Posts Tagged ‘young’

Luke 1:67-80 — When I read this passage, I think of God’s promises and how He executes them through, by choice, us.

Zechariah’s song of praise speaks of God’s fulfillment of His promise to Abraham back in Genesis 12:3. Zechariah recalls hundreds of years of God’s sovereign work in history, beginning with the promise to Abraham and going on into eternity. Zechariah speaks of the coming Messiah who will redeem his people. God made a promise and He is keeping it. Sometimes in this fast food, freeze-dried world in which we live we expect immediate action. God’s eternity is longer than any of temporal lives. A thousand years is like a minute to Him. Since He is eternal, He is not bound by the space-time continuum. He can see the big picture. He can see the beginning and the end. Therefore, when we read the Bible we have the advantage of seeing His plan played out over thousands of years. Zechariah was living at the end of the waiting period for the Messiah and he realizes that God’s promise to Abraham is finally going to be fulfilled. What about all those that were faithful to God between the promise made and the promise kept. This is where true trust lies my friends. There were many in biblical history that never lived to see the Messiah come. Their trust that He would come reflects their faith in God. The Savior will come. The Savior will come. We can say the same thing today. We often wish that Jesus would return hastily to our world today. Come quickly, Lord. However, we most likely will not live long enough to see Him coming in a cloud with a voice like thunder. However, we have no less confidence that He will come one day. We want we want and we want it now is often our claim today. We want immediate results. We get angry with God when He doesn’t give us the answers we want when we want. We must trust in the Lord. We must trust in His timing. He is after all God and we are not. The Bible gives us comfort that promises made are promises kept. He will answer prayers of His faithful children. He will keep His promises. We have a book that proves it. He promises us the Messiah and He delivered. Zechariah sings praises for this fact. We should do the same in our day to day living. Trust. Faith. Promises made will be promises kept.

Then Zechariah turns this prophecy from the overarching praise of God’s promises kept through thousands of years of history to a very personal note. He prophesies over his little boy, his newborn son. Although the Bible displays God’s unlimited power and eternal nature, He chooses to work through His faithful children. Compared to God, we are but little ants and whisps of air. He chose Zechariah to be the father of the forerunner of Christ. Zechariah has had an unremarkable life until this point. We never hear of him until he gets his once in a lifetime chance to serve at the Temple. This goes to show that God may place a call on your life late in life. God uses the old and the young. You are never too old to do what God calls you to do. So if you think you are too old, if you think you are not hip enough, not cutting edge enough, think of Zechariah. He became an instrument of God’s action at an old age. Also, we are never too young to serve God either. Zechariah’s son began serving God as soon as he grew up. He began living in the wilderness and preparing for his ministry. We are never to young to be so in love with the Lord that we dedicate our lives to His service. I am in awe of the young people of our church who are already serving the Lord and have great passion for Him. I in some ways envy them for coming to their Savior at an early age. I look back at years before age 39 when I came to the Lord and wish I had previously had the wisdom to come to Him earlier. But God has a plan for us to participate in the work of the Kingdom regardless of what age we are at. Our past experiences make us uniquely qualified for the calling He gives us. Sometimes we are to work at from a young age. Sometimes we are to work at from a later point in life when we can truly appreciate what has happened before as part of the purpose of what is happening now. Zechariah sees this in this history of God’s faithful ones and He sees it in the present and future through his son and the coming Messiah.

Father thank you for being eternal. Thank you for seeing the beginning and the end. Thank you for your unchanging nature where promises made are promises kept. Help me to see the evidence of this fact every time I sit down to read your Word. Help me to believe and trust that you will answer every prayer that offered up to you by your humble and faithful servants. Help me always to strive to be in your will as a faithful and trusting servant. Help me to believe in your promises and help me to trust in them even if I need see them come into being. Help me also to remember that You will use your faithful ones to execute your plan because you want the unbelieving world to see what You can do through people who believe in You. You could come in and zap people into believing but you choose to use us because you want people to come to you not out robotic response but out of real love for you. You choose to work through us at whatever age you choose to call us to service. You are Sovereign. You are God. You are Promise Keeper. You are my Lord. Amen.

Luke 1:26-36 — This is one of those passages where we need to spend a few days as it is very important to our faith. The first thing we must talk about together is Mary herself. Mary was young, poor and female. All of these things are not very impressive particularly in first century Israel.

That God chose Mary is so interesting. She was young. Some conjecture because of life spans at the time that Mary was maybe 14 years old. If you have a 14 year old daughter, think if she was chosen by God for such a task. That she was so young in Jewish society would have meant that few, if anyone, would have given her any respect or any social power. She was just a kid. Even though children were required to work and do help with household matters and do their parent’s bidding at times, they were given no rights. Teenagers are accorded far more respect and given more freedoms than teens in first century Israel. They were to been true servants of their families. They were to be seen and not heard. For God to choose Mary, a young teenager, demonstrates to us that God will make His power known even through the young. If you are a teenager and you think that Jesus cannot use you because of your age, then simply think of Mary. This young virgin was used by God because she was faithful to her God. Mary was given a great task and a great honor. She was to give birth to and be a mother to the Son of God. Can you imagine knowing that you are carrying the Son of God in your womb? God can use us even when we are young. We have some great kids at our church that are destined to be used by God. Don’t let their age fool you into thinking that they are not important instruments in spreading the gospel of the man born until Mary. Let us be a people that nurtures our children’s faith and encourage them to be gospel messengers. Two people are brought to mind by this thought. Ruthie Bowen and Kieffer Mendoza. Ruthie is a young little girl, maybe 5 or 6, but she is such sweet child and so loving to everyone around her. She will pray for her friends at her age at the very mention of a problem. Wow. She is destined to be a great woman of God. We should respect her for this and nurture her growing faith. Kieffer Mendoza is a freshman in college. He has amazing musical talent that is going to take him very far in life. At the same time, his faith in God is as mature or even more mature than many of us adults. The combination of his talent and his faith makes him an amazing instrument of God. We should respect him for that. We should nurture that. Regardless of age, we should respect and nurture the gifts that God gives even the youngest of the young to spread the gospel message. God is eternal so He is not hung up on age. Neither should we.

Mary was also poor. In Jewish society, power and respect followed money just as they do today. Poverty was considered a strike against you. Poverty was a sign of lack of faith. It was punishment for your sins or the sins of your forefathers. Poor people were not given much power. Nothing much has really changed in this regard today. She was young and she was poor. Wow, God could have done better than that, surely. Why wasn’t Jesus born to a daughter of a rich king? Part of this story has to do with humility and opposing the proud. Rich people tend to get all caught up in their position and and who they are in relation to others. God opposed the proud and exalts the humble. Mary was a humble young servant of the Lord. She had no rights as a young, poor person but she fully depended on the Lord. She trusted Him to see her through her early years of her life and she probably didn’t care that she was poor. She had family and she had God. I think too God uses a poor person for a mighty task to show us that no one is excluded from being used by the Lord. All that is required to be chosen by God is faithfulness to Him. We must be in love with God to be truly used by Him. We should not exclude the poor from our fellowship of believers because they do not dress like us, don’t drive the cars we drive. God doesn’t care about any of that stuff. He cares about the heart. Mary had the heart of a servant. She was used not because of wealth or position, but because she was fully devoted to the Lord. That’s our only qualification as well. God uses the rich, the poor, it doesn’t matter. He checks the heart not the wallet.

Finally, to add one more layer of Mary being “behind the eight ball” in first century Jewish society, she was a woman. God giving a great task such as this as a women would have been unthinkable to Jewish society. Women had no rights. Women were dependent on men for their very existence. Inheritance of a husband did not pass to a wife as it does now when a husband dies. Then, it passed to the father’s eldest or oldest surviving son. Women weren’t allowed to even testify in court because their testimony was not considered credible. But God chose Mary, a woman. He chose her for the most important task of all time. Carrying the Christ Child. In fact, when you read through the gospels, Jesus accorded women great value. In the early church they were given equal standing with men. The first persons to see Jesus after the resurrection were women. Women are given places of honor in our faith. Women became empowered for the first time through the Christian faith. But in thinking of Mary in her day, this a radical concept. Sure, as time progressed, women in the faith were given greater and greater standing, but Mary was first. She was like that first person to stand up against a custom that has existed for a long time. She was a rebel of sorts. Mary knew that being a woman was a liability in her day, but she responds, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Basically, I do not care that the odds are stacked against me. I trust in the Lord as knowing what is right for me. Mary should empower women. She goes to prove that women can play very pivotal roles in the spread of the Good News. Women are God’s most wonderful creation and if they are called to serve the Lord in the ways that He sees fit, we should not hinder them but empower them. We should look at their heart for the Lord not the fact that they were a dress.

Mary, young, poor, a woman. God chose the humble not the proud for this wonderful and important task. He chose according to the heart of the servant not the age, not the bank account, not the gender. Mary gives us hope that all of us can be used by the Lord. God only cares that you place Him first above all other things. That’s when He can use you mightily. Not when you achieve a certain age, a certain level of weath, not whether you are a man or a woman. The message of Mary choosing gives us great hope. You too can be used by the Father to do great things for Him.