Day 20: The Princes and the Lowly

Luke 1:52 :

He has put down princes from their thrones.
And has exalted the lowly.

A good thing about being poor is that it gives God a lot to work with. When we are feeling rich, it is easy to think we are self-sufficient and able to live life without God. There’s a good proverb that deals with this:

Proverbs 30:8-9 :

Remove far from me falsehood and lies.
Give me neither poverty nor riches.
Feed me with the food that is needful for me;
lest I be full, deny you, and say, ‘Who is Yahweh?’
or lest I be poor, and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

There are evil influences in the world that tend to move us into a place where there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor. We can see from these verses that it has the effect of moving us away from God. The God of the Jews brings people together and doesn’t permit a class system and we read here that God takes a personal interest in making sure that things get evened out.

It doesn’t appear from the Bible that God has given mankind this task and there is a problem when mankind tries to take on this job. It is very complicated; too complicated for us. The words “rich” and “poor” alone are hard to define unless you really understand each individual’s situation. On top of that, it isn’t the riches that define lowliness. A very poor person can be as proud as a king and a very rich man can be humble and recognize that his end is near! An attempt to regulate even the monetary system is so complicated that it has proven to be ineffective, how can we possibly regulate humility? I believe that this partly reveals why Socialism fails. It is a simpler system that attempts to control a complex one that only God knows how to control. Only God knows which “princes” to put down from their thrones and which of the “lowly” need exalting. God knows the heart and He is capable of doing this alone, but if we are so proud that we take the job from Him, then I think we get what we deserve. Instead God has given us a Bible that we can understand. If we respect God and live by the Bible, it makes life work the way it is supposed to.

As Christians we should continue in humility, knowing our correct position in life. We are not gods and instead we have a God that deserves our respect, obedience and worship no matter what our circumstances are. Even if we go through hard times, the Holy Spirit gives us plenty of power to do what is right, which is a truly wonderful gift we have been given. We have been taken from our sinful state and made into the children of God and we can be happy about this whether we are rich or poor.

Day 19: Strong Arm

Luke 1:51 :

He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

Many people today think that Jesus was passive, but there are many real cases in the Bible in which we see that Jesus wasn’t passive at all. It is true that He didn’t come to judge when He came the first time, but He wasn’t passive. If He were, He probably wouldn’t have had so many enemies.

Mary reminds us here that God has a strong arm and He’s not afraid to use it. It is true that God shows mercy to those who respect Him, but He doesn’t just show mercy. God also punishes those who are proud.

I have always found it amazing how God is able to punish our pride by using our own imagination. It isn’t unusual that when I have a proud moment, I am imagining myself to be much bigger than I am and also imagining my circumstances to be much more secure than they really are.

I talk a lot about evolution and how it doesn’t fit with the Bible (even though many try to make to do so). One of the big problems with evolution is that it really is just someone’s imagination gone wild. Without the backing of real eyewitness history, all you have are assumptions based on the evidence you happen to have lying around. If you have ever watched a court proceeding, you can see how easy it is to assume that you know what happened based on the evidence you see, but when you hear a witness, you realize that your original concept of what happened was really just your own imagination.

The reason I bring up evolution in this context, is that the evolutionary imaginations have created a real scattering in both the Church and in many Christian nations in the recent past. Evolution and the “big bang”, when they are accepted without any Biblical evidence and applied in such a way as to cause assumptions to be made about the Bible, introduces the idea that the Bible may be wrong and our imagination may be right.

Thinking this way puts a society in darkness as it willfully goes into a dark age, leaving behind guidance of the word of God that brought their societies out of the darkness. That is how great societies are destroyed. When they become proud and God allows their imagination to destroy their own prosperity. I pray that this won’t happen to us and that God will continue to save us as we trust our lives to His word. I pray that we will stop trying to change His word using our own imagination.

Day 18: A Merciful God

Luke 1:50 :

His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him.

Mercy can be defined as not getting the punishment that we deserve. Mary was aware that she, as all humanity, deserved punishment. She was also made aware by the Holy Spirit that God has so much mercy that he has enough for generation after generation of people that revere Him.

Mary only knew “the God of the Old Testament” because the New Testament was yet to be written. Mary’s God had lots of mercy as we read here. Some have believed that that God in the Old Testament was different than in the New, but that is not the case. The Bible tells us that God never changes.

We were the ones who were changed when God sent His Son to die for our sins. God showed us mercy by allowing this to happen and because we were cleaned by Jesus death, the God of the Old Testament was able to have a new relationship with the people of the New Testament. If it were not for Jesus Christ, the one and only God would have to deal harshly with us. In fact, those who don’t believe in Jesus as the only way to God, will someday face that harsh reality again when He returns.

Some people wonder why Jesus is taking so long in returning to earth as He promised. I suggest that one good reason that He hasn’t returned yet is because He is demonstrating the enormity of his mercy to generation after generation after generation so that we understand the lengths that God goes to help us. God didn’t have to wait any amount of time, but God loves us and He wants many people to come to Him. Some of them may have even been born today. We should be thankful to God for His mercy as he waits to send Jesus back to get us, but remain eager and ready to see Him return.

Day 17: Holy is His Name

Luke 1:49 :

For he who is mighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.

Mary continues this prophesy, demonstrating the greatness of God when compared to anyone else. She says that God is mighty, and it is implied that she is not because the mighty one was the one who did great things for her. She gives all of the glory for everything that is happening to her to God.

I am sure that if Mary knew that people were attempting to compare her to God in any way she would be horrified. Mary is just like us. We were also blessed by God because Jesus came as God and gave up His own life, taking the punishment for our sin. Jesus’ name is Holy to us also for He has done great things for us. If we were to do any good at all for the rest of our lives here on earth, and we should, it would be a tragedy if someone started worship us because of that. All the good we do is because “He who is mighty has done great things” for us. All of us who have come to Christ have realized that we could not be good without the mighty one.

The world “Holy” means “set apart.” One of the problems with raising up a man or a woman so that they appear to be like God is that it makes God less “set apart” from them. Mary was making it clear that God is Holy. He is set apart from all of us.

Mary was a person who needed things to be done for her. She was not in a position to bring things about for herself. God doesn’t need anyone and brings all things into existence by His own will and word. Mary points us to the “mighty” one which reveals that, as a needy person herself, she cannot help us. So, we see that it doesn’t make sense according to the Bible to pray to Mary, but it does make sense to pray to God who is able to do anything just because He wants to.

Day 16: Joy as a Matter of Faith

Luke 1:46-48 :

Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord.
My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
for he has looked at the humble state of his handmaid.
For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.

I want to make something very clear here. Mary was sinner and needed a Savior because she admitted it herself here. It is very inappropriate to treat any created thing as if it were just as important or more important than God. Mary didn’t magnify her own name, instead she magnified the Lord because of what He had done for her. Notice that she was only a handmaid, but the one she was carrying is the one who deserves all of the glory.

Mary’s attitude is an example for all of us as believers. She had enough faith to realize that even though she might be persecuted, it would be far more wonderful to serve the Lord by giving birth to the Son of God. Her focus was not on earthly things but on heavenly ones. It is true that all generations since that time have called Mary blessed, but, at the same time, there have been those in every generation who have dared to call her a sinner who was faking a virgin birth. This is the same situation we face as Christians today.

We can focus on the worldly perspective as people persecute us for our Biblical views, or we can believe in those views and realize that everyone will someday believe in the Biblical view. On that day, we will be blessed! That is what we need to focus on. In this world there will be many who mock and scoff the truth, but we who know the truth should be filled with joy because of the blessings we have.

Day 15: Joy In The Womb The Lord Has Come

Luke 1:38-45 :

The angel departed from her. Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah, and entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. It happened, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy! Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!”

Here we see another part of the Bible where it is clear that the unborn are people. Clearly, Dr. Luke refers the unborn one as a “baby”; so does Elizabeth. Not only that, the baby had joy and we know that a “thing” can’t have that. Notice that Elizabeth’s speaking is attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit. Not only is this in the Bible and about Jesus but it is also prompted by God the Holy Spirit Himself. It would be difficult to argue that the Bible doesn’t say with certainty that the unborn are people.

The reason that I find this important to Americans is that Americans claim to believe that all people are created equally by an endowing Creator. Now we are reading the book of our Creator and He clearly says that the unborn are people which provides no room for a Christian to overlook the evil of abortion. We should never support a thing that God doesn’t support and we should never ignore evil that God doesn’t ignore. If we toy with this idea we are simply failing to have faith in God because how can we believe in a God that we can disagree with? That kind of corrupts the meaning of the words “God” and “believe.” What it really does is reveal that we don’t believe in Him even though we say we do because by our actions God will ultimately reveal the truth.

The Holy Spirit made it clear to Elizabeth that Mary was blessed because she believed and acted according to it. We should believe God and act accordingly also.

Day 14: Ready to Serve the Lord

Luke 1:38 :

Mary said, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word.”

In my culture, it is difficult to completely understand the significance of this willingness that Mary had. I am not convinced I have a full understanding of it, but I would like to talk about what I believe is true about this.

Mary lived in a very strict Jewish culture. Girls were given to their husbands well in advance of their wedding day. We know from other verses that Mary was already given to her husband. There were plenty of reasons why Mary may want to protest this thing that God decided to give to her. Again, we see something that may appear like a curse from God rather than a blessing. It is amazing to me that Mary’s heart was ready to fully accept God’s plan for her life. It is easy for us to get focused on our circumstances and forget that, when we follow God, He is responsible for our wellbeing. Mary took the words of the angel and believed that God was able to do what He says and her faith was immediately put into action in her response.

Mary understood that she was a servant of God and that the best thing that anyone can do is to do exactly what God wants. God is our creator and He knows exactly why we were created and what we are here on earth to do. I am pretty sure that, up to this point, Mary had no idea that her purpose in life was to bear the Son of God. That’s how it is with us many times. We often don’t understand our current circumstances and wonder what our purpose is in it. Sometimes, God has not revealed His purpose in us yet. I learn from this piece of history that the best thing for us to do is to be ready when God does finally tell us what He wants us to do for Him. When He does, we should be ready to respond just like Mary did.