content in God's Will: Devotional Commentary for December 2-8
This is the season of our Savior's Birth: the record of His First Coming, the beginning of the fulfillment of the Promise of Redemption. It is a familiar Story. We know the main events and recall major occurrences. But at times, we miss significant details which seem less momentous but very important. Here is a passage from Luke's record in which we observe the Power of God's moving touch at work, stirring love and worship in the hearts of those who are content with God's Will.
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
39Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah,
40and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42And she cried out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43"And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me?
44"For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
45"And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."
Soon after the angel Gabriel left her, Mary went to the hill country in Judea to visit her relative Elizabeth. Understandably, Mary would have been curious about Elizabeth’s pregnancy in her senior years. Perhaps, she wanted to confirm Gabriel’s words concerning Elizabeth and also to tell her about her own unusual encounter with the same angel, Gabriel.
Mary undertook a long journey away from home to be with her relative Elizabeth, to ponder all that was taking place in their lives and understand what it all meant. As soon as she arrived at Elizabeth's home, Mary saluted her senior relative with reverence and humble demeanor in keeping with the customs of the time and of the region.
Most likely, Jesus was miraculously and divinely conceived immediately upon Gabriel’s departure or shortly thereafter. So by the time Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s home, she was, in all probabilities carrying the Holy Child in her virgin womb. Elizabeth was ecstatic at Mary's arrival and answered her salutations with excitement. Her response was different from any common expression used when greetings are exchanged. Because the Holy Spirit had come upon her, Elizabeth's response was more of a prophetic proclamation than answering a common greeting.
There is no record that Elizabeth had prior knowledge about Mary's pregnancy. However, Elizabeth spoke of the child in Mary's virgin womb, as if she knew. But she did. Didn't she? It was revealed to her. She called them both: the blessed mother and Child. Elizabeth’s words were not her own. They were inspired by the Holy Spirit, Who filled her as soon as Mary’s salutations echoed throughout the home. This was a divine appointment. Jesus, the newly conceived Child caused an occasion of great joy between two ordinary women serving God's glorious Purpose.
Elizabeth felt honored and blessed because Mary visited her as the servant of God. This was not just Mary, the little girl she knew all her life. Elizabeth knew that the baby in her own womb was the forerunner of the One Mary carried. Elizabeth acknowledged that the unborn child in Mary’s virgin womb was her Lord. He is indeed the Lamb of God Who came to seek and save the lost, the eternal Word Who became flesh and dwelt among us.
The uncommon behavior of the baby in her own womb gave Elizabeth a reason for joy. She told Mary that as soon as her voice echoed in her ears, the baby in her own womb literally jumped for joy. Elizabeth realized that her unborn baby was actually worshiping his Master in Mary's virgin womb.
Elizabeth commended Mary for believing God’s Word delivered to her by the mouth of the angel Gabriel. She assured Mary that God is faithful. Elizabeth spoke from experience. She knew God had disciplined her husband for doubting God’s messenger. She also knew that what the angel said to him had actually come to pass. She was already six months pregnant.
Elizabeth believed God's promise and lived to see its fulfillment in her own life. A real confirmation of a real experience in the life of a real individual. Mary was encouraged by the testimony of her relative Elizabeth even though she had already believed God without needing to fully comprehend the Truth that God revealed to her.
Mary had already accepted God’s Will and Plan for her life. She did not require any proof even though nothing was clear to her. She accepted Gabriel’s words by faith and acknowledged God’s sovereignty with a submissive attitude even though she did not understand how Gabriel's words could be possible. She could have simply stayed home quietly waiting for the fulfillment of the words of the angel Gabriel. She could have just remained silent, staring into her future pondering what the next moment might bring.
But no! Nothing could hold her back. She was filled with the joy of the Lord and could not stay put. She went to Elizabeth’s home to commune with her in person and to celebrate the favor of the Lord that had rested upon both women. Both Mary and Elizabeth could not and did not hide the Lord’s testimony in their lives.
When Christians assemble in large groups or small, the Joy of the Lord should be evident in everything we do and say. That joy should permeate the atmosphere of the whole assembly and the heart of every individual gathered to worship. A heart captured by the Holy Spirit is a life filled by the Spirit of God. A life filled by the Holy Spirit will bear the Fruit of the Spirit such as love and joy leading the believer in a lifelong experience of worship. The Spirit Who transformed Mary and Elizabeth is also the Lord of the temple in our redeemed hearts.