One day you go to work, encounter an angel, and receive the best news of your life. But it’s too good to be true, so you’re not sure whether to trust your heart to happiness. Then the angel gives you an assignment: keep silent for nine months and meditate on the work of God. This is the story of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. His story is also a part of the Christmas saga.
The angel who delivers good news to him is mildly offended at Zechariah’s inability to enter into joy and hope. This angel, Gabriel, has come straight from the presence of God, where the only news is good news. Gabriel’s response to fear and doubt is instructive: keep silent until it comes to pass. Then, nine months and eight days later, Zechariah’s voice returns. What would you say after nine months of meditating on the goodness of God?
Zechariah’s first words after nine months of silence are recoded in Luke 1: 67-80. Nine months of reflection. Nine months to consider the work of God. Nine months to travel from doubt to insight; from fear to hope.
Why not consider these seven questions this week:
- Zechariah was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” His perspective had shifted from the everyday to the presence of God. (v 67) How many of us consider the need to dwell in the presence?
- The God of Israel is in the business of redemption, both personally and corporately. (vs 68-71). How many of us consider that God’s redemptive purposes extend beyond our own need?
- God’s saving action demonstrates his faithfulness to all generations, from Abraham forward. (vs 72-73) How many of us consider that God sees all of humanity before him at any given moment?
- The purpose of God’s saving action is so that we can “serve him without fear.” (v74) How many of us consider God’s purpose in saving us?
- John the Baptist’s ministry was solely to prepare the way for another. (v76) How many of us view ministry as releasing someone else to be the star?
- Isaiah’s fingerprints are all over the Zechariah’s final words (vs 77-79). How many of us allow the scripture to inform our wondering and meditation?
- Finally, the baby was only eight days old. Zechariah’s work was just beginning. (v80) How many of us see the fulfillment of God’s promise as the beginning instead of the end?
May these seven questions carry us to another Monday. Peace!