What a difference in the response to God’s Word in these two servants of God! And what a meaningful message to us about the power of our words.
Zechariah was a priest before God and had been for many years. He was a spiritual leader of God’s people, God’s representative – a mediator between God and man. And yet, when God’s instructions were clearly understood by him regarding the birth of his son, John, his response was doubt and unbelief. And the result? His ability to speak was taken away.
Mary was a young girl – a virgin engaged to wed Joseph. When God’s instructions came to Mary her ultimate response was belief in the ability of God to do that which He said He would do:
Let it be done to me according to what you have said. (Luke 1:38)
Of the two – Zechariah having a child with his wife or Mary having a child without the co-operation of a man – the later is clearly the more challenging! And yet Mary’s response, through her spoken words, was faith. Zechariah’s response, through his spoken words, was doubting God’s ability in the face of the physical challenge of old age. (And I imagine that Zechariah preached a sermon or two on the miracle of the birth of Isaac in the life of 100 year old Abraham!)
God spoke and Mary believed. God spoke and Zechariah doubted. The key point here, though, is God’s response to Zechariah’s voiced unbelief. He immediately stopped the priest’s ability to speak that doubt. Doubt that would compromise God’s intentions.
Would it make your life easier if, every time you were about to speak out contrary to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit intervened and took away your ability to talk? While that is unlikely, God has given us, throughout Scripture, knowledge of the power of our words, and wisdom concerning the end result of positive and negative speech. And, He has given us the Holy Spirit to live in us and help us guard our tongues, leading us to speak only “excellent and princely things” (Proverbs 8:6); to speak only the Word of God over every situation. Our words can stop the will of God for our lives, or they can open up the doors of welcome and firmly establish His will for us.
We are co-creators with our Father. Watch your words!
God’s Word on the subject: