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Bible Study for May 8: Redeemed from Crippling Doubt

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Luke 1:11-20; 63-65

Alan Hall, associational missionary

Mulberry Baptist Association

Where did you hear that? On the internet? Oh,  it must be true if it’s on the internet. Take this and you will lose 50 pounds. Take this and you will be healthy. Use this and you will look like a movie star.

There are a lot of fantastic claims these days. Do you suppose all of the campaign promises we have heard lately will be fulfilled? No wonder people are so skeptical, doubtful, and a little bit cynical. Who or what can we trust?

The answer is: God’s Word can be fully trusted! God is like no other – He is trustworthy and true. But when we doubt Him our lives hit a roadblock. There are great blessings and benefits to believing and following God’s Word.

While both Matthew and Luke detail the birth of Jesus, the Gospel of Luke is the only Gospel that details the birth of John the Baptist. Luke introduces Zechariah and Elizabeth, a godly and elderly couple from the line of Aaron who were childless because Elizabeth could not conceive (Luke 1:5‐7). The angel Gabriel is sent by God to announce to Zechariah that he and Elizabeth would be blessed with a son. Zechariah is doubtful of such good news in light of his circumstances.

God’s Word is Sure – Luke 1:11‐17

God’s love is powerful and His Word is sure. It is amazing to know that God has a purpose and plan for your life. Zechariah, a priest, was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar in front of the holy of holies. It was literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; an opportunity that most priests never had. Yet, God has Zechariah in this special place to receive a special message at just the right time.

Perhaps you can recall someone inviting you to church where you heard the Gospel and received Christ as Savior. That happened because God loves you and is at work in your life. Zechariah didn’t hear a preacher but the angel of the Lord appeared. To Zechariah a sure message is delivered – your prayer has been answered. Notice it says "you will" and "he will" is repeated several times.

The language is sure ... no "maybe’s" or "might be’s." It had been prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6 that one like Elijah would come. John was to be that one. God will do what He says He will do.

Doubt Hinders our Walk and Service – Luke 1:18‐20

Zechariah just can’t seem to believe it. While the message was clearly given it was not clearly received. It just didn’t fit with Zechariah’s life situation.

Do you recall situations in Scripture where something similar happened? What about a situation in your life? I am certain that all pastors and Bible study leaders either have said or wanted to say what Gabriel said, “Now Listen!”

Zechariah is in a unique place and receives an answer to prayer – something he should have received, yet he doubts. As a result he is informed he will lose the ability to speak. His doubt hindered his walk and service just as it will hinder ours. Even though we may not lose our voice physically we can lose our voice spiritually by losing passion and effectiveness when hindered by doubt. It is crippling when we aren’t fully trusting God.

Trust and Obey – Luke 1:63‐65

The baby is born and Zechariah writes his name: John. This was as Zechariah was told by Gabriel in the message from God. When Zechariah obeys immediately his mouth is opened and his tongue set free! Obedience brings blessings. It leads to joy and praise, so Zechariah began to speak, praising God.

I can hear you humming it now just as I am – When we walk with the Lord, In the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way, While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey ...

Trust and obey

for there’s no other way

to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey!

Doubt is crippling to our service for the Lord. It seems in our present culture the church is very quiet. Have we lost our voice? We can be redeemed as we trust and obey. The words to the hymn above provide a good checkup: 
Are we walking with the Lord?

Are we in His Word? 
How is God demonstrating His glory? Is it His will or ours being done?
 Are we relying on His power?

Trust and Obey. He is faithful!

Bible Study, devotion, doubt, redemption, Sunday School

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