Dumb Unbelief

Denise Vredevoogd

Read: Luke 1:5-25

Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. (v. 13)

Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, are an upright, godly couple who always obey the law. But in spite of their righteousness and prominence in the community, they had not been blessed with children and are too old to remedy the situation. And yet, one day as Zechariah is fulfilling his priestly duty in the privacy of the temple, he is startled by an angel standing nearby. Not just surprised, he is gripped with fear! But the angel gives him the best news of his life: his wife will bear a son! Not just any son, but a man with the same power and spirit as Elijah who will bring many Israelites back to God.

Zechariah, however, replies with seemingly reasonable skepticism: “How can I be sure of this?” (v. 18 NIV). But the angel rebukes the questioning priest and tells him he will be “silent and unable to speak” until the angel’s words come true. Being fearful is not the sin but rather Zechariah’s unbelief. As promised, his wife becomes pregnant and later gives birth to John who will baptize Israel’s Messiah. She gratefully acknowledges that “the Lord has done this for me” (v. 25 NIV).

It’s hard to say how we might respond to such a miraculous answer to prayer. Or is it? The promises of the Lord are good and true even if they sound unreasonable. How will you react to God’s abundance? With fear? Or with belief? —Denise Vredevoogd

Prayer: Lord, forgive our fear and unbelief. Help us rely on your promises and give thanks for answered prayer.