Summary: This passage illustrates how dangerous it can be to doubt God’s promises.
WHEREBY SHALL I KNOW THIS?
INTRO. Isn’t it amazing that there are events in past history that we accept without question as having happened in a most marvelous way but should the same thing happen to us we would be inclined to doubt! Zach. Is an old man and his wife has been barren these many years but they have not ceased to pray that God would give them a child. And why shouldn’t their prayer be answered? Hannah prayed a like prayer and gave birth to Samuel. Abrah. & Sarah were blessed with Isaac in their old age. The life of men is a life of waiting: as children we wait to grow up - then we wait for graduation - first paycheck - car - a mate - kids - home - retirement - old age - and finally death. A few people may spend their whole life telling others that something wonderful is coming, something that will change the whole course of the world and mankind. They study it, they pray for it, they preach it. Such was Zach. And then when God comes and says you are going to be a part of that happening, well, we question, "How can this be? How can you use me, answer my prayers, do all the things I have always said you could do, for I am old. I doubt you Lord so tell me, how shall I know that what you say is the truth?"
I. YOU SHALL KNOW IT BY GOD’S WORD.
Mal. 4:5-6a (also Mark 9:11-13 and Matt. 11:11-14)
A. God’s Word is sure. (Isa. 40:3) - "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
1. Surely this priest was a man of the Book! He surely knew the promise of Psalm 37 - "Delight thyself also in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." His life had been dedicated to God from his birth for he was Levite (Lk. 1:5-7).
2. ( the conversation between the angel and Zach.) **note the promises here in the "shalls".
3. God is going to fulfill His greatest promise in your lifetime and He is going to use you and your wife. Look at the kind of son God is promising you! [How many of us would like to know if our children are going to be successful before they are even conceived!]
4. But the fact he is facing an angel does not seem to overwhelm him...the fact of God’s promise and answer to his prayer does not, ... the fact that he has God’s promise of his son’s success in life does not.
5. His son has a heavenly origin and a biological origin. The wonder of the heavenly does not overwhelm him. What seems to overpower Zach. the most is the natural working of this miracle...not the supernatural.
6. He should never have questioned for he was an expert on God’s written word which had promised this very child for generations. And God’s Word is sure. It works where God intends it to and is not bound nor hampered by old age or biological considerations!
B. God’s Word is Sufficient. II Tim. 3:16-17
1. (Psa. 37:5) - "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and he shall bring it to pass."
2. Men wonder how the universe came to be: God said it and it was done.! God sent the plagues on mighty Egypt and divided the Red Sea for His people. He stopped the sun and moon for Joshua and sent the ravens to feed Elijah in the wilderness.
3. God said it and that should be sufficient for any man’s doubts.
II. YOU SHALL KNOW IT BY GOD’S WORKS. (Lk. 1:20)
A. Again, God had given an example in his Word. This is not unlike what happened to Ezekiel (Ezek. 3:26-27)
1. Angels are very powerful beings and it seems they can be short-tempered when the power of their God is questioned. This one certainly reacted quickly.
2. Notice "glad tidings" = euagglizo - gospel (Vs. 19)
And "thou believest not" (Vs. 20)
B. Zach. Was reprimanded through his own unbelief.
1. Many believe they have the God given right to believe or disbelieve anything they choose. Not so!!
2. King Saul’s rebellion. (I Sam. 15:22-23a)
3. Unbelief in God’s Word brings a reaction in God’s Work. (Text -- vs. 21-25)
C. But Zach. Was released through belief. For as unbelief binds, belief releases. The birth of John. The question of what to name him. Elizabeth’s answer. The call for Zach. His answer. The result in vs. 64
III. YOU SHALL KNOW IT BY GOD’S WONDERS.