The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.” Luke 1:19, 20
Despite the glory of heaven and the angelic messenger who stood in front of him, Zechariah’s heart was still paralyzed by the tentacles of unbelief that had been strangling him for years.
“How can I be sure that what you’re saying is true?” the old man whimpered. “I’m an old man and my wife is well beyond the years of childbearing.”
“I am Gabriel,” the angel thundered.
When Zechariah heard these words, his heart quailed with fear, for Gabriel was the chosen messenger of heaven. “I stand in the presence of God, and He has sent me to you with message you have rejected. Now, because of your unbelief, you will be silent until the day this great miracle takes place.”
When Zechariah staggered out of the temple, his face was glowing with an unearthly radiance. Even though he was burning to describe his visitation to the waiting crowd, his unbelief had left him a voiceless mute.
As the months progressed and the child grew in his wife’s womb, the shame of his unbelief became even more painful than his inability to speak.
This strange story contains both an incredible message of hope and a stern warning. This story’s message of hope is easy to see. Despite Zechariah’s unbelief, his wife would still have a baby boy after years of barrenness.
This should encourage all of us. If God only answered our prayers and fulfilled His promises when we were in a state of perfect faith, we would all be in trouble.
Fortunately, when God has determined to bring forth His purposes in our lives, He is still willing to move, even when we are in a place of unbelief. Although God is never pleased with unbelief, I know that God is still at work in your heart to fulfill His plans, even on your worst days.
There is also, however, a warning in this story. Although Zechariah’s wife still had the promised son, his unbelief destroyed his ability to enjoy the miraculous process he and his wife were experiencing.
I cannot count the number of people I have seen in this very place. Even though God is at work in their marriage, business or finances, their unbelief has struck them dumb.
Far from being able to testify about what God is doing, their unbelief leaves them with nothing to say. For other people, it would be better if God literally struck them dumb; they become blinded because of their unbelief and begin to speak negatively about their situation because they cannot see the hand of God at work.
If this is where you are today, it’s time to repent.
Why settle for joyless change when God wants you to delight in this season of your life? If you will simply ask both God and the people He has placed in your life for help, they will give you the encouragement and strength you need to cut away the unbelief from your soul.
© Copyright 2005 by Jim Laffoon