Luke 1:20 “And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”
There are risks to not believing God! Actually, Zechariah’s punishment was very mild, compared to what people will receive who refuse to believe Him their whole lives. When you think about it, Zechariah was being pretty stubborn, because he was receiving an angelic visitation in the holiest of settings and yet he was persisting in looking at things from a humanistic viewpoint. God wants us to be aware of circumstances and to use the minds He has given us, but we must remember that His reality is greater than ours, and He can change our circumstances in an instant. We say we believe, but in a pinch we are all too often like Zechariah. God has given us many great and wonderful promises, and indeed the fulfillment of some of them may come after we personally have left this earth, (Hebrews 11:39-40) but those promises are more sure than the ground we are standing on. As Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)
Our faith is constantly being tested. That’s because our faith needs to grow, and growth requires exercise, for faith at least as much as for muscles. Attacks of the enemy don’t mean that God has abandoned us, they just mean that God is wanting to take our faith to a higher level. Right now we are in just such a training period. We are not to take our eyes off of Christ, but rather focus on Him all the more, submitting to and proclaiming His Lordship and waiting in hope for His will to be fulfilled. We have the hardest time with that, it seems, when it comes to money. George Mueller is a good example for us here. He ran an orphanage in England at a time when the government didn’t support such things, and he did it on essentially no money. He didn’t express his needs to people, but only to God, and the provision was always there. Sometimes the timing was what we would call too close for comfort, but God doesn’t want us to be comfortable, He wants us to grow as His children, to destroy the citadels of the enemy and set the captives free. (2 Corinthians 10:4, Luke 4:18-19) We can’t do that in our own strength, but then we never could, whatever we thought. He lets us get to the end of our own strength to teach us to depend on His. He is totally faithful.
Father, this is yet another unexpected trial, but then we hardly ever predict trials accurately. Help us all fix our eyes on You, praying with the father of the epileptic boy, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Thank You. Praise God!