December 18 I Friday
“Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.’” —Luke 1:18
Were we ever told something too good to be true and we start to doubt? This was exactly what happens to Zechariah, who receives news from an angel of the Lord that his wife, Elizabeth, will bear him a son and they will call him “John.” The name “John” means “Jehovah has been gracious.” The angel of the Lord reveals that John will not only bring him joy and delight, but also be the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecy in Malachi 4:5 by preparing the way of the Messiah. How overwhelming it must be for Zechariah to be standing in the temple with his dream of having a child realized and the hope of the long-awaited Messiah to finally arrive.
How does Zechariah respond to this good news? He doubts and starts to question the angel who delivers this message. “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years” (Luke 1:18). In essence, Zechariah is saying, “I am too old, this is impossible.” The natural order of things seemed more certain to Zechariah than the divine order of things. But Zechariah is a priest who studied Scripture; he would have been familiar with the story of Abraham and Sarah and the birth of Isaac when they were almost 100 years old as well as the story of Hannah giving birth to Samuel. The reality is, although Zechariah is a professing believer, he is a practicing atheist.
Some people go to church, sing the songs, know the stories and say they believe but have no living experience of Christ in their life. God is there and they believe in Him but they do not live rooted in a dependence upon Him. There is no faith of His abiding presence in their lives because they are trying to live the Christian life by their own resources.
The danger of unbelief is that when God sends us good tidings and blessings, we reject them because they just seem to be too good to be true. We become accustomed to our hopeless situation that we cannot even see past it to a God of hope. We have a living hope and His name is Jesus Christ. Whatever hopeless situation we face that is way beyond our abilities, it is not beyond His. We may have very little hope that our situation will change, but what we can gather from Zechariah is that God graciously hears our prayers; even when we are full of doubt, He works in spite of us.
Prayer: Gracious God, praise You! Even when I may be full of doubt, You still work in spite of it. Thank You, God, for the grace and mercy that You have bestowed upon my life.