Today I thought, "I believe I'll start reading the book of Luke." This is a great selection at Christmas time - right?
It's a familiar story - one we read often over a lifetime - but I love how we can always learn something new, how God's Word is always alive and active.
Luke begins by stating he was setting out to tell the story of Christ as an eyewitness, as one who knew Him intimately. He begins to tell the story of the birth of John the Baptist. Zechariah is ministering in the temple - offering incense - when the angel, Gabriel, appears with a message for him. He and Elizabeth, who is barren, are well up in years - too old to bear children. But Gabriel proceeds to tell Zechariah that he's been sent by God to tell him they will have a son - that they are to name him, John, and that God will use him to prepare the way of the Lord.
Zechariah's reponse? "My wife and I are too old to bear children." Unbelief.
How can I know this? I know because Gabriel rebuked him for not believing and struck him dumb - telling him he would unable to speak until it all came to pass. Zechariah's unbelief did not affect God's will or His plan - it affected Zechariah.
6 months later, Gabriel appeared to a young virgin named Mary - the cousin of Elizabeth. God sent Gabriel to tell her she was highly favored and would bear a child who would be the Son of God.
Mary's response? "Be it unto me as you have said." Belief.
She asked for details, "How can this be - I have known no man." She was given answers - "The Holy Spirit will overshadow you."
I've never before seen the two responses together - taken them into account, together - seeing the contrast.
How do we respond when God shows us something? He may not send Gabriel - but He reveals Himself to us, shows us His will, speaks to us through His Word all the time. Am I listening? Am I responding in belief or unbelief?
When Mary went to see Elizabeth - she praised God for all He had done for her. I think I might have felt He was doing it to me. Mary believed and she was blessed!
Zechariah spent nine months in silence while God revealed His plan visibly to him. When Zechariah wrote, "His name is JOHN", he exercised belief. He showed God he believed! His tongue was loosed and he could once again speak - and he praised God. He was blessed!
O, Father - open my eyes, let me hear You speaking to me through Your Word and help me to believe in obedience and praise!
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