Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Authenticity of the Word of GodLuke 1:57-66
Luke 1:60 – But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.”
There is an ancient spiritual discipline of sitting in silence that is being lost in today’s noisy world. The practice of sitting in silence is no easy task. Some can’t imagine more than a fleeting moment of silence. In the silence we are left with only God and us. What we learn in the silence determines how we speak in this noisy world.
Zechariah and Elizabeth endured barrenness. Why was God silent in all those years of prayer and petition? Finally, when God does speak, Zechariah wasn’t ready to listen. Zechariah became mute, but he was also deaf (read vs. 62 – they were motioning to him). What did he learn in the silence of those months? The silence of Zechariah was also the silence of Israel. From Prophet Malachi’s last words, Israel experienced 400 years of silence until an Angel of the Lord spoke to Zechariah. The silence of God can seem lone and lonely. Nine months may have felt like 400 years.
The silence of Zechariah may also be the silence of you and me. We too may ask: How long O Lord will you hide your face from me?(Ps 13) Prayers left unanswered. Needs still unmet. When
will God intervene in our lives and break the silence?
I can only imagine how in the 9 months of silence, Zechariah was able to realize what God had been saying all along. Like Elijah hearing God in the silence at Mt Sinai, perhaps Zechariah was able to hear God in the silence. What if God had spoken? What if he answered our prayer before we cried out? Zechariah and Elizabeth received their own names long before their prayers for a child rose up to God. The name Zechariah means the Lord remembers. The name Elizabeth means the promise of God. Together, Zechariah and Elizabeth mean the Lord remembers his promise. And how does he fulfill his promise? By being gracious – John means the Lord is Gracious! God had already spoken to them about their barrenness! God had spoken to Israel already about the coming messiah! He has spoken to us too! This Advent season, may we hear his words in the silence.
Father, help me to hear you and declare like Elizabeth that you are gracious. Amen.
Thought of the Day
If God’s word was true for them, then we know it is true for us too.
Rev. Larry Varghese
Emory University, Atlanta