Three things moved me this morning from reading in Luke chapter 1. The story centers around the birth of John. Even though God said they would have a son, Zechariah didn’t believe it could happen. And God made a point of his unbelief in that he couldn’t speak for nine months. Finally, when the baby was born, Elizabeth, the wife, said his the baby will be called John. No one could believe it. Not named after the dad? They gestured to Zechariah – what do you have to say about this? Zechariah scribbled on a tablet, “His name will be John.” and at that moment he could speak and began to praise God. You can read Luke 1:57-64 here, but here are three things that came to my mind this morning.
1) Follow God’s voice. It says all the relatives wanted to name the baby Zechariah. But God had already told Zechariah and Elizabeth that his name was to be John. I’ve heard lots of stories about names being rejected or forced upon through family. Fortunately, I haven’t personally experienced this. But in the situation of naming a child – or countless other things in life – we need to listen to God to lead us and confidently go that way no matter what friends and family may say. Not that the counsel of godly family and friends shouldn’t be considered, but when God has directed you – and your actions are lining up with scripture, his teaching, etc – then you have to go with it.
2) Husbands: Stand up for your wife. Even though Elizabeth has spoken the name of the child, the crowd turns to Zechariah, almost in disbelief. The name of John? Did she pull this out of thin air? It’s not even a family name is it? Tell her what’s what Zechariah! And at that point, Zechariah who though he couldn’t talk, had obviously already conversed with his wife about this whole situation, wrote out for all to see, “She’s right. His name is John.” It seems obvious that a husband would stand up for his wife, but I don’t always see it. And at times, I’ve been a culprit – even in joking ways. But, in things that matter – spiritual issues, family, child rearing, and other important things – husband and wife need to be in agreement. Together, after seeking the Lord and knowing your stance, husbands, stand up for her. Scripture speaks of this in other places, such a “the man shall leave his mother and become one with his wife”. Stand up for her. It’s a powerful statement here. I also believe that a wife who is seeking the Lord can help the husband follow in faith by giving him opportunities to agree with her. Wives, don’t try and force an unbelieving husband to be the spiritual head, but you do your part, in a godly, prayerful way and allow him to see the benefit of it and get behind you.
3. Use your voice for God’s glory. The reason that Zechariah couldn’t speak was because he didn’t believe that God could provide the miracle of a son and was caused to be silent for 9 months. You can read the full story here. As one who has been voiceless for a season due to vocal chord surgery, I have some indication of how Zechariah must have felt. There’s lots of talking that needs to be done when a baby is about to arrive. There is so much planning. So many decisions. So much celebration. And he missed out on that. But here’s what he probably didn’t miss out on – the deep, unrelenting and peaceful understanding that God was in control. At the very essence of his being he knows that it was beyond him. That God was real. That there was more to life than success, career, even family – that God was at the center. And his obedience to that end caused his voice to come back and to celebrate and praise God! It may take times of silence in our own lives to come to a point that we see how powerful the voice can be used to bring God glory.