Saturday, December 19, 2015

She who believed

And blessed (happy, to be envied) is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her from the Lord. Luke 1:45 AMP

As I re-read the story of Jesus birth my thoughts turn to Mary and how the whole "event" would have been for her. Starting with the visit from the angel Gabriel telling her that she will become pregnant, but not by 'normal' means. How trusting is she when she replies to the angel,

Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. Luke 1:38 AMP

The Message bible puts it this way,

And Mary said, Yes, I see it all now: I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.  Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38 The Message

I wonder if I had been Mary, would I have had the trust to listen and the faith to believe what the angel said? How different was her response to Zachariah who had had a visit from the angel Gabriel a few months before? When Gabriel told Zachariah that his elderly wife Elizabeth will bear a son, Zachariah replied,

By what shall I know and be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.
Luke 1:18 AMP

He doubts and questions Gabriel's message and authority. So Gabriel states his authority quite clearly,

And the angel replied to him, I am Gabriel. I stand in the [very] presence of God, and I have been sent to talk to you and to bring you this good news. Luke 1:19 AMP

And furthermore the angel Gabriel gifts Zachariah with the opportunity to be silent and ponder more on who God is and what He is doing.

Now behold, you will be and will continue to be silent and not able to speak till the day when these things take place, because you have not believed what I told you; but my words are of a kind which will be fulfilled in the appointed and proper time. Luke 1:20 AMP

What a contrast to Mary, who, although initially afraid of the angel, was ready to believe and ready to serve. It makes me wonder what sort of relationship she had with God before this visitation. We know that Zachariah was serving as a priest. But we know little of Mary's background, other than she was a girl who had never been married and she was a virgin. However, when we read her response to Elizabeth, Zachariah's wife, we can see she had a great understanding of God and His heart, purpose and love.

And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, for He has looked upon the low station and humiliation of His handmaiden. For behold, from now on all generations [of all ages] will call me blessed and declare me happy and to be envied!

For He Who is almighty has done great things for me - and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]! And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age. 

He has shown strength and made might with His arm; He has scattered the proud and haughty in and by the imagination and purpose and designs of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree. He has filled and satisfied the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty-handed [without a gift].

He has laid hold of His servant Israel [to help him, to espouse his cause], in remembrance of His mercy, even as He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. Luke 1:46-55 AMP

Question for today, has God spoken to you about something that will come to pass, and are you having difficulty believing what He said? Let's ask God to help us to be more like Mary, to trust Him enough that we can be ready to serve and let God have His way in our lives.

There is one more thing about Mary that I wanted to highlight. It relates to what Mary did (or actually didn't do) when the shepherds came to visit Jesus.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing (saying) that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. So they went with haste and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger.

And when they saw it, they made known what had been told them concerning this Child, and all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart. 
Luke 2:15-19 AMP

Mary heard from God via His angel, she believed what He said, she obeyed Him. She could have shouted the news from the roof tops, as it was very good news! But no, she didn't, rather she showed restraint and wisdom, letting God be in complete control of His plan including His timing and method of communication of this great news. How important was Mary's wisdom when we read of in Matthew, of Herod's plan to destroy Jesus.

So today, let's ask God to give us wisdom when He speaks to us about His plans. Wisdom to know what to share, when to share and to whom to share with. 

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