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Blessings Promote Praise

Luke 1:46-49
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 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. (NIV)

Mary had received confirmation of the angel's message through Elizabeth's prophecy. Mary's faith was already settled, and she was willing to be the Lord's servant in bearing God's child; but now her private faith became public praise (and has continued to be used in Christian worship for two millennia). It was not enough that she passively accepted God's privilege of being the virgin mother of the Lord Jesus - because blessings given are designed to praise God and not bring praise to the receiver. When God gives, the proper response is to shower Him in praise and give Him the glory.

Yet strange and unique circumstances often combine with a desire to wait and see, before making any announcement. Many new pregnancies today are marked by the same caution in public. However, God wanted to remove any need to be restrained from praise, because the incarnation of His Son demanded great praise. This whole song is the undiluted, yet brilliantly concise, explosion of praise to God, not unlike Hannah's song in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Both women had experienced the hand of God in their humility, and they were neither afraid nor ashamed to express their joy.

God blesses the humble, and humility is best expressed by magnifying the Lord in public. Although that is difficult for believers under persecution, it is still true that God is honoured when we verbally confess His goodness to us. It is as true for sanctification as for salvation (see Romans 10:9-11). Praise in worship is not about making us feel good - it is about bringing glory to the One who has done good things for us! That is one of the benefits of a church or workplace fellowship - it should provide the essential opportunity to testify to the Lord's goodness. Without such praise, the Christian can easily be seduced into thinking that he or she deserves God's honour and becomes proud. But when God's servants release praise, He releases them to serve in joy so that He will get the glory.

Dear Lord. You have done such wonderful things for every believer, including me. Please help me to see the importance of verbally expressing my praise and giving You the glory that You deserve. Please help me to treat every meeting with another follower of Jesus as an opportunity to release my praise of all Your goodness to me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams