Luke 1 : 1 – 23
I always find the story of Zachariah touching and interesting. We are told in verse 6 that both Zachariah and Elizabeth were faithful to God and were “upright in the sight of God.” They were an older couple with no children. Zachariah was a priest among approximately 20,000 priests serving throughout the country. This meant that they were divided up to take turns serving at the temple and they would have to cast lots to find out who would get to enter the Holy Place. On the day of our story, Zachariah had a once in a lifetime opportunity to enter the Holy Place of the temple and burn incense. The burning incense represented the prayers of the people and when the people saw the incense burning, they would gather and pray. The custom was to wait for a blessing when the priest came out. But the people had to wait longer than usual for Zachariah to come out because he received an angelic visitor in the Holy Place.
Gabriel appeared before Zachariah and told him that Elizabeth was going to have a son whose name would be John. Gabriel gave him several details about his son, and Zachariah answered, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” (verse 18) Gabriel was not happy with his doubt and told him that he would not be able to speak until John was born. When Zachariah came out of the temple, he was not able to give the people their blessing.
We read about others in the Bible who struggled with doubt such a Gideon (about being a military leader), Sarah (about having a son in her old age), Moses (about being a spokesperson and leading the slaves out of Egypt); yet God was patient and used them despite their doubt. Zachariah showed his doubt by needing a sign (“How can I be sure of this?”). God still used Zachariah, but He gave him the sign he needed by taking away his voice. I don’t know about you, but if an angel came to me with and told me I wouldn’t be able to speak and I lost my voice, I think my doubt would fade away about what the angel told me. Maybe you’re wondering how Zachariah could have even doubted when he had such a heavenly visitor.
I would challenge you with that thought and ask you to think about how many times God has been faithful to you. I know I can look at my life and I am overwhelmed at His provision and faithfulness. I must admit, even though I have seen a lifetime of undeserved faithfulness by God, I still find myself struggling with doubt when things don’t make sense. Will we have enough money…will I have the strength to finish… I am then convicted of my sin of unbelief. How could I doubt Him when He has always been with me? It is just too easy to focus on what we see rather than what we cannot see.
Are you struggling with doubt? Pray and ask God to help you overcome your doubt!