Have you ever been asked to do something that is of the highest honor? What a privilege! What a joy!
Zachariah served as a priest before God and he was chosen to enter into the temple and burn the incense. Because burning the incense was such an esteemed privilege the priest was chosen by lots and the likelihood of being selected was unlikely. The feeling must have been overwhelming as Zachariah brought forth the offering into the inner temple. There was a multitude of people outside praying while he stepped inside the sacred place to bring an offering to the Lord.
To his surprise Zachariah was met by the angel Gabriel, and instead of Zachariah bringing his gift and leaving he was given a gift in return. The Lord answered his prayer and foretold of a future son. Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth, “were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commands and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” (Luke 1:6 – 7).
Now I would think that Zachariah would be overjoyed and filled with gratitude as he left the temple; yet this was not his response. Instead of trusting Zachariah doubted and Gabriel said, “Behold, ‘you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that those things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.’”
As an outsider it is easy to think Zachariah made a poor decision; however, if I was in Zachariah’s position would I have questioned the angel? I am one to ask questions and probe so there is good chance I would have been silenced for my unbelief as well.
Belief is a difficult thing. It is saying God I trust you at your word and am satisfied. I do not need you to justify or prove yourself. The Lord never goes back on his word. Just as the angel foretold, Zachariah and Elizabeth gave birth to a son and they named him John meaning “Jehovah has shown grace,” (MacArthur Bible Commentary).
What a beautiful story. God always comes through. His word is true and he shows abundant grace to his people.
It is remarkable that Elizabeth and Zachariah remained righteous before the Lord. “Childlessness carried reproach in a culture where blessings were tied to birthrights and family lines. Barrenness could occasionally be a sign of divine disfavor, but it was not always so. Still, it carried a social stigma that could be humiliating” (MacArthur Bible Commentary)
Elizabeth remained true to her God even when the situation seemed unfair. Elizabeth did not let her situation chance her position before God.
Lord, may I position myself before you and remain faithful and trustworthy when the storm comes and it is tempting to doubt.