Have you ever wondered if you disappointed God so badly that He didn’t have any more use for you? Many people have. Today I’ve got some good news for you, and I hope it will enable you to see that nobody is beyond God’s love.
In the beginning of the book of Luke, we see Zechariah in the temple when the angel Gabriel appears and tells him his prayers have been answered – he’s going to have a son named John (Luke 1:13). But Zechariah doesn’t really believe it and says, “How can I be sure this will happen?” (vs. 18). In other words, Zechariah wants a sign. Gabriel responds, “Okay. You want a sign. How’s this for a sign. You’ll be silent and unable to speak until John is born.” (And somewhere under his breath I believe Gabriel might have muttered, “Silly human.” But I could be wrong on that point).
Finally the day arrives! John has been born and now it’s time to circumcise him and give him a name. After a short dispute with some relatives who wanted to name him after his father, they all turn to Zechariah for his opinion, and he writes out “John is his name. And now we come to the part I like. “Instantly,” or “Immediately,” Zechariah could speak again.
Life Application Point #1: God’s discipline doesn’t last a moment longer than necessary.
Just as Gabriel said, Zechariah remained silent until John was born and named. His obedience opened his ears and loosened his tongue, and the first words that come out of his mouth are words of praise.
A reverential awe filled the people who witnessed these events, and it didn’t take long for the gossip train to make its way throughout the Judean hills. Yes, the people were talking, but this time they were talking about God in a truthful manner and their spirits were tuned in to wonder just what plans the Lord had for this child named John. Sometime later, Zechariah composed a prophetic poem, the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit as we see in verse 67.
Life Application Point #2: Previous discipline doesn’t end spiritual ministry.
When a believer today has submitted to God’s discipline, they may continue in service to their Lord. Too often we judge a person’s effectiveness for the Kingdom because of a previous indiscretion. God will use whatever player He chooses in whatever position He chooses to put them in for His purposes. He doesn’t need us to sit by with a scorecard and keep track of hits and errors. Besides, the only reason some of us aren’t being judged more harshly by our neighbors is simply because we haven’t been found out. So let’s not be too quick to judge those who have. We never know how God is going to use someone who has doubted and betrayed Him. Just as Zechariah and Peter.
Perhaps you’ve disappointed God somehow. You’ve doubted Him or betrayed Him and God has set you down for some time out and discipline. But He’s not done. Zechariah still had a purpose, and that purpose was to keep God’s work in front of him and raise up godly offspring. You have a purpose to, and that purpose is God’s purpose: to bring His Son into the world so they may know His grace and His love.
Take heart, my friends. God isn’t finished with you yet.