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Dec 8th, 2020
Christmas According to Cranky Old Men: Zechariah
By: Will Briggs
2 minute read 

Luke 1:11, 18a While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar… Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen?” (NLT)

It’s been said that a pessimist will never be disappointed. In other words, when we look for the worst we find it. But when we seek the good? We’re more likely to find that, instead. Whether or not Zechariah was a pessimist, we certainly catch him in a moment of pessimism. I mean, who hears a message directly from an angel and then goes, “Are you suuuuure about that?” At some level, his heart had grown hard, calloused.

You see, calluses form as a result of repeated pressure, friction, or irritation. Calluses defend us by thickening our skin in places that need protection. They can also be caused by toxic substances or too much exposure to certain elements. But ultimately, calluses are nothing more than dead skin that forms to protect us in some way.

The condition of a calloused, aggressively-defended heart can cause problems that will overflow into everything else. A heart that’s been hardened in this way will attempt to bring others, angelic messengers included, down into the dirt. 

Like Zechariah, in the face of God’s words, promises, and truth… we sometimes ask God the question, “How can I be sure...?” And just like Gabriel’s reply, the answer is, “God said it!” We’re dealing with the God who keeps His promises. The God who never speaks and then fails to act. The God who speaks things into existence. The God who offers Himself as our protector and provider. The God... who can break through the calloused places in our hearts.

Wherever we’ve been putting up the defensive walls, God whispers His promises, His truth into our ears. Maybe you’ll hear Him when you’re reading the Bible. Or a phrase in the sermon on Sunday will speak clearly. A friend might share the real, unfiltered truth. Or you may even encounter the still, small voice—God’s gentle whisper—tugging persistently at your heart and your thoughts. God wants to intervene. To be involved. To help. To transform, heal, restore.

When God says He will… you can be sure it will happen. Haven’t heard Him lately? Start in the places mentioned above: His word, prayer, worship, connection. What promises do you need to determine in your heart and mind to cling to today?