word. And we can look back on our lives and see the many, many times that God has been faithful to us: moments when he has brought us through incredibly difficult times; rewards we have received; the graciousness of God; his mercy and forgiveness, despite our waywardness and sins; and his constant, pursuing love for us, even when we have ignored it. We have received so many blessings from God, and yet, we ourselves, like Zechariah, doubt him and his faithfulness. We question his love for us. We want to choose our own way instead of his. We have decided to choose other paths, when God’s way is clear before us.
Father, give me wisdom and right mind to see you present in my life. Give me courage and faith to trust your promises and your Word. I know that you love me beyond my wildest imagination and understanding; may this knowledge and your grace allow me to release control of my life to you, so that I may follow you as a true and loving disciple, always trusting in your providence and love, and always seeking to do your will. Amen.