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Gift of the Tongue

This article is based on the song of Zacharias, which is found in Luke 1:67–79. 

It is estimated that the average person speaks about seven thousand words in a single day.1 Now imagine not being able to speak at all for a whole nine months. This would equal out to well over a million words that one would not be able to speak in that time frame! This was what Zacharias had to endure while his wife was pregnant with their son, John the Baptist. He could not comfort his aged pregnant wife with words. He could not talk to her about the glory of being able to speak with the angel Gabriel while he was in the temple. He had to watch all of this while having his tongue tied because he did not have the strength of faith to believe in God’s promise of a son to him in his old age. 

What a fantastic event for Zacharias when he was able to see his son and write that the baby’s name must be John! His tongue was immediately loosed, and one of the first things he did was to glorify God through a song. Instead of cursing God for making his tongue tied, he immediately blessed the Lord God of Israel. This in and of itself can serve as a fine example to us. Let us watch our tongues as closely as Zacharias did. He praised God for giving his people the promise of salvation from their sins. He acclaimed the greatness of God for providing the “horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David” that we might be able to serve him with no fear of the enemy. 

The song of Zacharias found at the end of Luke 1 relates to Christ’s birth, which we will be celebrating this month. Zacharias spoke of the oath of salvation that God made with his servant Abraham. The people of God were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Savior associated with this promise. They had waited over four thousand years for this promise of God to be fulfilled. They had first heard it made to Adam, then to Abraham, and then to all Israel by the Old Testament prophets. Over and over again, these servants of the Lord had proclaimed the promise of the coming of Messiah. The joy of the people must have been unimaginable as they learned from the forerunner, John the Baptist, that the long-awaited Christ was coming! 

The joy of Christ to the people in that day is a joy that we celebrate today as well. Imagine your life without Jesus. No hope of salvation. No real joy. No real love. We need to speak of the many blessings of Jesus coming down to this earth through his work of salvation. We must not be tongue-tied like Zacharias was. Zacharias says in Luke 1:74, “That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear.” No matter how daunting coworkers may seem, no matter how much peer pressure may scare us, let us never be quiet about the work of Christ while on this earth. Jesus is the greatest gift that we can ever receive. No matter how fantastic that new iPhone, Samsung, or other technology may seem to be, Jesus is the greatest gift.  

Zacharias also spoke of the “tender mercy of our God,” which can be seen in no greater way than when he sent his only begotten Son into this world filled with sin. Jesus is the light of the world. This is such an encouragement to us as we live in the end times when the world is continuing to fill its dark cup of iniquity. We have the Savior, the one who can lead us through all the troubles of our time. The one who loves us endlessly. Let us thank God for that lovely gift of salvation as we celebrate Christ entering the world! 

Undoubtedly Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost while he sang. This is evident because Zacharias spoke mostly of the wonders of the promised Messiah rather than the wonders of his own son, who had just been born as a miracle to him and Elisabeth in their old age. This, too, can serve as a lesson for us. We can be very tempted to focus on ourselves during this time of year as we anticipate the giving and receiving of gifts. At the end of his song, Zacharias does speak of how God would use his son John to announce the arrival of Christ. John the Baptist had a great task of giving the people the knowledge of Christ and the salvation that he would bring to his people. Like his father, John constantly turned the people toward Christ. May we also do this as we speak to others around us. 

The song of Zacharias may not be very well known to all of us, but oh how delightful it is! From not being able to speak, to singing of the marvelous works that Christ would do while on the earth, Zacharias set a great example for us all. Give all the glory to God and his Son Jesus Christ during this season of the year!  

Ellie is a graduate of Trinity Christian High and now works in the farm equipment retail business. She is a member of Doon Protestant Reformed Church.