Do you remember a time when you were filled with gratitude and praise to God? What event elicited your response? How did you express to God your gratitude and awe of his character?
Do you have a habit of giving God praise as a customary part of your prayer life?
Mary praised God for his power and mercy in a stirring song.
Mary began her song by recalling God’s mercy.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
For the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation. (Luke 1.46-50)
Mary is quite aware of her place in society. She is a teenage girl, who has a low standing in the world.
Even though the world easily overlooks Mary, she is well known in heaven.
— God has shown her favor.
— She is blessed.
— God has done great things for her.
— She is the recipient of God’s compassion and mercy. He is her advocate.
We can imitate Mary’s praise and exult in God’s character.
— Magnify – To magnify God is to declare him great and to increase his importance to us.
— Rejoice – The Greek meaning is “jump for joy” or “rejoice greatly.”
— Honor God’s Name – To declare “holy is his name” is to set God’s character aside for the greatest reverence that can be given.
Pause for Praise
Please take a minute and use Mary’s praise to assist your praise of God, the Mighty One. Magnify, rejoice, and honor his character.
The second aspect of Mary’s Song reflects on God’s power. In today’s YouTube video on the Bob Spradling channel, Rudy Ross explains how Mary would certainly have been familiar with the first five Books of the Old Testament.
Mary’s language in the next verses reflects a thorough understanding of God’s powerful acts in Israel’s history.
“He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
“He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
“He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
“He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
“According to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” (Luke 1.51-55)
The “strength of his arm” is an allusion to the Exodus story, where 1.5 million people were freed from Egypt, the most powerful nation of its time.
Walter Brueggemann wrote an intriguing book, “Action in the Brickyard,” to describe the Exodus. Pharaoh’s brickyard was a place where a person’s production equaled their value. If you didn’t produce, you were eliminated.
When God established his kingdom under Jesus, he proclaimed the world to be “Under New Management.”
The proud, powerful, and rich who were able to have value because of their production discovered a new system of value.
Mary knew God’s kingdom priorities and stated that those who had value were the lowly, hungry, and poor.
I have often quoted Brueggemann’s words, “Jesus raised up those whom society put down and included those who were excluded.”
Mary understood this reversal because she personally experienced it. Her praise was a natural outcome of God’s gracious favor.
As I respond to Mary’s Song, I know that I need to be aligned with the same values as those of God. It is easy to be seduced by a world system that places such a high value on personal wealth, power, popularity, and beauty.
Dear God, please help me see the world through your eyes. Please align my view of the world system with your will.
Please take a few minutes to use Mary’s Song in prayer and praise. Connect with God around this powerful and dramatic song.
Rudy Ross is an excellent Bible student and lover of God. He and I have produced a YouTube video on this passage. Rudy adds insights that you won’t want to miss. The video is on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.