When God asks me to do something, how do I respond? When I read something that convicts me in God's word what is my response? As I have been studying various parts of the Christmas story this week, I was asked to compare and contrast Mary and Zachariah's response to God's message.
Let's do Mary first. All of a sudden an angel appears and tells Mary that she will be having the Savior of the World. She asks him one question. "How can this be since I am a virgin?" (Luke 2:34) Sounds like a logical question and the angel has an answer for her. In response to the answer, Mary replies," I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 2:38) Mary was ready to do what God asked of her. She was submissive to God's will.
What about Zachariah? Zachariah was a priest and he was married to Elizabeth who is Mary's cousin. They didn't have any children but had prayed many times for God to give them children. It was Zachariah's time to go into the temple and burn incense. In the midst of his tasks, an angel appears and tells Zachariah that God has heard his prayer. His wife Elizabeth would have son and his son would prepare the way for the Messiah. Zachariah's response was "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years." On the surface this question sounds similar to the question that Mary asked. How will God do this? But I am thinking it is not that same due to how Gabriel reacts to the question. Gabriel reminds Zachariah of who he is and who he works for. Gabriel also makes it so Zachariah will not speak until the baby is born because of his unbelief. I guess Zachariah recieved his sign just not one he probably liked. God knew Zachariah's heart and whether he believed or didn't believe.
What can I take away from these two stories? First of all, it is okay to ask questions but it is important with what motive and why I am asking the questions. Second, my mind needs to be set to say yes to God with a submissive heart. Also when I pray, I need to remember that God does hear my prayers. It may be a long time before I see an answer but when the answer comes I need to be ready. I think it is also important for me to not doubt that God can answer my prayers. Here seems to be where Zachariah first doubts. Lastly, if I ask for a sign I might get one but one I may not like. It would be better just to step forward in faith and watch what God will do. God does specialize in doing the impossible.
Dear God, May I not be too critical of Zachariah's response since I have responded that way many times. Forgive my unbelief. Make me like Mary. May I say as Mary did, " I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." May I clearly hear your voice and follow the path you have for me today.