Zacharias, the father of John the baptist, was a faithful man of God, a priest said to walk “in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). In light of this, his response is somewhat surprising when Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, told him that he and his wife Elisabeth, though aged, would have a son who would come in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the children of Israel to the Lord. Zacharias’ response was, “Whereby shall I know this?” (Luke 1:18). He had been told of this great blessing that would come upon him, and he responded with five faithless words (four in the original language), asking for a sign. He explained the reasoning behind his doubt, “for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” When Zacharias asked for a sign he showed a lack of faith; as Jesus explained to a group of scribes and Pharisees who had asked Him for a sign, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 12:39). Because of his lack of faith, his ability to speak (and likely to hear) was taken away from him until the fulfillment of Gabriel’s prophecy. As put by J.W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton, “Four faithless words [five in English, LM] cost him forty weeks of silence.”
Certainly the words of Zacharias do express a lack of faith. But how much more do the following phrases not uncommonly heard in some form or another express a complete lack of faith and trust in God and His ability to provide?
“I have more pressing things to attend to than attending every church service.”
People are busier today than they have been in the past. This is not because they are generally working longer hours each day, but because they have taken on a greater load of outside activities. Sometimes, an emergency may arise rendering it impossible for a Christian to meet with the saints at the designated hour of worship. But when it is not an emergency, what can be more pressing than attending to the needs of the soul? One who puts personal activities above attendance at every worship service is clearly not putting the Lord first.
Although there is the responsibility to provide for one’s own, seeking after food and raiment is not the Christian’s primary motivation in working— “let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28; emphasis LM). In giving, God demands the firstfruits, not the leftovers. The Christian confidently knows that the Lord will provide for his basic needs (Matthew 6:33).
“If I don’t marry this non-Christian, I won’t ever have a chance to get married.”
There is a tendency for some young people to think that their opportunities for marriage are limited to those with whom they are presently acquainted. God has promised to bless those who seek Him with the whole heart (Psalm 119:2), and they will be blessed who decide to wait for a spouse who will help them to serve God rather than accepting one who may hinder them from serving God.
“If I don’t compromise some of my Christian principles, I won’t have any friends.”
Those who stand for the truth and stand with the Lord will drive some people away, just as happened with the Lord Himself (John 6:66). Friends intolerant of those who insist on living by the moral principles found in the word of God are not really friends at all. The Lord has provided us with a body of Christians to encourage each other. The Psalmist wrote, “Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes” (Psalm 119:23). Even if a Christian were to have no friend left in the world but the Lord, what greater friend could he have?
“I can take care of myself.”
To some, this might sound like the voice of confidence; however, it is actually the voice of one with little confidence in God. God needs to be included in every aspect of our lives. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12).
Zacharias came to know that he was wrong to doubt God, and his five faithless words cost him his speech for forty days. The five faithless phrases above could cost one his soul for eternity. Let us each have the faith and trust in God to put Him first in all that we do.
- The Bible (37)
- The Church (33)
- Holy Spirit (2)
- Bible Authority (11)
- Calvinism (7)
- Nature of God (9)
- Faith (19)
- Family Matters (7)
- Denominationalism (10)
- Attitudes (46)
- Christian Living (57)
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