Lesson 19—I Speak Up for What God Tells Me
Not speaking Spanish, My husband and I mused over the meaning of words as we drove through Mexico. Back at the hotel, Jim asked a worker the meaning of the word puente. But the man shook his head, not understanding. So Jim verbally spelled the word out for him. The man continued to shake his head and left.
Jim turned around to find me laughing. “What?” he said. “I even spelled it out.”
“Yes,” I replied. “But you spelled it using the English alphabet.”
A big grin spread across Jim’s face. “Maybe I should have spelled louder.”
I love God’s sense of humor. Bananas. Giraffes. Artichokes. I especially love the way God’s humor is sometimes preserved in Scripture. Like here in Luke 1. The angel Gabriel came to Zechariah while he was on duty in the Temple and told him that he and Elizabeth were going to have a son. Zechariah doubted what the angel said:
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
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. 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” (Luke 1:18-20).
So Zechariah couldn’t speak for the next nine months. Everything else apparently worked fine for him physically. He just couldn’t speak. But when the neighbors asked what the baby’s name was to be,
On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment, he wrote, “His name is John” (Luke 1:59-63).
Scripture doesn’t say Zechariah was deaf. He just couldn’t speak. But his neighbors made signs to him as if he couldn’t hear. Maybe if they had spelled out their questions…really loudly…
Commentaries suggest that, as an old man, perhaps Zechariah was naturally hard of hearing. Others suggest that the neighbors had seen him using signs and were merely repeating the same thing back to him. Even others suggest that sometimes deafness and muteness are related and that Zechariah might have been both.
The point of this verse in Scripture though is that when the neighbors planned to name Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son after Zechariah, Elizabeth was the one to speak up. She didn’t hem and haw. She didn’t hesitate. She didn’t think “It’d be nice to name Zechariah’s only son after his father.”
What Elizabeth did was to speak up with what she knew God wanted. God Himself had named the baby. God had informed Zechariah through the angel Gabriel. Zechariah couldn’t speak for God so Elizabeth stepped up and did so. “No! He is to be called John,” she said.
How often do you see the use of an exclamation mark in Scripture? Translations placed an exclamation mark here to indicate the importance of Elizabeth’s statement. The question for us is: When God tells us to do something, do we hesitate? Or do we stand up and speak for God?
If Elizabeth were here she would say this was her story. She spoke up for what she knew God wanted.
Who are we to God? When we understand that Christ is the spiritual leader of our family, we know how God might see His women of faith. We can respond:
I am like Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
- What are some of the things that God tells us in Scripture to do or not do that have become politically incorrect to talk about?
- What are some things that God may be telling you to speak up for or against or about?
- How can you be bolder in speaking God’s truth to others?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for Scripture that tells us how you want us to live. We’re sorry that society today either doesn’t recognize your teachings as truth or doesn’t want to stand up for them. Please give us courage to be bold for you. Help us speak your truth with exclamation points. Amen.