Monday, December 28, 2020
As mentioned yesterday in church, this week’s devotionals will focus on how we can praise God for His faithfulness even as we face difficult and uncertain times. May I encourage you to listen to yesterday’s message if you missed it. This will help to establish context. https://youtu.be/K9GpqBPdiwg
If you don’t have time to do that, here’s a quick summary. In Luke chapter two, when Mary was told by the angel that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit with the Messiah, the Son of God, she agreed to accept the plan of God for her life. She specifically said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Be it unto me according to your word.” Mary accepted God’s plan even though it meant potential serious consequences.
We discovered yesterday that there are two ways to be prepared for uncertain times. The first is to trust God with all outcomes. The second is to praise God for who He is and not make our praise contingent upon the outcomes. We closed the sermon with a challenge to study the faithfulness of God as revealed in the last few verses of Mary’s song of praise. Here they are.
“He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:51-55
Look at those first three words. “He has shown.” Our praise to God is accentuated by recalling the ways God has shown Himself mighty in the past. So this week we will look at the things Mary remembered about the mighty works of God and be encouraged to trust God for what’s ahead.
The first thing Mary remembers about God is that He has shown strength with His arm. In Psalm 98:1 we read, “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” The prophet Isaiah declares, “Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him and his recompense is before him.” (Isaiah 40:10) “The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:10) God is to be praised because His strong arm has provided salvation for us, and in every situation of life He has a solution that will be our reward.
So here’s your exercise for today…make a list of the ways God has shown the strength of His arm to you. It may be a time when He directly answered a prayer. It may be when He provided you comfort and peace during a crisis. Maybe it was a gracious reward He provided you. Or maybe, and most importantly, it should be a consistent awareness of our salvation that is not affected by the circumstances of life.
The foundation of praise is the character of God to faithfully act in accordance with His holiness. Your list will accentuate your praise as you remember how God has shown His mighty arm to you in the past.