Luke 1: 5-22 5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak./ (NIV) This was part of my morning reading. There is a good lesson for us here, nay, two or even three. Zechariah was seen to be righteous and lived blamelessly in the sight of the Lord, yet when he opened his mouth in doubt...he was struck with silence for 9 months!! For expressing a moment of doubt only. Zechariah was obviously raised in a much different environment than we are today, with all of our indoctrination and so forth, raised to know the ways of the Lord and was stated as fact to be righteous in the sight of God. A priest in fact. Lesson one. It is not what goes into the mouth of man that defiles him, it is what comes out of the mouth of man that defiles him. He had an Angel standing before him and obviously knew it was no common man for he was startled with fear. Zechariah knew God and was at an altar at the time so would have easily been cognizant that a sort of divine interaction was occurring. Yet he had to open his big mouth and doubt. Lesson two. Oh ye of little faith! Zechariah had to have faith in God, for he walked righteously. No man is an island, nor perfect. But don't lose faith. If you waver, you may pay the consequences. Feeling doubt in the flesh or having the thought, is one thing. Opening up your mouth is quite another! Stand fast. Hold your ground and cling to your Lord, without wavering in your speech. The spoken word carries more power than we realize. Not something that God wants to hear. Choose to have faith anyway. Lesson three. Obey. Choose to do the right thing even if you do not quite understand what is going on or may feel a bit of doubt in your flesh. Watch what comes out of your mouth (or fingertips also, for us today). Did I miss anything? Comments? I can almost feel a fourth lesson there, but can't quite put my finger on it at this time. I must need more coffee, lol.