Most Christians pray to God with many requests like having a huge grocery list. Praying without doubting is important for receiving from God. That’s fine while praying. As time goes by, many even forget their prayer requests but we worship a God who listens to all our prayers and remembers them. When God is answering your prayer request, and if you don’t believe in it, God will punish you. Hence, be careful what you ask for, and make sure you hold on to it and never doubt until you get it. In this post, we will explore some of the punishments for people’s unbelief while God is answering their prayers.
Zacharias punishment of Muteness
John means Yahweh-favored and Jesus means Yahweh saves. Comparing the birth prophecies of both John and Jesus teaches us some important lessons about prayer, faith, grace and punishment.
|Prophecy of John||Prophecy of Jesus|
|Prayer of Zacharias was heard
Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard;
|Mary found favor with God
Luke 1:28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” … (30) Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
Luke 1:34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
Luke 1:19-20 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
Luke 1:35-37 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Mary found favor with God and He is giving a divine task to her. However, in case of Zacharias, God is responding to his prayer. While both Mary and Zacharias doubt the prophecy due to their inability, only Zacharias was punished with muteness. While there are many lessons we can learn by comparing the two prophecies, one of the important lesson we must learn is that, God punishes us for our unbelief if we fail to believe when He actually answers our prayers.
Officer’s punishment of death
2Kgs 6:33 And while he was still talking with them, there was the messenger, coming down to him; and then the king said, “Surely this calamity is from the LORD; why should I wait for the LORD any longer?” …. 2 Kgs 7:1-2 Then Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the LORD: ‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’ So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, “Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he said, “In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” … (17) Now the king had appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. But the people trampled him in the gate, and he died, just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him.
In the above story, the officer on whose hand the king leaned witnessed all calamity happening in Samaria and also God answering the plea and rescuing the horrible situation. Yet, the officer did not believe when God was actually answering. The punishment for his unbelief is that he will witness God providing food for His people, yet he cannot eat of it.
Moses denied entry to promised land
Num 20:6-12 So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”
Long story short, there was no water for the congregation. Moses and Aaron went to the LORD and the LORD answered their prayers by asking Moses to speak to the rock. But Moses did not believe that speaking to the rock will bring water. So he struck the rock twice with his rod. As you can see, not believing in God when He is answering our prayers comes with a great punishment. Even Moses is no exception.
If someone who needs some help calls us. We sort out a few other things and begin to help him. Then, if the person who called for help says, I don’t think you are helping me, will we have any interest in helping him? If we who are created in the image of God feel this way, how much more will the Heavenly Father feel when we don’t believe while He is answering our prayers.