By Gene Price
Pastor, Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason
Years ago I stood before the church and announced that my wife was expecting. The church members asked, “Do you want a boy or a girl?” After pausing for a moment, I said, “I would gladly take one of each.” Little did I know that nine months later I would become a father to twins — a boy and a girl.
When a person receives God’s Word, it is always a sure Word. Zechariah was a priest in Israel. He was up in years and it was his turn to be the officiating priest in the temple. His job was to enter the temple, burn incense, and pray for the nation of Israel. This was a huge honor; it was something a priest only got to do once in his lifetime. As Zechariah was praying, an angel appeared and gave him a promise from God. Zechariah and Elizabeth had been praying for a child though they were elderly and childless. The angel assured them that God had heard their prayers and would indeed give to them a son. Tennessee Baptist pastor Dean Sisk says, “It often is easier to ask God for something than to believe God has actually answered your prayer.” Part of God’s promise to Zechariah and Elizabeth focused on the special gift of ministry that their son would bring to a needy world. Scripture described John’s gift of preaching and calling people to repentance as “delivered in the spirit of the Old Testament character, Elijah.” God promised this godly couple that this promised son would prepare the path for the coming Messiah.
When a person doubts God’s Word, it hinders that person’s work for God. Zechariah doubted that God was really at work. He questioned God and doubted what the angel had said. Zechariah did an unwise thing by saying, “How do I know this is true?” Zechariah was not the first to doubt God. Remember the serpent said to Eve, “Did God really say … ?” Zechariah reminds the angel that he and his wife are old and basically past child bearing years. Because of his doubt, Zechariah would be unable to speak the entire time Elizabeth was pregnant. Of all people, Zechariah should have known that when God says something it is going to happen. The name “Zechariah” means “God has remembered.”
When a person is obedient to God’s Word, it always leads to joy. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, they were going to name him after his father Zechariah because it was customary to name the firstborn son after his father. Elizabeth, however, spoke up and said, “His name is John.” Then they asked Zechariah and he wrote on a tablet, “His name is John.” Immediately Zechariah’s mouth was opened and he was able to speak and began to praise God. God blessed Zechariah’s obedience by removing his mute condition. Now Zechariah used his mouth to praise God.
When people are obedient, it is always a blessing to those around them. The Bible says, “All these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea.”
God fulfilled His promise through the birth of John the Baptist. He would preach the kingdom of God and would identify his cousin Jesus as the Messiah.