They say that it takes a lot of faith to walk the Christian walk. And whoever "they" are, they are correct.
Living a life of faith can be one of our biggest challenges. Often I have thought that if God just sent me a message through an angel, then I would believe what He was about to do in and through me. Well, as we read in the book of Luke, this may not be the case at all.
Elisabeth is about to have a baby. However, she is completely unaware of this. Not only is she unaware, but her husband is as well. Zacharia and Elisabeth are two of the good ones. They are righteous in the sight of the Lord. They are a couple who walked blameless and kept the commandments. So, you would think that they would have the kind of faith that moves mountains.
God sends not only an angel to inform Zacharia about the good news of the forthcoming child, but he sends Gabriel himself. They top dog of God comes down to give a message of hope to a man of God... Sounds like a great story that has a great ending... And it does. John the Baptist is born and his entire life is spent heralding the good news of the coming Messiah. However, there is one little glitch. Zacharia doubts the angel and questions him because of his age. Zacharia is an old man and Elisabeth is no spring chicken herself, so maybe we can say, "give the guy some slack here."
God takes faith and unbelief quite seriously. Because of the unbelief, Zacharia becomes mute until the birth of his son. Read the story for yourself...
Luke 1:18-22 And Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time." And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute.
So what does this message from Luke teach me today? Well, the main thing I see here is that there are consequences to my unbelief. And, in spite of it, God's plan will still be fulfilled. Zacharia was praying to the Lord for this very thing and when it is announced he doesn't believe it. He was praying without conviction. How often do we throw up a prayer to the Lord and when it is answered walk around in disbelief? I know for me it is far too often.
Today I am going to learn from the unbelief of Zacharia. Lord, I pray that you will open my eyes to your truth and help me to believe you when your hand is moving in my life. Help me to believe your promises... Thank you for using broken vessels and not turning us away because of our unbelief. Amen