In this age (and most of the others that came before this one), most of us are inclined to speak before we listen. In fact, we are often inclined to speak before we think!
The story of Zechariah in Luke 1 is a timely word for those of us that are incline this way, as Zechariah loses his voice and gets it back again with renewed humility and power!
Here are five things we learn from the story of Zechariah about having a powerful voice in this day and age!
(1) Being of God but missing the Good News. (Luke 1:5-18)
You can be of God and even considered righteous, but still miss the Good News of God. Zechariah was a religious leader, was considered righteous by the Lord, but still questioned the messenger when Gabriel told him of what God was doing. This, sadly, can often be the case for those of us who believe we are tracking with the Lord. We can be so sure of ourselves or what we have already learned that we are not open to the revelation of what God is doing in our lives currently. We miss the Good News of how the Gospel is currently applied to our circumstances, our surroundings, or even our own lives. Sometimes, the people who need the Gospel the most are those who have already heard the Good News. We can learn from Zechariah that even if we are already of God, we can miss how the Good News will affect our current situation, the world around us, and our own lives!
(2) Losing your voice. (Luke 1:19-20)
If our voice has become useless to the Lord, we shouldn’t be surprised if God takes away our voice. Such was the case with Zechariah! He stopped using his voice to proclaim the Word of the Lord and instead used it to question God’s Word. When we have lost our prophetic voice (for any host of reasons), God may see fit to take our voice away completely. This may especially be the case for those who claim to “speak for God.” We must be careful not to use their voice inappropriately or we may find that we have our voice taken away!
(3) Speaking more powerfully when you are silent (Luke 1:21-25; 57-63)
We may also find that we can speak more powerfully without words. Zechariah’s mere silence was enough for those around him to see that he had been given a word from God. Further, Zechariah was able to show an incredible sign of solidarity with his wife Elizabeth when she wanted to name her son, “John.” Without words, Zechariah communicated God’s word to those around him and was able to draw closer to God and his wife in the process. When we see a need for God’s word to enter in to a situation around us, there may be times when our first reaction should not be to speak, but rather to listen and act.
(4) Praising God when the barriers are removed (Luke 1:64-66)
God will often remove the barrier that exists when he knows that we will be ready to praise him for it! As soon as Zechariah was ready to believe the word of God and praise God for it, God removed the barrier to this praise, which was the block on Zechariah’s voice. It is helpful to ask what barriers exist to God being praised in our lives or the circumstances around us. Perhaps God would like to identify these barriers and remove them so that His praise can go forward!
(5) Getting your voice back (Luke 1:67-79)
The most prophetic utterance that Zechariah had came after this process, after he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and when he had an audience ready to listen. At that point, Zechariah gave a powerful testimony of the Lord’s authority, his ability to remove barriers, and his heart to save the world! The key to this new voice was Zechariah’s willingness to be moved by the Spirit, believe the Word of the Lord, and proclaim the salvation of the Lord to anyone who would listen.
The story of Zechariah is a good one for our time. In climate where some many voices are clamoring to be heard, let us hear the voice of the Lord, believe it to be true, and proclaim it with our own voice. May we faithfully apply the Good News to our lives in every situation, lest God take our voice away as well!