The other morning I woke up with such a loud, clear, and burning word in my spirit. I know it was for me as well as for many others the Lord is speaking to in this season, so I pray the word blesses all those it was meant for.
I woke up with the following words ringing loudly in my spirit:
“Go back! Go back! I will restore what you have lost, but you must go back!”
There was a sense of urgency. Then I saw the name Zechariah in my mind…
I immediately knew the main meaning of what God was trying to say, but I also knew there was something deeper within the story of Zechariah I needed to look at in order to get the full picture. So I picked up my Bible and flipped to Luke chapter 1 where we read the story about Zecharaiah’s encounter with an angel.
If you don’t remember, Zechariah was Jesus’ uncle. He was a priest in the temple of God and he was married to Elizabeth. They were an older couple and Elizabeth was barren, so they didn’t have any children. So one day, Zechariah is in the temple and gets a visit from the angel Gabriel, who tells him that he’s going to have a son who will be a prophet preparing the way of the Lord. Gabriel proceeds to give Zechariah instructions on how to raise him and even instructs him what to name him – John.
I suppose if any one of us got a visitation from an angel like that, it would be natural of us to have quite a few question….but Zechariah voices not just innocent questions, but doubt. Read what happens:
‘And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” ‘ Luke 1:18-20
The first thing that strikes me about this whole situation is the fact than an ANGEL showed up (and it was Gabriel, an archangel no less!!) and Zechariah instantly doesn’t believe anything he says. Like what?? Really?? Are you serious?? He’s an ANGEL!!! You think God’s going to send one of his HIGHEST angels to little ole’ you just to LIE to you?! COME ON DUDE, where’s your head?! But apparently that’s exactly what Zechariah did because the text doesn’t just say that he questioned the angel, it says he did not believe the angel’s words.
So because he heard these great promises and instructions from the Lord and instantly wrote them off, the Lord closed his mouth and didn’t allow him to speak until those promises were fulfilled. Zechariah lost his ability to speak because of his unbelief, and that’s the second thing I felt God highlighting to me. When God speaks to us, we absolutely must understand that His words are the SAME thing as He Himself. The words that come from God are TRUTH and REALITY – much unlike with man.
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ‘ John 1:1
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19
So when God says something, that means it is true in the truest sense of the word. So when we listen to God and write off what He says, we are rejecting God Himself because God IS His word. So when Zechariah immediately wrote off what the angel said, the angel took his voice – not just because he had questions, but because he did not believe what he heard.
The third thing I saw in this story is that even though there were consequences to Zechariah’s rejection of God’s word (which is to say of God himself) – they were not permanent consequences. God didn’t take away his voice for all time to punish him, He took it away until a very particular time, in order to show Him how serious He is about His word. And this is what I feel like the Lord was trying to show me in this story…that the consequences were not “punishment” nor were they permanent. They were to show Zechariah the seriousness of God’s word and they were only in place until a particular time.
As we continue to read, we see that Elizabeth did, in fact, get pregnant and give birth to a son. And I’m sure Zechariah realized the angel was telling the truth as soon as his old, barren wife conceived, but that was not the time his voice was restored. I’m sure Zechariah was very humbled and repentant of his disbelief by the time his son was born too, but that was not the event where his voice was restored. See, at that time, it was tradition to name children after their father’s name. Family names were big, and nobody in that family was named John. So when Elizabeth said they were going to name him John, everyone was confused!! So they turned to Zechariah and because he couldn’t speak, Zechariah wrote on a tablet “his name will be John.” And THAT is when his voice was restored!
Did you catch that?!
It wasn’t when Zechariah realized he was wrong that his voice was restored, because that happened almost immediately. But it was when Zechariah expressed his faith in the same place he had previous disbelieved…it was when he followed through on what the angel had already told him that his voice was restored.
Zechariah had to go back and believe what the angel had already told him before his voice was restored. Zechariah had to go back and demonstrate his faith in the same place he failed before. He had to put his trust in God’s word OVER his own human reasoning AND the expectations of others. So as soon as Zechariah told everyone “his name will be John” (choosing to follow what God has already said)…THAT is when his voice was restored.
So my question is this. What has God told you or showed you that you did not believe? Or that, as time has passed, your belief has waned? What has God already said to you that you dismissed or thought “that’s impossible”? That’s exactly what God is telling you to “Go back” to! He means “Go back to what I’ve already told you and that you didn’t believe”. So I challenge you now to back to what God has said to you in the past, what He has promised you, what He has showed you!? Look for the areas and places where your heart has written Him off or doubted. And this time…BELIEVE HIM. And not just in the sense that you admit you were wrong and God was right…because that’s not going to get back the things you lost from that disbelief. But if God told you to do something…go DO IT NOW and see the Lord restore what you lost. If He told you something that you wrote off in disbelief or doubt, BELIEVE IT NOW and the Lord will restore all you’ve lost through your disbelief.
That is what He meant when He said:
“Go back! Go back! I will restore what you have lost, but you must go back!”
There are things we have lost because of our unbelief. But God has not punished us or left us without these gifts. He is holding onto them and just waiting for our faith and actions to be in alignment with Him and HIS WORD so that he can restore those gifts to us. And He WANTS to return them to us just as He was waiting on Zechariah’s faith to restore his voice. And He is saying now, “all you have to do is go back!”
Oh Jesus, I am so sorry for my lack of faith. I’m so sorry for the times you have showed me great and wonderful things and I have immediately thought “that’s impossible.” For I know that what is impossible with man, is totally possible with you. I know there is nothing impossible for you, Lord. And I know that when you SPEAK a thing, it simply IS. So I go back to the places of my disbelief and now align myself with you. I don’t have to understand it, I don’t have to “see” how it’ll happen or work out, for you proclaim the end of a thing from the beginning. I simply know that it WILL work out because you SAID it and your word is truth. And in the places where my heart still holds doubt, I pray ‘Lord, help my unbelief’ for even belief is an act of your strength and not my own. Thank you for your forgiveness, grace, and love, Jesus. Amen.
‘ I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.’ Joel 2:25
‘For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. ‘ 2 Corinthians 1:20
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”