Day 18 – Set Free By Discipline
On: November 18, 2014   |   By: admin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

“Immediately Zechariah’s mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbours were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.  Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, ‘What then is this child going to be?’ For the Lord’s hand was with him.” [Luke 1:64-66]

Zechariah’s lack of belief had led to him being mute for a year throughout Elizabeth’s pregnancy (see day 6). Harsh? It was God’s discipline; not as vindictive punishment, but to train him in righteousness. (See Hebrews 12 – a great passage on the usefulness of discipline, particularly verse 10: God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.) As soon as Zechariah’s discipline is complete he does indeed share God’s holiness, bursting out in a great psalm of praise (see days 19 & 20).  The result was that everyone was stirred up to wonder what was going on and whether the child was actually something more than a gift to an elderly couple. From the priest faithfully going about his duties in the temple but unable to grasp the magnitude of what God wanted to do in his life, we find a transformed Zechariah coming vibrantly alive as the Lord’s hand was with him. And the people were filled with awe.

Are you and I too often tongue tied, going about our lives dutifully but ineffectively? Or do we long to be set free and speak words of transformation into the lives of those around us? My thoughts turn to Peter, denying knowledge of Jesus in the courtyard after His arrest, (Luke 22:54) but a few weeks later, after a reconciliation on the Galilee lakeside (John 21:15), standing in front of a multi-national crowd of thousands fearlessly proclaiming this same Jesus as Lord and Saviour (Acts 2:14). The common factors? Zechariah and Peter both failed a test of their faith, underwent a time of discipline, but were then restored, empowered by the Holy Spirit and went on to be powerful witnesses to the Kingdom of God.

His mouth was opened and his tongue set free

Prayer:

Father God, I don’t like times of testing or discipline. Help me to understand, though, that these are a crucial part of my training to enable me to walk alongside Jesus, who Himself was tested in the desert and in the garden of Gethsemane. Grant me patience and resilience to draw closer to You during these times in the confident hope that You are working Your good purposes out and will restore me and use me in Your service. Amen.

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