Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth’

Luke 1:57-66 — I had struggled to know what to write about in this passage today because it seemed rather ordinary. It seems to just be a transition piece, filler if you will. It reminds me though that sometimes we have become so accustomed to the ordinary things in life that we fail to see God in the details. Here, if we take a closer look, we find God at work in this passage.

God is at work in the simple fact that Elizabeth gave birth when it was time. As far as childbirth is concerned, it is typically a game for the young. Elizabeth may have not been elderly but she was advanced in years for having babies. The fact that she even got pregnant was a simple miracle of God. That she gave birth without dying is another. In this era of time, even the healthiest of young females were in danger of dying during childbirth because of loss of blood. Add to that, Mary’s age increased the risk. Even today there is risk in childbirth. It is a miracle of God that happens every day that we take for granted. Sometimes, things that happen regularly we do not see as miracles. Even conception itself is a miracle. A life from joining of microscopic cells of a man and a woman. How is this not miraculous. Science can explain how conception happens but it cannot explain that moment, that instant when life is created. God guides this action daily around the world. Cells joining together becoming a human being is an unmitigated act of God. Our skin cells regenerated daily but they do not create a human being. We should celebrate God each time a baby is born. Let us see God in the intricate details of life. He is a daily miracle worker.

God is at work in the things that we take for granted. Zechariah took for granted that he could speak but God took it away when he doubted. We can logically explain how the speech center in the brain works and how the vocal chords create sound. However, what gives our voice control is our brain’s speech center and we can explain it up to a certain point. What makes the neurons fire to create a thought turned into speech is simply an daily miracle of God. Just as swiftly, when Z was obedient (in naming the child John [Hebrew for “God’s gift”] as commanded by the angel), his voice and hearing were restored. It is a reminder that the things we take for granted in life, speech, hearing, vision, are all part of this miraculous machine called the human body. The human body is astoundingly complex and all of our body works together to provide a vessel for our mind, our existence. Things we feel create emotions and emotions create reactions in the body that can be measure. Emotions that cannot be measured created reactions in the body that can. It is amazing when you think about how our mere existence, though explainable by science up to a certain point, is a full on God designed miracle that happens daily.

Even in death, we see God. Science can explain conception and birth and science can explain why we die. However, that instant in which we take our last breath is not under our control. It is God’s decision. What makes our heart beat daily thousands of times in a lifetime but in an instant it quits and we die. Sure, we can understand when a person meets a violent death that loss of blood causes death. How bout though that elderly person who lives long past when people expect. They linger on for days and even months at the point of death. But one day, the heart stops and they die. That same God who gives the spark of life to cells that become human beings is also there when our routinely beating heart stops. Life force vanishes. God is in that. He chooses our moment when life in its barest essence begins and he chooses when it ends. This is God working miracles daily.

Take the time in life to reflect upon God’s presence in our daily lives. Let us reflect on how God performs unnoticed miracles daily. Like how plants convert sunlight into energy that causes them to grow. Science can explain what happens but not the why. Let us remember that life itself is a miracle of God. We are here by his grace. When we get caught up in the mundane details of life and think there is nothing precious about our mundane lives. God is there. He is working. There is evidence all around us daily. Nothing is mundane when we think of the things that God orchestrates daily without us even noticing. Celebrate God daily. He is working all around you, in the birth of a child, in human life itself, in the salvation of souls through Jesus Christ. Just think every minute of every day not only is there the miracle of birth but every minute of every day someone comes to Christ somewhere. The greatest miracle of all — complete and radical life change through Christ that no one can explain except say it’s a miracle. God reigns! God is in the miracle business daily. Take time to notice!

Luke 1:39-45 — Have you ever let jealousy ruin a precious moment in life? That could have been the reaction of Elizabeth in this situation but her humility is worth noting when she sees her relative, Mary.

In first century Palestine, a woman’s value was largely measured by the children she bore. Barrenness often lead to personal hardship and public shame. When she found out that she was going to have a baby, it was a long-awaited answer to years of prayer. She would no longer have to hear the whispers as she passed by others. She also knew that her future was secure through her coming son. She also knew from her husband’s encounter with the angel of the Lord that her son was going to be special. He was going to be the one that paved the way for the long-promised Messiah. It was news that just had her giddy with excitement and feelings of blessing. I am sure that we have all experienced those times where we know that we have been given a great blessing. It just makes you feel as though all your years of faithfulness to the Lord have been rewarded. It gives you a feeling that yeah, I really have done the right thing following Jesus all these years. It is a moment of joy and satisfaction. It gives you a moment of pause when you realize when there is a blessing that you know can only come from the Lord. Have you ever received a blessing that you know was only possible through the grace of God? It made you feel especially loved and favored by God. I am sure that Elizabeth felt this way too. There are times when we feel especially blessed. It is the sweet spot of all sweet spots when you realize that God gave you a blessing specifically. Not your neighbor. Not someone you hear and see about on stage at church. Not something you read in a devotional or see on a TV program. It is you that has been blessed. You!

Imagine then Elizabeth meeting Mary. This encounter is when you really realize that Elizabeth is a true woman of God. We read earlier in a previous passage that Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous people in God’s eyes. Now, from the scene in this passage, we know it for sure. Have you ever had one of those situations where you had a story that everyone was in awe of but then someone chimes in that they have an even better story than that. Everyone listening then turns their attention to the “better story” and then you are left alone as everyone then follows the person with the better story. We have a modern day example of this from my favorite football team, Clemson. Cole Stoudt is a senior and has worked hard over the past four years and waited his turn to become the starting quarterback. His faithfulness to the Clemson program is astounding. It is a story worthy of praise. He certainly has a story to tell about faithfulness and hard work and believing in yourself. However, he just happened to have a freshman phenom quarterback to be recruited whose talents are far above his. Everyone makes over DeShaun Watson. He is the next four years of Clemson football. What about Cole? He is left behind. His faithfulness had been rewarded. But along comes someone with far greater talent. Cole could have pouted. However, he stuck around and became a man. He could have let jealousy destroy him. However, without Cole over the past three weeks, while Watson has been injured, he has been a steadying force. Jealousy could have derailed a team’s season.

In the same light, Elizabeth could have been jealous of Mary. She could have felt like the kid who had the less great story. She could have reacted the opposite of Cole Stoudt. She could have, in jealousy, been angry with Mary. Elizabeth’s story was a miracle. She was advanced in years and finally was pregnant. And not just pregnant, pregnant with a special child. She encounters Mary whose son they both knew was going to be greater than Elizabeth’s precious long-awaited child. She could have been one of those people who start vicious rumors about those who seem to be more blessed that we are. She could have rejected Mary in jealousy. But that is not what we see from Elizabeth. Amazingly, Elizabeth shows her true humility. The statements about her and Zechariah are true. They are righteous people humbly serving their Lord. Instead of jealousy, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and filled with joy that the mother of the Christ Child would come to visit her. Have you ever envied people who seem particularly singled out for special blessing? Are you jealous of those at church who have positions of authority over you? Instead of being petty and jealous, let’s us rejoice for those who have been blessed. Instead of talking gossip about those in authority over us, let us be humble and realize that those in authority over us have been given that position because God ordained it and we often don’t see their behind the scenes faithfulness to the Lord. Let us rejoice and take the Elizabeth approach and not the jealous approach. Elizabeth knew that her son would serve the Lord and serve the one in Mary’s womb. She was a servant of the Lord not the servant of her own ego. We all are here to serve Jesus. We are all here to tell the story of his great gift of salvation and of restoration. Let us serve the Lord together in the capacities that He has given us right now at this place at this moment in time. All of us are servants. We must serve and work in our positions that we hold no matter how high or how low as if we are working for the Lord. God has you right where He wants you right now because this is where He needs you in the position you hold. Let us be humble like Elizabeth and realize and submit to the Lord.

Father, help me to have an Elizabeth attitude about life. Help me to realize that you bless me daily and give me what I need not what somebody else needs. You personally know me and love me. I should not compare my blessings to others. You are doing a work in me that is unique to me. Help me to have a vertical mentality rather than a horizontal one. Help me to keep my eyes on you and how you sustain me personally rather than comparing myself to how you bless or don’t bless others. My relationship with you is vertical. You are my King and I am your servant. I need to remember that I serve to glorify you and not gain glory from others. Help me to be Elizabeth humble. Amen.