“And Zecharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” And the people waited for Zacharias and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. But when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.
So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people”. NKJV)
This is an amazing story! Zecharias the priest was offering incense to God in the Holy Place of the temple when he met an angel. He had probably never had an opportunity to take the incense into the Holy Place before, but meeting an angel is not a daily occurrence either! This was also not just any angel, but Gabriel, who stands by the throne of God. He must have been big and glorious, and exuded heavenly power and strength. The name “Gabriel” means “man of God” or God is my might. Zecharias was clearly terrified at the sight of Gabriel, which was why the angel told him not to be afraid.
The angel gave him the good news of the child to come, and how he would be born into a prophetic and priestly calling, but Zecharias found it hard to believe this news. He said “How shall I know this?” and “My wife and I are not young any more”. It could be that after praying for many years for a child, he had given up on God, and decided that this miracle was never going to happen. When we close the door to our own miracle, it is a bigger barrier than if someone else tries to hinder our faith. Here he was, being told that his prayers had been heard and would be answered, and he was asking the angel of God for proof!
When God speaks, He really needs to do nothing to prove His Word; it proves itself. This is what Gabriel meant when he stated the fact that he was the carrier of messages from God. He is strong and mighty, and stands by the throne of God except when he is sent on divine assignments to earth. He saw Zecharias’ questions as a lack of faith, and dishonoring to God.
Zecharias was asking for proof, and this was the proof he was given: He would be unable to speak until the Word of the Lord was fulfilled and the baby was born! This makes Gabriel sound like some petty human person who reacted to the fact that Zecharias did not recognize who he was. Some also think that Zecharias was chastised for not having enough faith to believe his prayers could be answered. However, Gabriel was here to convey the message of God to Zecharias, and when he struck Zecharias dumb temporarily, he was really helping him along. He saw that Zecharias could not be allowed to be his own stumbling block in the birthing of their miracle. If he was allowed to speak words of doubt and unbelief, he could abort a miracle in the making. Every time we doubt God’s promises to us and give voice to it, we push our miracle one step back.
As many of us pray and wait on God for some special miracle in our lives, there is much we can learn from the experience of Zecharias.
1) God’s Word is true. What He has spoken always comes to pass, even though not in our ideal time. Psalm 119:89 says “Forever O Lord, Your word is settled in Heaven”, and Jesus said in Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away.” God says in Isaiah 55:11: “So shall my Word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Friend, if God has given you a Word through another person, through a dream or vision, or a rhema word as you read the Bible, there is no way it cannot be fulfilled. In fact, as Psalm 119:89 says, it is already settled in Heaven! This means that God has already given you what you have been asking for. He seeks that we receive His Word as ‘done’ and ‘settled’. He wants us to remember that His Word will never return void. He calls us to believe for it to be brought to pass in the physical realm, as He has already given it to us in the spiritual. Let me encourage you to record those dreams and messages the Father gives you. It is hard to keep believing while we wait, but recalling those Words from Daddy strengthens us and encourages us to keep believing and keep waiting. Faith is essential to see those promises fulfilled!
2) Positive proclamation is powerful! Gabriel gave Zecharias a period of silence because he saw that if Zecharias kept speaking words of doubt and unbelief, he may have further delayed his miracle, or stopped it altogether. Friend, your miracle is in your mouth! Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), and you can either kill your faith and hopes and the realization of your dream by what you say, or you can bring it to fruition by releasing words of life that feed your faith and bring your dream through into reality. God may have put you into a season of silence by isolating you from certain friends who hinder your faith; this may be because in His love and mercy, He wants to see you have the answers to your prayers and wants nothing to stop you being blessed.
3) Doubt silences the prophetic voice. God has amazing plans for churches and people everywhere, but doubt and unbelief released from the mouths of His children are a blessing blocker. They create a cloud in the spiritual realm, which stops the sun (Son) from shining through, and touching the hearts and lives of people. God has sent many messages to His kids, which they have refused to believe as true, and therefore aborted their miracle.
4) A miracle has stages of development, just like an unborn child. A miracle begins in the womb of the spirit. Faith and positive proclamation are the nourishment that keep it growing and developing. When Gabriel spoke the Word from God to Zechariah, the baby was already taking shape in the spiritual dimension because God had already decreed it. When he went back home to the arms of his wife, believing the word of the Lord, her aged womb was as new, her hormones restored, and her body received the seed necessary for the child to take life and develop within it. Their age and physical condition (Zecharias’ cause for doubt) had not visibly changed, but the supernatural power of God overrode the physical limitations of the human frame! The power of the Holy Spirit prevailed over matter. The spiritual atmosphere for this miracle had already been prepared by years of fervent and faithful prayer, but they had to believe the Word and act on it to see something begin to happen in the physical dimension.
Dear friend, stop looking at the physical circumstances which deny the possibility of your miracle, and start to expect the good thing you are praying for. A woman may not look like she is expecting a child until she is well into her pregnancy, and the same is true of your miracle. I believe that like a seed which germinates many inches below the surface of the earth, your prayers have been heard, and your miracle is already taking root in the unseen spiritual dimension. Begin to believe. Begin to proclaim it is happening. Begin to thank God for His goodness. Begin to act upon your faith. You have reason to celebrate. I look forward to hearing many testimonies!