God's 'no' will always protect His 'yes'

One of my favorite scripture passages is Luke chapter 1. Almost every time I’ve read this chapter, I get a new life lesson from it that encourages me or strengthens my faith. In this chapter we are reminded that with God nothing will be impossible (vs 37) and that we are blessed when we believe God’s promises, because what He says WILL come to pass—EVERY TIME (vs 45).

In this chapter we also meet a man named Zacharias. Zacharias wasn’t just any man though. Scripture describes him as a priest who was a legit righteous man who did everything God instructed him to do and was blameless in God’s eyes, and so was his wife (vs 5-6). What a power couple! But they were childless, because Elizabeth couldn’t have children, and they were both old. And they like most couples wanted a child (or children) of their own. From this scripture we can assume that they had prayed for a child for years, but still could not conceive (vs 13 and 7). Remember, they were blameless before God—but still their prayers hadn’t been answered (as they would have liked) FOR YEARS     .

Then one day, God sent an angel to tell Zacharias that his prayer was heard by God and that his wife was about to get pregnant! Instead of responding in faith with excitement and joyful praise—as we would expect from this righteous priest—he totally doubts God’s promise!

Now before we’re quick to judge, lets put ourselves in Zacharias’ shoes. After YEARS of seemingly unanswered prayers, and probably disappointment and discouragement along the way, God now promises to give them their request… and not only that but foretells of the amazing things that his son will do. This was a message that seemed [way] too good to be true. All those years, when it seemed, God answered ‘no,’ He now promised Zacharias the very thing he and his wife prayed for all those years. God’s ‘no’ in times past protected His yes to Zacharias at that very moment.

It turns out God stuck to His promise (as He always does) and when Zacharias went home after his priestly service in the temple, his wife conceived and nine months later they had a bouncing baby boy!

May we learn from Zacharias’ example:

  1. Even if it seems to be taking long, keep praying about it. Keep placing that thing before God. He hears and will respond at the right time.
  2. Even if God says ‘no’ to one request, at one time, in one season, His ‘no’ is for good reason and will protect His ‘yes’—which is always the best for us anyway.
  3. No matter how righteous we are in God’s eyes (because of Jesus that is), we’re still human and we may doubt or question. This in no way justifies doubt because what is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). But God gives us grace for those moments, and we must quickly release that doubt to grip onto faith in God and what He said.
  4. Doubting God always produces unwanted consequences. Because of Zacharias’ unbelief he was unable to speak for the entire 9 months of his wife’s pregnancy. May we avoid these altogether and just believe God from the beginning.
  5. Even Christians go through challenges and difficulties in life, irrespective of whether or not we are blameless before God. But through those challenges and difficulties God’s power is revealed and our faith is strengthened.
  6. God’s word will always come to pass, no matter how long it may seem to take.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am our God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10