H – Highlight
Luke 1:18-20 – 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”
E – Explain
In this passage, Zechariah asks for the angel to prove that his prediction will come true. Gabriel has promised Zechariah a son, and Zechariah cannot believe it. So the angel pronounces a small curse on the old priest. Zechariah will be unable to speak until the child is born.
A – Apply
What I learn here is a principle. Unbelief is offensive. Gabriel makes that clear. When Zechariah asks his question, asking for proof, the angel identifies himself and seems taken aback that this foolish man would not take his words as they have been delivered.
Of course there will be times when we struggle with doubt and confusion. And we should not pretend otherwise. But we also must not forget that for us to fail to believe the words of God is a big deal. Unbelief matters. The devil, in the garden, used a denial of the truth of God’s words to tempt the woman. A refusal to believe in Christ is a sin that leads to death. And for us to see God’s clear words, have no doubt that they come from God, and then for us not to believe them is a major problem.
R – Response
First I know that I am called to respond to this in humble confession. While I may believe the Lord with my mind, I know that, at times, my heart forgets to believe what the Lord has said. I must own this as a sin, confess it, and repent. Second, I should remember that all that the Lord has said is true and trustworthy, and it should impact how I live and how I think.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your faithful word. Your Scripture, your holy word, is totally true and trustworthy. I pray that you will forgive me for any time in which I have failed to believe that you are who you claim to be or that you will do what you claim to do. Help me to believe you deep down and to see that unbelief is deadly.