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When God Speaks


In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,  to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.  Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”  Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”  The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.  What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God.”  Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
(Luke 1:26-38, NLT)

It was in the quiet routine of the ordinary that the angel appeared to Mary. Mary, who was probably around the age of 14, was engaged in life as she knew it. It would not have been uncommon for a young Jewish girl to have plenty of regular household duties. It is not beyond reason that a young girl like Mary would work in the fields. In addition to her many responsibilities, she would have been preparing for her marriage to a young man named Joseph.

One of Mary’s becoming qualities is faithfulness. There were and still are plenty of people who are faithful for the sake of noteriety. But Mary would not have had any means of being the center of the public eye. She was faithful to God in ways and in places that people would never see, hear, or know.

Her character and faithfulness garnered the attention of heaven’s throne. She would be selected to live the dream of every Jewish girl that age:  to be the “God-bearer.” In the midst of her faithfulness God watched, then spoke.

Mary’s story stands in contrast to what I see, hear, and read people do to get heaven’s attention. It’s as though we have tried to develop processes that guarantee God’s visitation to our lives. We need to be reminded that we cannot manipulate God, nor can we conjure God’s voice through formulas. We must trust that if God could find Mary in her quiet obedience, He can certainly find us right where we are.

After all, God found Abram in Ur, Joseph in prison, Moses in Midian, David on a Judean hillside, and Peter, James, and John in a fishing boat.

God speaks to faithful people in their faithfulness. Mary is a wonderful example of one who was tuned in to God’s voice. She lived in anticipation and readiness. When God spoke, she heard and responded. And when God speaks, He changes the world.

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