Music and song have been part of the life of God's people, the Jews, since their recorded history. It is documented that the early Jewish Temple music consisted of an orchestra with twelve instruments and a choir of twelve male singers. Some of the orchestra instruments included a lyre, harp, shofar, ram's horn, cymbal and a type of pipe organ.
Over the following days, we will look at four songs we find in Luke's account of that first Christmas. May I suggest you read the scripture several times? It might be helpful to record any thoughts God brings to you in a journal. These may be a truth God reinforced or a new lesson God has for you.
Let us begin:
Read: Luke 1:46-55
An Accurate Focus of Praise - verse 46
Mary begins her song as one of praise with her focus on God, her creator, and Lord. She seems to gain strength and confidence as she declares God's splendor, grandeur, and magnificence. Such a worshipful way to begin her song. Her prayer is simple and to the point but powerful.
How do you begin your prayers and praise to God? When I come before Him, I must confess that I too often present my "laundry list" of items that I ask Him to clean up and repair. I rarely begin by acknowledging who He is.
I rarely start by basking in His glory alone.
* Take a few minutes to quiet your heart before the Lord. Think about who He is and what He has done for others in your life. Then write out a prayer of praise to God.
The Proper Source of Joy – verse 47
Today's culture tries to confuse us and make us believe that our joy and happiness come from owning things or participating in certain activities. Mary found her joy in the simple act of focusing on her Saviour.
*Think about where you spend your time, money and thoughts. These are often indicators of where we find happiness, but do they bring true joy? Ask God if there is something else you should be looking to that will give you joy and contentment. Write down things that come to mind that bring you true joy.
A Balanced View of Self – verses 48 - 49
Achieving a healthy balanced view of self-worth can be tricky. Sometimes it is hard to see one's self-worth. It's easy to feel worthless because of social standing, education or physical appearance. Some folks don't know the value they bring to their friends and family.
Some people, however, have too much self-confidence. Mary seems to have found a balance. She did not see herself as more important than others; Mary was humble. But Mary also realized she had been chosen for the most crucial role in human history; she would care for the God/man growing inside of her. Mary acknowledged her humble position in life but accepted God's task without pride. She also admitted that God was working in and through her.
Where is God working in your life? How has He used you?
* Take time to write out your thoughts and feeling and thank Him for working through you.
An Appropriate Fear of God – verse 50
There are two definitions of fear; to be afraid of something or someone and to have respect and reverence for someone. We can understand the fear Mary would have had when she first saw the angel and heard the message given to her. Soon her behaviour reflected reverence and respect for the message, her God, and the task ahead of her.
Are you able to point to a time when you were afraid of what God was asking you to do, but through God's mercy, you surrendered and were able to respect and revere what God was doing in your life?
* Record those events in your journal. Write a prayer of dedication of your life for the future God brings to you.
A Fitting Outcome of Pride – verses 51-51
In Mary's song, these verses remind us that God will eventually show His almighty strength by bringing down those who think too highly of themselves. Their proud thoughts will be humbled, and they will be removed from their positions of importance.
God has given each of us an area of responsibility. He has given each of us a position of importance in Kingdom building.
*Write down the task He has given you, and ask God to help you to
keep a humble attitude.
A Suitable Treatment of the Rich & Poor – verse 53
We may initially believe that God talks about material poverty and riches when reading this verse, but that is not the case. God is talking about the spiritual state of people. Those who come hungry for God will be filled, and those who come full of themselves will go away empty.
* Are you able to pray this verse as your prayer to God?
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God." Psalm 42:1
Memories of Mercy and Help – verses 54-55
Through Mary's song, God reminded Israel that He had always taken care of them and showed them mercy many times. He reminded them of the promised Messiah with a hint that the time had come.
* How has God given you help? How has He shown you mercy? Write a prayer of acknowledgement for these things.
Debi Snider... more