“And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zachariah, after his father. But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.”
Luke 1:59-64 NASB
The silent work of God
When God begins to move on a life, there is very often a hesitance, a moment of doubt or unbelief. In the book of Luke, Zachariah is met with that moment. Like Abram, he doubted the revelation that his elderly wife would have a baby. The angel Gabriel struck him mute. He went about the entirety of his wife’s pregnancy in a state of silence.
During that nine months, God worked on his heart as he marveled at the conception, the presence of Mary and the move of God that he was able to experience. He could do nothing but listen.
I have found that I have had the greatest periods of growth when I kept my mouth shut and listened to the Lord. When I speak too much and listen too little, I miss the work the Lord desires to do. I find myself voicing the doubts, the concerns, the worries that shut me off from the work that God is performing silently in my life. Silence is waiting. Speaking gives way to volition, which gives way to action.
Going back to Abram, we see the consequences of too much talk as he and Sarai hatched a plan to bring God’s blessing by their own hands. It brought disaster that still affects the world today. When they did wait, not only did God change their names, but he changed their outcomes. The blessing was delivered.
When the time was right, God loosed Zachariah’s tongue and he glorified God.
I am glad that the Lord has stilled my tongue. He didn’t take away my ability to speak, but He did give me a spirit of discernment to know when to speak and when to be silent. In the periods when He stilled my tongue He did the work of maturing me and capturing my heart. It is from the heart that the mouth speaks.
“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
Matthew 12:34 KJV
When I did finally open my mouth out of it came glory to God and not the doubts that reflected life in the flesh. My speech reflected a life walking in the Spirit. It is daily battle to not speak from the flesh, to say what is on my mind at given moment.
I am thankful that God limited my opportunity to speak early in my walk. Too often we hear of celebrities who allegedly come to know Jesus and the culture rushes to shove a microphone under their noses to ask them big theological questions. The reputation of the Gospel is judged on the evidence of an unlearned messengers.
I pray for new believers to receive wisdom and discernment. I also pray for a hedge of protection about them so that they can grow and know that they know of so great a salvation with which they have been blessed.
I pray the Lord provide discipleship to them so that they can unlock and access the vast wellspring of God in His Holy Scriptures. When the they finally speak the glories of the Lord are proclaimed.
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