18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19 The angel said to him, “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. 20 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 appointed time.”
Keeping with the topic of obedience, today I want to introduce Zechariah. Though the mention of Zechariah is very small, he is one of my favorite characters from the bible.
While Zechariah was serving as a priest he got some of the most shocking news of his life. He was chosen to go into the temple and to offer up the incense to the Lord. I know whoever was chosen to go beyond the curtain had to wear bells so the others would know he was still alive. This task, as honorable as it was, still must have been overwhelming…almost frightening. He was entering the holiest place there was. He was going to stand before God and offer up incense and prayers. I can’t imagine all the thoughts going through his mind.
When Gabriel appears to Zechariah we discover one of the thoughts floating around in the temple. Along with the corporate prayers and incense, Zechariah was sending up a deeply personal prayer. A prayer as much for his wife as for him: Lord, please let us have a child.
I know this prayer well. In fact, until about 8 months ago it was my constant prayer. I don’t know how it is for a man, but for a woman the desire for a child can be nearly excruciating. It is miserable to watch so many around you taking part in one of the most natural processes on earth, one that you so badly wish to experience, but month after month discover you’re not pregnant. Thankfully it didn’t take long for my prayer to be answered, but for Zechariah and Elizabeth it took a long time. In fact, so long that Zechariah had almost given up hope.
There are two things I really love about Zechariah. First, that he was thinking about his and his wife’s desires while he was before God. This shows just how human he was, and that his human prayer was heard…well that is just about as uplifting as it gets. Next, I love his response to Gabriel. He, like Joseph, sees the angel; but, instead of immediate belief, he questions him. How can this be? That is so like me. Okay God, you say I am going to have something, but how?
I just have to remember that the how doesn't matter, it's not for me to know.What does matter is that God WILL accomplish His promises. I should have no doubt that God will do something He says He will. He is not a liar, He doesn't tease, He is God. He only says what He means.
God, thank You for accomplishing Your plan through ordinary people. Thank You for the examples You give us from the Bible. Thank you for your patience when I don’t understand, and forgive me for thinking I need to. Thank you for always fulfilling Your promises. Help me to trust You as I wait to see Your will. - Amen