Luke 1 (5)
Pray Psalm 143.1, 2.
Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.
Sing Psalm 143.1, 2.
(Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Hear my earnest prayer, O Lord! Give ear to my pleas for grace!
In Your faithfulness and righteousness, look upon me with Your face!
Enter not to judgment with Your servant, Lord,
with Your loving servant, Lord: None can stand before Your Word.
Read Luke 1.1-56; meditate on verses 39-56.
1. What happened when Mary greeted Elizabeth?
2. Why did Mary praise the Lord?
Mary must have understood that her neighbors would never believe her story about a divine conception. So she went into seclusion with her relatives for three months (vv. 39-45, 56). By His Spirit, springing up within and overflowing to fill Elizabeth, God confirmed to both women that He was at work in their lives (vv. 41-44). Can you imagine the joy of this moment?
Mary, too, is obviously filled with the Spirit, as she breaks forth in a spontaneous song of praise to God. Note the greatness of Mary: She praises God not for what He has done for her, His lowly maidservant (v. 48), though she gives thanks for His grace. Her focus is on what God is doing for His people, in fulfillment of all He has spoken and promised in the past (vv. 50-56). She understands that the birth of her Son will mean the fulfillment of the covenant long ago spoken to His people. God is faithful. God keeps His Word. “Like He said,” Mary sings, and urges us to join her in believing the Word and promises of the Lord (v. 45).
A further observation concerning the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit springs up with life in the Presence of Jesus. How can we know more of the vitality, fruit, gifts, and power of the Spirit? By being more often in the Presence of Jesus. The meeting of Mary and Elizabeth encourages us to meditation, prayer, singing, waiting on the Lord, and straining with the eye of faith to see through the veil into His holy throne room. We can stimulate one another to love and good works as we come in the fullness of Jesus to encourage, assist, share with, and care for one another. And as the Spirit leaps in those to whom we bring Jesus, He will overflow to us, and thus glorious streams of grace and truth will engulf and lift us to greater heights of knowing the Lord.
Let us bring Jesus to one another, and the Spirit will rejoice in us, fill us, and overflow from us with the rich blessings of God’s covenant. Just as God said.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
God majors in the majestic and the magnificent. He is the Creator of all the earth. And He loves to do things outside the boundaries of what is expected. Both Elizabeth and Mary experienced exceptional pregnancies. And both John and Jesus were extraordinary children. Both women, is the mindset of Habakkuk, looked at their lives through God’s eyes and perspective. Habakkuk stated that even if all his life was a struggle of poverty and disappointment “yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3.18). Because he knew Who God was and believed that all things are possible with Him (Lk. 1.37).
David wrote amidst troubles, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Ps. 34.1-3).
Elizabeth and Mary believed the promises of God: “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them” (Ps. 103.17, 18).
“Let Israel now say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’
Let the house of Aaron now say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’” (Ps. 118.2, 3).
Mary was a relative of Elizabeth (Lk. 1.5) who was of the daughters of Aaron. Aaron was of the house of Levi, as was Moses his brother (Ex. 2.1; 4.14). Aaron was the priest of the tabernacle (Ex. 39.41). Moses was the Lawgiver (Ex. 24.12). Mary was also of the house of David. Thus, besides having God as His Father, Jesus’ lineage included kings, priests (indirectly), and the Law. This birth was not an afterthought but is The Hinge upon which all of life and history hangs.
Elizabeth believed God. Mary believed God. And we who believe God are part of this construct. As Mary inclusively stated, “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Lk. 1.49, 50).
We, too, are participants in a majestic and magnificent miracle—that of our salvation. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8.1). So, we join our voices of praise with all believers—past, present, and future: “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Ps. 34.3).
1. How have you experienced God fulfilling the promises of His Word to you?
2. What “majestic and magnificent” things are you expecting God to do in your life?
3. Whom will you encourage today to believe God and His Word?
You see that Mary did not doubt but believed and therefore obtained the fruit of faith. “Blessed … are you who have believed.” But you also are blessed who have heard and believed. For a soul that has believed has both conceived and bears the Word of God and declares his works. Let the soul of Mary be in each of you, so that it magnifies the Lord. Let the spirit of Mary be in each of you, so that it rejoices in God. Ambrose of Milan (333-397), Exposition of the Gospel of Luke 2.26
Pray Psalm 143.7-12.
Call on the Lord to show you how He wants you to serve Him today, to guard you from the enemy of your soul, teach you His will, and bring revival to your soul.
Sing Psalm 143.7-12.
(Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Answer quickly, O my Lord! Do not hide from me Your face!
For my spirit fails and I am like those who do not know Your grace.
In the morning let me hear Your steadfast love;
Lord I trust You, show my way! I lift up my soul and pray!
Rescue me from all my enemies! Lord, I refuge seek in You.
Let me know Your will, O Lord my God; make me know what I must do.
Let Your Spirit lead me on to level ground;
save my life! Preserve my soul! Rescue, Lord, and make me whole!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.