Psalm of the Day: Psalm 9
Proverb of the Day: Proverbs 6:1-19
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:18-25
We see in this passage, the power of unbelief in a holy man. As righteous and holy as Zachariah was — the announcement of the angel appeared unbelievable to him. He could not think it possible that an old man like himself could have a son. "How shall I know this?" he says, "for I am an old man, and my wife well along in years."
A well-instructed Jew, like Zachariah, ought not to have raised such a question. No doubt he was well acquainted with the Old Testament Scriptures. He ought to have remembered the astonishing births of Isaac, and Samson, and Samuel in old times. He ought to have remembered that what God has done once — He can do again; and that with Him, nothing is impossible. But he forgot all this. He thought of nothing but the arguments of mere human reasoning. In the same way, it often happens in religious matters, that where human reasoning begins — faith ends.
Let us learn in wisdom from the fault of Zachariah. It is a fault to which God's people in every age have been sadly liable. The histories of Abraham, and Isaac, and Moses, and Hezekiah, and Jehoshaphat — will all show us that a true believer may sometimes be overtaken by unbelief.
Unbelief is one of the first corruptions which came into man's heart in the day of the fall, when Eve believed the devil rather than God. Unbelief is one of the most deep-rooted sins by which a saint is plagued, and from which he is never entirely freed until he dies. Let us pray daily, "Lord increase my faith!" Let us not doubt that when God says a thing — that thing shall be fulfilled.
Few sins appear to be so peculiarly provoking to God, as the sin of unbelief. None certainly have called down such heavy judgments on men. It is a practical denial of God's Almighty power, to doubt whether He can do a thing — when He undertakes to do it. It is giving the lie to God, to doubt whether He means to do a thing, when He has plainly promised that it shall be done. The forty years wanderings of Israel in the wilderness, should never be forgotten by professing Christians. The words of Paul are very solemn, "They could not enter in, because of unbelief!" (Hebrews 3:19.)
Let us watch and pray daily against this soul-ruining sin of unbelief. Concessions to it — rob believers of their inward peace — weaken their hands in the day of battle — bring clouds over their hopes — and make their chariot wheels drive heavily. According to the degree of our faith will be — our enjoyment of Christ's salvation — our patience in the day of trial — and our victory over the world.
Prayer for the Day: Dear Lord, forgive my unbelief and help me trust you. Increase my faith.
This devotional was taken from The Gospel of Luke by J.C. Ryle published in 1858
and adapted by Pastor Tim Lewis of New England Shores Baptist Church.