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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. (NIVUK)

Mary's faith was already settled.  She believed God’s Word, and she was willing to be the Lord's servant in bearing God's child (Luke 1:38).  She had also received confirmation of the angel's message through Elizabeth's prophecy (Luke 1:41-45).  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 blessing, the proper response is to shower Him in praise and give Him the glory.  Mary directed the praise to the Mighty One who had done great things for her.  She also characterised Him as being uniquely holy and different to herself.  She gave Him praise and wanted everybody to join in that glory to God.

Mary correctly identified God as her Saviour.  Later, she understood that her Son would be that personal Saviour for her and whoever else believed in Him.  Mary’s sense of being blessed came from believing what God said.  Her example is plain to us all.  However, it was not based on her own virtue but on her faith.  Later, when a woman was flattering Mary, Jesus rebuked the woman:  Luke 11:27-28 says, “As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’  He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’”    

Strange and unique circumstances are often too big or complicated to take in, let alone explain to others.  People wait and see what will happen before making any announcement.  Today, many new early pregnancies are marked by the same caution in public.  However, God wanted Mary to be unrestrained from praise, because the incarnation of His Son was certain and demanded great praise.  Mary’s whole song is the undiluted, yet brilliantly concise, explosion of praise to God.  In some ways it is similar to Hannah's song in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.  Both women had experienced the hand of God in their humility, and neither were afraid nor ashamed to express their joy.

God always blesses humble people who believe His Word; and their grateful praise is best expressed by magnifying the Lord in public (Psalm 150:1-6).  Although that may be difficult for believers under persecution, it is still true that God is honoured when we verbally confess His goodness to us (Acts 16:25-26).  Praise is a mark of being saved (Romans 10:9-13).  Praise in sung worship is not about making us feel good - it is about bringing glory to the One who has done good things for us!  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