Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Ponderings - Magnificat Two

Mary’s worship song takes a turn right after her declaration that “he who is mighty has done great things for me”.  Up to this point Mary was worshipping God remembering all He had done for her.  Now she turns her attention to what God does in general.  The Scripture records go from the first person to the third person.

Mary bookends this part of the song with the theme of God’s mercy.  The names of the bookends extol how God shows His mercy. 

The first bookend is about God’s strength.  Our little GRANDson sings about God’s strength, “our God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing our God cannot do”.  The words of that child’s song challenge me.  Do I really believe there is nothing my God cannot do?  I’m living with several unanswered prayers.  It causes me to wonder if God really can do ANYthing.  That thought leads me into Mary's second comment about the proud.

Am I so arrogant or proud as to think that I know the best way for God to answer my prayers?  A few years ago I was listening to a missionary report.  The missionary was telling us about a pastor in the persecuted church who had asked that we NOT pray FOR him, but that we pray WITH him.  His greatest desire was for the advance of the gospel in his country.  Other things like the persecution he lived with was not as important.  My prayers might be asking for lesser things.

Mary's third comment is another aspect of pride.  God brings down the mighty and He exalts the humble.  Mary is thinking about a lot of history as she sings this verse.  But this verse is not just history.  God still is doing this.  And I’m thankful … at least after a while.  I’m thankful for my friend who recently questioned my thinking on a particular scripture passage.  I had cross references lined up to support my proud thought.  As I pondered her question, I came to the conclusion that I really don’t know exactly what God means by this passage.  I need to be humble.  I may not be right!  It was good to admit that to her.

Mary's fourth comment reminds us about how God is able to fill the hungry and deal with the rich.  This contrast tells me that God is the provider and the great equalizer.  He is faithful.  He will meet our needs.  Because of being career missionaries this concept is very real.  Bill and I have no guaranteed salary.  Over the years we have seen God provide faithfully for us.  As a wedding gift one of our friends made a calligraphy print of part of Psalm 84:11 for us.  “… no good thing does the Lord withhold …”.  We have prayed that scripture for the last 38 years.  God is faithful. 

Her last comment is about how God has helped his servant Israel.  God is still in the business of helping.  I’m experiencing that as God answers my almost daily prayer, “God, what would it look like to trust You today?”  I need His help daily. 

And Mary leads us back to the topic of mercy, the bookend. 

These are heavy comments.  Two bookends are needed.  The other bookend that is supporting the mercy bookends is the generation bookend.  Verse 50, “And his mercy is ... from generation to generation”.  Verse 55, “as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”  As an adopted child of my heavenly Father, I am one of Abraham’s offspring.  Everything that was true about God for Abraham is true about God for me and for my children and grandchildren and for all the future generations of the children of God.  What an incredible God!

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8

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