Scripture Reading: Luke 1:18-20 (New International Version)

“Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” 19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”

Thought for the day:

Too good to be true? A couple of years ago, I received a telephone call from a company informing me that I had been allocated a free holiday. The caller went on to say how fortunate I was that I had been chosen specifically from a list of everyone in Aberdare. The holiday was going to be amazing – a beautiful sea-front hotel in the south of Spain. All accommodation costs would be met by the company and I simply had to pay for the flights and a small administration charge. Before I had a chance to ask any questions, he proceeded to ask me for my credit card details to cover the admin charge. When I refused, he got a little more defensive and reluctantly, after about 5 minutes of toing and froing, he admitted that the flights had to be booked with a particular airline using his company as the intermediary. Also, the ‘small’ admin charge was actually several hundreds of pounds and would actually amount to more than the hotel costs! The final nail, if I needed another one, was the news that the ‘holiday’ would be only be a weekend and that I was expected to attend 2 seminars each day hosted by a timeshare company. What had seemed like great news was actually too good to be true. Those kinds of experiences have a lasting effect on our ability to have faith in anyone. No-one gets anything for nothing and there has to be a catch somewhere. This innate natural tendency to doubt poses some major problems for us in our spiritual lives. It’s much easier to doubt what God is saying to us than it is to take Him at His Word. There are many instances in Scripture that appear to be statements of doubt. Both Abraham and Gideon seem to have asked similar questions to Zechariah in our text today. However, Abraham was commended for his faith, whilst Zechariah was struck mute for his questions. What’s the difference? Well, the Scripture states that Abraham believed God, so we can safely say that God knew Abraham’s heart. It seems that God’s ability to do what He said was never in question. One can only surmise that God saw something different in Zechariah’s heart. It’s also true that Zechariah had Abraham and Gideon as perfect examples of what God can do. He really shouldn’t have doubted at all, but his fear was greater than his faith. God grant us to move beyond the natural state of doubt and fear to a new level of spiritual faith in the God of the impossible.

Prayer and Application:

Have there been times in your life when you’ve not believed what God had promised?  In the light of the study today, take a few moments to reflect on those times and make a new commitment from this moment on to take God at His word.