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When the angel of the Lord
told him he would have a son, Zechariah doubted the prophecy. It was impossible,
Zechariah thought, for an old man and a barren woman to have a son. After
50 + years of disappointment, perhaps I'd doubt too.
After he expressed his doubt,
Zechariah was speechless.
Literally, Zechariah was
speechless. "And now, since you didn't believe what I said, you won't
be able to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly come
true at the proper time." Luke 1:20 NLT
I don't know what constitutes
the greater miracle, an elderly woman having a baby or preacher being quiet
for nine months. Though I have no experience having a baby, I did have
a time in my life when I couldn't speak. It was a humbling experience.
Drive-through windows were
the absolute worst. Occasionally, I got a chuckle out of my disability.
I wrote the name of a person I wanted to visit on my note pad and showed
it to hospital pink-lady to get a room number. The kind woman slanted her
head and asked, "Can you hear me?" Of course I could hear, but
I couldn't speak to tell her, I had to write "yes" on the pad.
Notice that Zechariah's friends
did the same thing when Elizabeth followed the Angel's instructions to
name her baby "John."
"What?" they exclaimed.
"There is no one in all your family by that name."  So they
asked the baby's father, communicating to him by making gestures. 
He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone's surprise he wrote,
"His name is John!"  Instantly Zechariah could speak again,
and he began praising God. Luke 1:61-64 NLT
Did he praise God because
he could speak, or did he speak because he could praise God? This isn't
a "chicken or egg" type of question. Think about it. A man communicating
with a pencil and tablet doesn't even try to speak. Apparently, his praise
erupted and burst through a cold heart and sealed lips and flowed to the
Glory of God.