God doesn’t deliver our tongues because the Word says it is untamable and a restless evil that is set on fire by hell itself. Rather, God delivers the heart so that it will be pure; therefore all that comes out from it and passes through the tongue will be pure. A mark of the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives is a tongue that is steered by God’s character.

Here is an example of the power of words over our children’s lives, even while they are in the womb. Consider Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. An angel of the Lord came to visit him and it scared him when he popped into the Sanctuary – so bad that the angel had to reassure him not to be afraid.

[Luke 1:11-13] 11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer … (NLT)

The angel told him that God has answered his prayer to have a child and that his wife would bear a son named John. It was everything Zachariah was asking for – and the angel told of what his son would do, which was a marvelous thing.

[Luke 1:13-17] 13 … Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (NLT)

Yet Zachariah doubted and questioned the angel despite the supernatural visitation and all the other key indicators that this was God.

[Luke 1:18] Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” (NLT)

(I wonder if Zechariah had read about Sara in the Scriptures!) The angel told him that because he doubted and did not believe what he said, he would be unable to speak until after the child was born.

[Luke 1:19-20] 19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” (NLT)

Then, as soon as the child was named after birth, Zachariah could speak again and the very first thing he spoke was a prophetic word over his son John – the pure and wholesome will of God over his life and all the great things he would do.

[Luke 1:76-79] 76 “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. 77 You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. 78 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (NLT)

I would strongly suggest that we consider the reason for this judgment of silence having to do with the power of words. If Zachariah was willing to doubt the supernatural presence of Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, who was giving him the answer to one of his most important and desperate prayers – what else would he be willing to doubt and not believe? I would say that he would even doubt the calling upon his son’s life – and what better way to hinder and bind up someone’s destiny than the destructive words of a father that are contrary to God’s will over their child’s life?

The reason I suggest this is because the very first thing Zachariah was able to speak was the foundational words of affirmation and truth (from God) over John’s life. Why go this far if words were unimportant? Wouldn’t it have been enough to simply let him speak anything he wished after the child was born? But no… the purpose of the judgment was because of the words spoken – it was just as important when he spoke words of doubt as it was when God used his mouthpiece to speak words of life over John the Baptist. It’s almost as if God was enacting an insurance policy over John’s life preventing his father from speaking any negative words over him while in the womb!

Words have power, this was emphasized in the Bible and is still true today. We have to be careful what we speak to anyone – especially our children. The words of a mother and father can either build them up to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives, or tear them down and give access for the enemy to use them as vessels for his purposes. Parent’s often complain about how their children are turning out in life – but the first question that needs to be asked is: What part of this am I accountable for, and what can I begin to do to work with God to correct these issues?