Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Mary - chosen to raise God's Son
Last time we studied how God looked with favor on Mary because she had the right priorities - she knew that she was a servant of the Almighty, and that nothing was impossible with God.
Another reason that God looked on Mary with favor was that she had a very solid foundation. There is only one true foundation for us, just as there was for Mary: it is God and His Word.
Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? As for
everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into
practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man
building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on
rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could
not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my
words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built
a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the
torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was com-
plete. (Luke 6:46-49)
Here is how we know that Mary had a solid foundation: look back at chapter 1 of Luke, where Mary sings her song. From those nine verses, we can see that she was grounded solidly in God and in His word. There are at least thirty different phrases or words that are truths straight from what we call the Old Testament!
And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices
in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of
his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for
the Mighty One has done great things for me -- holy is His name.
His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to gen-
eration. He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has
scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has
brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the
humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent
the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, remem-
bering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as He promised our ancestors. (Luke 1: 46-55)
Nowadays we might say that Mary "knew the word." She was also someone who was not ashamed of praising her God. She recognized that God is The Mighty One, and that He is holy; His mercy reaches out to those who fear Him, and He fills the hungry with good things.
Mary certainly had a solid foundation. She is an example to all Christians today; for we all have opportunities to influence others for good. It doesn't have to be a child or grandchild; it can be a child in your neighborhood, or at a local church. If we praise God enthusiastically, we plant seeds that will make a difference someday in that child's life. King David knew this, and he wrote plain instructions in Psalm 78, verses 1 through 8.
Turn over there and read that, OK?
We'll wait till you get back.
Ready? Did you notice what David said to do? And why it was important?
Well, it's still important today! Do we hide His word in our hearts? Do we praise Him with enthusiasm? Are our homes built on a solid foundation?
God also chose Mary because He knew her -- He knew her inmost heart. He knew that she would be unrelenting in her protection of His Son. From the very moment that Jesus was born, His life was in danger. Herod was seeking the life of the wee babe, forcing Mary, Joseph, and Jesus to flee into Egypt. Mary protected Jesus from Herod and from many other things that would hurt Him.
We can see that Mary also protected Jesus' identity. Even though Mary knew Who Jesus was, and Who He would become, she didn't go around "spilling the beans" and telling everyone all of the wonderful things she knew about her baby boy. Remember what it says in Luke chapter 2? He writes down the fact that the shepherds told what they had heard and seen. (And they had seen a lot! What would you think if you were out in the yard (pasture) and saw angels and heard them singing?) Then Luke says, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." The words used there are really important . . . what we read as "treasured" means "to preserve a thing from perishing or being lost, to keep within one's self, keep in mind lest a thing be forgotten." And the word we read as "pondered" means "to throw together, bring together in one's mind, to confer with one's self."
So, Mary hid what she knew about Jesus in her heart and protected it. She wanted to preserve these things. And she set them side by side in her mind so that she could compare them and "talk" with herself about them.
There were a great many people who were given brief glimpses of the wonder of the Christ child, like the shepherds, and Anna, whom we studied earlier. But Mary gathered up all these brief shinings of the Light and kept her thoughts to herself. If she had not, Jesus' life could have been in danger a long time before He began His earthly ministry. So she was unrelenting in her protection of Jesus from danger.
Even if we are not mothers, or grandmoms, there are people in our lives that need our protection. Remember when we talked about the "hedge" of protection, the prayers that we pray? This is how we can protect those who need our love and attention. We might not need to guide their hands away from the hot burner on the stove, or tell them not to talk to strangers. But in a very real sense, we need to surround those we love with that wall of prayer, against the wiles of the devil. We can be unrelenting in our protection of our special people, just as Mary was unrelenting in her love and protection of Jesus. Yet another reason why she found favor with the Father.
Tomorrow we'll finish up our study of why God chose her to raise His Son.