December 22, 2008 Ration
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.
Again we see that vice, unbelief.
Gabriel, the angel who stands in the presence of God, speaks this rebuke to Zechariah as he is in the temple of the Lord serving as priest before God. Gabriel was sent by God to bring Zechariah the amazing news that God was giving him a son, even in his old age. Zechariahs prayer was to be answered (1:13)!
Artists, I wonder how much we forfeit due to our unbelief? Zechariah loses his speech, among other losses, for nine months due to his. It seems that our unbelief reveals immediately where our hope is resting. May we learn right now not to add to our troubles by putting lips on our unbelief. We should run it through instead!
Zechariah responds to Gabriel with an account of how old he and his wife are. Did he forget that he already acknowledged his weakness and need for help when he offered up a prayer to God for a child? He was looking to his own resources to accomplish what he was asking of the Lord, and that was his error. If Zechariah, when told by the angel (which should have been an encouragement that a superior power was at work for him) would have listened from faith in the ability of God rather than from despair in the inability of his old frame, it seems that he would not have been rendered speechless. He could have plainly said, Okay.
But we are too much like Zechariah to ridicule him, artists. We read the word of God, we pray the word of God, we trust in the word of God, and when the Lord means to fulfill His word in us, we too often let that little mold of unbelief have one more venting. We might respond like this when the Lord answers our prayers: But how am I going to be able to get there? Or, How can I start when I lack the tools? Or, How can I finish when I have not the ability nor the strength?
When these questions are asked from unbelief, they are really expressions of our doubts. But when from belief, from faith, we ask the Lord to see how He will do what He has just said He would do, that is a request to know and enjoy more of the muscle of God! One is an expression of disbelief disguised as a question, while the other is a call from thankfulness for more grace from the Lord (Psalm 116:12-13). The former breeds division, while the latter breeds fellowship.
The last line of this verse is so beautiful: my words will be fulfilled in their time. These words of Gabriel are the words that God sent him with. God will accomplish what He sets out to do, even in spite of our unbelief. So be encouraged then, artists, for the words of God will not fail though we may fail to believe His words.
God, help us to slay our unbelief so that we may enjoy the pleasures You reserve for the ones who are full of faith (John 20:29)!
© 2008 The Gaius Project