This is a message I delivered at our Ladies’ Beach Retreat in May.
In the previous posts, Being a Believer and Believing the Truth Part 1 & Part 2, you may have noticed that in order to be a believer, and to believe the truth you are going to have to believe in God, on God, and flat out Believe God! That’s a lot of trust in God right there…
I find that is is easier to believe someone when we know something about them and trust their character. How about you? In order for us to have the kind of increasing belief and faith in God, it will be helpful for us to know more about God’s character.
Just as viciously as the truth has been attacked, God’s character has been attacked. The most popular method of attack to is to ask that accusatory question is “If God is so good, then how could He….? ”
I don’t know the answer to all the questions that follow that introduction, and there are some tough ones, but those questions DO NOT SHAKE MY FAITH IN MY GOD. Here is why. I have confidence in the fact that I serve a God who is all sufficient, all powerful, all knowing, righteous, just, and so much more.
How do I know this? He has done great things (for me and for others) and once again I KNOW IT FROM HIS WORD. I know that the greatest thing He has done for me is send his own son to die for me so that I wouldn’t have to bear the punishment for my sins. His Word is full of His character. When we read through the Psalms, we find that David had an intimate knowledge of God’s character & recorded it beautifully. Job, in the midst of suffering, was able to say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord,” because he he had a steady assurance that God is the one who gives and takes away.
There is a young lady in the bible who had tremendous faith and confidence in the character and power of God, and the blessing that comes from faithfull serving Him. That young lady was Mary, the mother of Jesus. We can learn much from this young woman who had the ability to believe the truth about God and who He is.
In the first chapter of Luke we find that Mary’s cousin Elisabeth is pregnant with a baby who will be John the Baptist. Mary has had a visitation from an angel who gave her the startling news that, although she is a virgin, she herself is going to have a baby, and not only that, the baby is the promised Messiah. She goes to see her cousin Elisabeth, who, upon Mary’s arrival, is filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesies. She cries out:
And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45
I say to you today blessed are you that believe! There shall be a performance of those things told you by the Lord. Amen!
In Mary’s reply to Elisabeth’s greeting, we begin to see her complete joy, satisfaction, and confidence in God. This portion of scripture is called “Mary’s Magnificat,” and it is Mary’s joyful prayer in response to her cousin’s greeting. It is called the Magnificat because magnificat is the Latin word found in verse 46, meaning “magnifies.” Mary begins her song of praise to the Lord by by magnifying Him.
My Soul doth magnify the Lord. Luke 1:46
- What does she do? Mary has just been given marvelously troubling news. The news that a young, unmarried, but engaged female was going to deliver a baby would not make news today, but for Mary, this could cause serious trouble in her life. Looking at her circumstances, she could really get quite overwhelmed, but at this time she says she MAGNIFIES the Lord.
- Who does she magnify? She says she magnifies THE LORD. The word Lord here means master. He is her Master and she is his servant. She makes the choice to serve Him no matter what the cost. Unlike many earthly masters, we do have choice when it comes to serving the Lord, our heavenly Master. We need to live in a way that reflects the fact that God is our master, and lovingly submit to the plans He has for us.
- What does this mean? Magnify means to: make large, declare great, esteem highly, celebrate, make conspicuous.
- How does she do this? In effect, Mary says, “In this situation I choose to make God bigger than my potential problems.” She declares God great, esteems God highly, celebrates God, and makes God conspicuous in her circumstances. She really is simply acknowledging the truth that God is truly greater than any circumstance that can befall her.
At this point I would like you to note that Mary’s first response flowed out of a heart that was already filled with faith and joy in serving the Lord. Jesus Himself says:
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45
Although she was a young teenage girl, it is obvious that she had been taught God’s Word and the Word was held in high esteem. She had treasured the Word in her heart, and from her heart she spoke with great joy about the plans God had for her.
I pray that I can magnify the Lord above my circumstances in all great things to which I am called. When I know His character and believe the Truth about who He is, I can.
In Part 2, we will look at the specific attributes of God that Mary knew so well.
I’m a Believer!