“Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” Luke 1:25
Elisabeth’s words are so exciting to me and interesting at the same time. It’s not that this is any profound statement, but before You, Lord, it’s such a human statement and human way of looking at the whole situation. Because even in the midst of this glorious plan You are bringing to fruition in her, this statement is pretty much focussing on Your goodness to her. You did this for her. You looked on her. You took away her reproach and shame. Now, there’s a much bigger story here. You are preparing to be good to many through her son. You are preparing to do good to many through more than her son. You are looking on many. You are preparing to take away the reproach and shame of many. So, is Elisabeth focussing on herself too much here? Is she being too egocentric? Is she forgetting to be selfless here? Is it really all about Elisabeth?
I wonder if we look at the response of people in Scripture chosen by You if we would find a common denominator? I wonder if Elisabeth isn’t the only one that was amazed by Your goodness and looking at them out of all the people in the world and choosing them? I wonder if there wasn’t a level of excitement like this for each one that overflowed that You God, would choose them and deal with them and care to remove their own reproach? I would think that just that fact alone would be the most wonderfully overwhelming thing to experience. I mean, how could she be chosen by You and not feel the wonderfulness of being special to God, of being chosen by God, of being the recipient of Your grace and power and love and mighty hand? How could it not be personal?
So it must be personal. You, Lord, just interacted with Elisabeth and her husband Zacharias in a personal way. That personalness is going to be the first and foremost thought on their minds. It’s going to reverberate over and over again in their hearts and minds. “God chose me! God notices me! You heard me! You are intervening on my behalf! You care! You are intimate with me!”
Now I’m getting really excited. When Elisabeth talks about the Lord dealing with her, that word that Luke used for deal is “poieo.” It does mean “to make or do” but it also carries this meaning when God is the one “poieoing” (my word there) that implies that He’s making something happen from within in this sense I will describe. It’s like a poet or an artist. The poetry or art is a part of them. It flows from within. It has to come out. You can’t stop it because it’s part of their being, it’s part of who they are. And here is Elisabeth realizing what You, Lord, are doing in her being. You are there, bringing forth Your work, Your purpose, Your will, from within her. You are choosing to use her as Your beautiful poetry, Your beautiful artistry. You are “poieoing” in her. Now how could that not be “individually” exciting?
And even though Elisabeth new her child John that You were bringing forth from her and Your being in her was for the good of all, this was still for her individual good also. And it was especially for her good. She was privy to the secret. She was privy to the plan. She was actually included in the knowledge of God about what was going on. Did everyone else know? Nope. But was she the only one?
Well, here Elisabeth is in her 5th month, off on her own, maybe so she could stay focussed on the Lord and not be distracted by others, I really don’t know why, but then Luke tells us something else happened. Gabriel is sent to tell some news to someone else. He’s sent to this little city that was often ridiculed. He was sent to this city where people didn’t expect anything good to come from. I don’t know why, because something good was expected from here in Your prophecies, Lord. But in this no name city of Nazareth, You sent Gabriel to a girl named Mary.
Now, here is Mary, a girl like the other girls, at least to everyone else in Galilee. But You saw something in Mary that set her apart for You. Your angel’s greeting to Mary just amazes me. “Hail, you are highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women.” Now, I’m just wondering, is there any way that Mary could not be excited for herself after that? Barring the fact that this gift in her womb isn’t just for her but for the salvation of all people, but to know that God chooses you, that God finds favor in you, that He notices you even above other women He could have chosen? How humbling and how amazingly wonderful is that?
Well, of course seeing an angel was fearful, but Scripture seems to imply that his words also troubled her, alarmed her. So Gabriel consoles her again telling her not to be afraid and reiterating that God has found favor in her. That word for favor is actually “charis.” That’s the word used elsewhere for grace. What if God looked down and saw this other woman, Mary, who was living out God in her life and heart. Because where does this “charis” come from that God would find in her? Doesn’t grace first come from You, Lord, who exhibit it to us and through Your Word. And then as we incorporate You and Your Word into our lives, doesn’t Your grace flow out. Isn’t this that “poeio” all happening again? Isn’t that the poetry that You are writing in our lives and then out it flows? So is this what You saw in Mary? Did You see Yourself flowing out as though it was natural? Was Your divine influence already working in her heart and being reflected in her life? Was that what made her the perfect recipient for Your intimate plan?
So Gabriel tells her of Your plan. She would conceive the Son of God, Jesus, in her very own womb by Your power and Your Word. She would bear the Son of the Highest, the One who would sit on the throne of David forever. She would bear the One whose kingdom would know no end. And Gabriel even told her about Elisabeth! Look at that! God did not let Elisabeth bear her burden alone, nor did He let Mary bear this great burden alone! God cared enough for these individual women to give them someone else on this planet who would understand. Yes, Lord, You do care intimately for each individual even as You are caring for us all.
See, it’s not just that You can do the impossible like make a barren old woman give birth or a young virgin bear a child without knowing any man intimately. With You, nothing is impossible, not even knowing the hearts of individual people, or individual women, and meeting their emotional needs by preparing the right kind of fellowship for them. It’s also not impossible for You to intimately love and meet the needs of individuals while at the same time loving and meeting the needs of the masses.
So Mary hurries to Elisabeth. And as soon as Elisabeth hears Mary’s voice, that babe inside her womb also leapt for joy. And being filled with the Holy Spirit, God “poieoed” in her! This poem from God flowed out of her. Listen to this profound, yet simple and powerful truth she shared by the power of the Spirit. “Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” See, what if this blessing isn’t isn’t just something that’s received? What if God is the giver of blessing, of this favor? What if we are only blessed or favored to the extent that we recieve His blessing and His favor? What I mean is, that when God tells me a truth in His Word, do I receive it and believe it? Do I live as though I am trusting Your Word to come to pass? Because maybe that’s where the blessing is. Maybe the blessing is in letting You play out Your poetry of Your life and truth in me. Maybe that’s why You chose Elisabeth and Mary, because despite their life circumstances, they kept trusting Your Word and living in that trust no matter what. So what was the reward? You filled them with You. You performed Your words they were believing in them. You included them in what they were believing, even beyond the parts they had understood.
Living in and for the will of You, Lord, creates a special person after Your own heart. It creates a person that is so excited and in love with You. It creates a heart that magnifies You, that wants to shout out about Your wonder. And it’s not that we create this in ourselves, but our obedience to You allows You to create this wonder of You in us! You are even the One who gives us the Spirit to rejoice with You and in You. And all we can do is be amazed at how You even choose to regard us and use us! And yes, who could not rejoice that God looked and saw and intervened? When the mighty One does great things in us, how can we not be excited? When the Holy One chooses what wasn’t holy to make it holy? When we receive Your mercy beyond measure? When You choose the humble to scatter the proud, and lift up those who can’t lift themselves? When You choose to feed the hungry who can’t feed themselves? When You reach down and help? How can anyone not be personally excited when You intervene in their life even on behalf of those around them, because even though it is for them, You are for each of us individually also.
Yes, this is the Christmas story being played out in the lives of individuals. But we have to prepare our hearts for You. We have to trust Your Words and believe in them. We have to let them become the poetry of our life so that You can make Yourself flow from us. I have to see things Your way before I will ever be able to see Jesus for Who He really is. I have to let You bless me so that Your blessing of Christmas and every day can flow from me. I have to let You touch me and change me and fill me. I have to let You prepare me to receive Jesus. I have to be a receptacle of You, prepared to receive Christ into my life. Yes, Jesus came to be the Savior of the world, but He is saving us one by one. He didn’t just come to save many, He came to save me. So how is my faith today? How excited am I about God reaching down and touching and choosing me to enter into His plan? Do I understand what Elisabeth and Mary understood? Have I experience the favor of the Lord in my life? Or am I missing out on the most intimate gift ever?
Lord, write out the poetry of Your life in me. I believe. Jesus is the most precious gift ever. I want to always be as excited as Elisabeth and Mary about Your touch in my life, that the God of the Universe reaches down to even me, that You notice me! Yes, Jesus died for the world, but He also died for me. He looks straight into my heart and eyes and sees me too. That’s just the kind of God You are. Because You never change. The same God You were for Elisabeth and Mary, is the same kind of God You are for me and for others. Yes, I know, because I’ve experienced You too. Even to the point of You giving me sisters in the Lord who understand. And You don’t just do this for women. You do this for Jonathan’s and David’s and so many, many more. And all I can say, Lord, is “Don’t stop!” Continually create Your beautiful intimacy in our lives for Your beautiful purposes.