Sunday, December 18, 2011

Devotion 18: Mary Confessed: God Kept His Promise.
After hearing Elizabeth’s Holy Spirit inspired praise, Mary erupted into praise to God. Talk about a praise service, these two women, one young and one old, celebrated the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord together.
Mary’s praise is sometimes called “The Song of Mary”, but is also known as the Magnificat. I like to call it “Mary’s Song of Praise”. I want to focus on the last sentence:
He has helped his servant Israel
In remembrance of his mercy
As he spoke to our fathers
To Abraham and to his offspring forever.
Mary was quite the little theologian. Upon hearing the angel tell her she would bear the Messiah and hearing Elizabeth confess him as her Lord, Mary thought of the promise that God would again have mercy on Israel.
Psalm 98:3 says “He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel”. Several times God judged Israel with defeat to their enemies. Then he would restore them when they repented.
God ultimately sent Israel and Judah into captivity. The last remnant was carried off to Babylon and the city destroyed. The king was put in prison. Many were executed. Then, in the time of Daniel, Babylon fell to Persia and Cyrus sent the Jews home. They worked to rebuild their city and God’s house. It never reclaimed its former glory, however. No Israelite king took the throne again. Israel existed, but under the rule of foreigners. The Persians, the Greeks and the Romans and their designees all ruled Israel. When the temple was restored, the king was not actually Jewish at all and certainly not Davidic. The Jews longed for the Messiah to return their kingdom. They longed for God’s favor.
The prophet Micah prophesied the returned favor of the Lord. Micah 7:20 says:
You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and steadfast love to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our fathers
from the days of old.
The Lord expressed favor by sending his son. The Son did not come that first time to establish an earthly kingdom in the sense that Israel would again be a world power and throw off the rule of the Romans. Instead his kingdom would be his rule in the hearts of those who believed in him. He preached that the kingdom was at hand and that it was within them. When he comes the 2nd time, he will establish his kingdom and rule on the new earth. But the favor of the Lord still came in the form of salvation.
Mary’s mind also went back to Abraham. God made a promise to Abraham thousands of years before. God told Abraham “in you all the families on earth shall be blessed. (Genesis 12:4). Mary realized the time had come. This Messiah, this savior, would not restrict salvation to Jerusalem or Judea. His mission was much greater. He would extend God’s expression of favor, his salvation, over the whole face of the earth. God said:
It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)
Christ would do what Adam failed to do. He would do what Israel failed to do. He would fulfill the promise to Abraham blessing all the families of earth.
God always keeps his promise.
And salvation is the greatest promise of all.
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