The angel’s “visiting” a temporary speechlessness upon him may not have seemed a blessing to Zacharias. After receiving the promise that Elizabeth would have a child, his doubt prompts the angel Gabriel to take that action. Gabriel says, “Because you did not believe, you will be without speech until the child is born” (vv. 13–22).
Some may consider this a punishment, but it involves a greater idea than vindictiveness for unbelief. Rather, the angel’s action is a lesson in the amazing power of our speech. As beings made in God’s image, He has granted to us, His own people, the privilege of “laying hold of” or “claiming” His promises.
Our speaking in faith what God has said is a very real means of bringing the power of His Word to bear upon life’s specific situations. The opposite is also true. Doubt has the power to dissolve the potential of a promise, at least as it might have applied to us. Thus, the angel neutralized Zacharias’ ability to express doubt until the promised baby was born.
This Christmastime may be a season to learn the power of silence to neutralize doubt, and the power of praise to receive God’s works of grace.