Shhh…don’t say a word!

How many times have you read the Christmas Story in Luke chapters 1 and 2…once or twice? Hundreds? Have you ever wondered why Mary was allowed to ask the angel a question and Zechariah wasn’t. They both asked a similar question, but the angel’s response to Zechariah was COMPLETELY different from his response to Mary.

donts say a word

While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. 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.”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! 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.” So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God. (Excerpts Luke 1)

Every parent has said the words, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” My parents said them to me. I say that to my kids. I’m sure they will say it to their kids. I told my oldest son one day, “You know, you don’t have to say EVERYTHING that pops into your head.” He responded by saying, “Mom…I don’t!” Scary!

How many times have you read the Christmas Story in Luke chapters 1 and 2…once or twice? Hundreds? Have you ever wondered why Mary was allowed to ask the angel a question and Zechariah wasn’t. They both asked a similar question, but the angel’s response to Zechariah was COMPLETELY different from his response to Mary.

The angel Gabriel patiently answered Mary’s question (see We’re having a baby?!? for more on this), but he struck Zechariah mute until the baby was born. Think about it. Elizabeth probably wasn’t pregnant yet, so that means he didn’t speak for over 9 months!

The reason the angel’s response was so different is even though the questions sounded similar, they were worlds apart. Mary asked, “How will this be as I am a virgin?” Zechariah asked, “How can I be sure this will happen?” It could be Mary was just looking for information and Zechariah was looking for a sign. Worlds apart!

How can I be sure? The question itself is laced with doubt. Zechariah was “well-stricken in years” (that’s King James Speak speak for he was OLD). He was a priest. He had served God from his youth. He knew God. He knew what the Word said. He knew how God gave Abraham and Sarah a baby in their old age as a covenant promise to kick off his whole race of people. He knew what God was capable of. He had even prayed for a child. The angel said his prayers had been heard and answered. He should have been jumping up and down and rejoicing….but he doubted and was mute for 9+ months.

That might sound a little harsh, but God had a plan here. And He couldn’t have Zechariah’s doubt-filled words messing it up. So in essence, He told Zechariah, “If you don’t have anything faith-filled to say, don’t say anything at all! Shhh…don’t say a word!”

Zechariah got his sign all right, and I love the first words he spoke once his tongue was released. It was a blessing and prophecy about his little son, and it was full of faith and power.

God needs our words to line up with his Words to bring His plans to pass, and it’s not just our words when we pray that matter. He needs ALL our words. It is such habit to say what we see, but He needs us to say what He said. It’s not just a “confession thing,” it’s a trust thing. When we say what He said instead of what we see, we are saying, “We trust Your Word more than what we see!”

Our words are powerful. And the Word of God coming out of our mouths is just as powerful as the Word that came out of His mouth when He spoke, “Let there be!” It’s time to put a watch on our words, to say what He said, and watch Him work miracles for us.

Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (Proverbs 18:20 Message)

The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:20 NIV)

 

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