Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
Now an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice over his birth.
Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in her years.” The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Luke 1:8; 11-14; 18-20 NASB
We all love working for an employer that gives great benefits, amazing bonuses, paid vacations and never overlooks our efforts. Sounds like a dream job! The old saints would say, “Serving the Lord will pay off after a while”, but sometimes in our service efforts, we can lose sight of why we are working. It’s all about the pay off, right?
In James 2:14 – 26 the theme is “faith without works is dead.” If we were to use this phrase in the manner of a palindrome (to read it backwards), we would discover another truth about this scripture: “dead is works without faith.”
In our reading in Luke 1 beginning at verse 5, we see Zechariah in a position of employment at the temple. He is designated to prepare incense for burnt offering (working, serving). The Angel Gabriel (supervisor) approaches Zechariah, and shares with him the good news that his request to have a child has been granted. Zechariah responds in disbelief because both he and his wife are too old, far beyond childbearing years.
Like Zechariah, many believers serve God and understand the benefits. We can believe for others in our service. God can heal them. God can deliver them. God will answer them. But when it comes to our personal lives, we doubt and give birth to disbelief and we make excuses putting our logic against God’s promise.
It is sad for a sales representative to strongly promote a satisfaction guaranteed product, but they won’t personally stand by the product they promote. Because of Zechariah’s disbelief, his punishment was to become a mute until the birth of his son.
However, that’s not the end of the story. (Shouting time!) He was given a second chance not only to talk about the benefits of the promise after his son John the Baptist’s birth, but he even prophesied about what was to come.
“Now you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God.
You will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
You will make his people know that they will be saved
by having their sins forgiven.
With the loving mercy of our God,
a new day from heaven will dawn upon us.
It will shine on those who live in darkness,
in the shadow of death.
It will guide us into the path of peace.” Luke 1:76-79 NCV
Has God made you a promise? Did you respond in faith or disbelief? The Lord is a God of second chances and offers an amazing benefits package for those who believe. Return to Him today!
Father please forgive us for raising our logic against your wisdom, sovereign will, and timing. Restore unto us the joy of our salvation where we believed with passion for others as well as ourselves. Keep reminding us that serving the Lord will pay off after a while. Amen