“And Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. “No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.”
I Samuel 2:1-2 NKJV
“And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.”
Luke 1:46-50 NKJV
Two women, one God
I sometimes pause and think of the things I am willing to do for God. In these uncertain times, I have the tendency to consider the most dire, such as facing persecution for my faith. I consider sharing the Gospel in the open square, having no regard for my safety. That I becoming more than a little dangerous, as the evil one is actively seeking to shut up the mouths of those who stand for Jesus.
The truly hard things are those that radically change your life in ways that can have a long-lasting effect on everything. This morning, reading in Luke, I read of Mary meeting with Elizabeth, both chosen by God to bring His messengers into the world.
Mary was living in a time when it was unlawful, and even deadly to be with child and unmarried. It was a cause for shame for her family. But by faith, she submitted to the will of the Lord.
“Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?””
Luke 1:30-34 NKJV
Her faith in God provided her the trust, knowing that the Lord could be relied upon.
“Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
Luke 1:38 NKJV
Hannah desired a child, a son, as her culture placed high value on being a mother. The son was the one who would take care of the mother, should there be no one else to support her. Her desire was so great, that she prayed without ceasing. She made her vow to the Lord.
“Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.””
I Samuel 1:11 NKJV
The Lord blessed her, and she conceived. She made good on her vow and gave her only begotten son, at that time, to the Lord. She had no expectation that she would ever have another. The Lord went on to honor her with three more sons and two daughters.
Brothers and sisters, let us take the example of these two women and their faith in one God, l and be willing to do the hard things that the Lord may ask of us. Like Hannah and Mary, we can have confidence that the Lord is good, and the He is always faithful.
In the coming days, weeks, months, and perhaps years, it will become increasingly difficult to be a follower of Jesus. Even the act of merely going into the street with a bible to preach the Gospel could become a life and death situation.
On January 22nd, of this year, a husband and father, Thomas Hand, aged 37 went out to preach. As He did so, a teenager came up to him and shot Thomas to death, and walked away. This did not happen in some islamic country, or another place where preaching the Gospel is forbidden, but in Montgomery, Alabama.
He heard “well done, good and faithful servant.”
It would be easy to be fearful, to seek to be silent, to try and stay safe, but we must be loud. We have been called to go and tell the world of Jesus, who died on the cross, was buried and rose again. We have been called to challenge sin, and preach repentance.
That same God that was with Hannah and Mary is with us, and for those who are born again, He is in us.
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