My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. Those words are very similar to the words of Hannah in the Old Testament. On one of Hannah’s visits to Shiloh she vowed before the Lord that if He would give her a son, she would devote him to His service. Her manner, speaking in an inaudible tone, attracted the attention of the high priest, Eli, who suspected her of drunkenness. From this suspicion she easily vindicated herself, received a blessing from Eli, and returned to her home with a lightened heart. Before the end of the year Hannah became the mother of a son, whom she named Samuel, approximately 1106 B.C.
When Samuel was old enough to be weaned, Hannah took him to Shiloh and presented him, with due form, to the high priest. The joy of Hannah found expression in an exulting song of thanksgiving. It is especially remarkable that in this song (2:10) the first mention in Scripture of the word anointed or Messiah was mentioned. As there was no king in Israel at the time, it seems the best interpretation of Christ.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus was the daughter of Eli, of the tribe of Judah and of the lineage of David, hence in the royal line. In the summer of the year Mary, a virgin betrothed to Joseph, was living in Nazareth, the angel Gabriel came to her with a message from God and announced that she was to be the mother of the long-expected Messiah-that by the power of the Holy Spirit the everlasting Son of the Father should be born to her. Informed by the angel that her cousin Elizabeth was within three months of delivering a child, Mary set off to visit her. Immediately upon her entrance into the house “Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, ‘Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!'”
In a few months Joseph found that Mary was with child and he was determined to “put her away secretly” instead of yielding her up to the law to suffer the penalty he supposed she would incur. But being assured of the truth by an angel, he took her as his wife. Soon after Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to be enrolled for the taxing, and while there Jesus was born and laid in a manger. On the eighth day Jesus was circumcised. On the fortieth day after the nativity-until which time Mary could not leave the house (Lev 12:2-4)-she presented herself with her baby for their purification in the Temple. The poverty of Joseph and Mary is alluded to in the mention of their offering, “a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.” There she met Simeon and the prophetess Anna and heard their thanksgiving and prophecy (Luke 2:21-38).
Are we aware of just how important this story is? God, is a God of promises. God has kept the promise of the rainbow. Even though the waters of life rise around us, we take courage. Mary takes courage because she believes God’s promise.
Paul reminds the Church as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:17)
It is so easy to try to vilify Mary. Was Mary the Mother of Any Children Other Than Jesus? Advocates of her perpetual virginity assert that she was not. Churches even put to the test of faith on whether or not she was a virgin at the time of Jesus’ birth. In the New Testament, it was a moot question. At Jesus’ baptism, As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16) At that moment paternity was established and nothing else was important.
What makes Mary great is the faith she puts in the promises of God. As children, lost in the woods are fearful of the sinister darkness — then suddenly hearing a sound from the sombre blackness a familiar voice, a loving, seeking, helping voice, their mother’s voice– so prayer is our reply to the voice from the Word of God in Jesus Christ which suddenly cries out to us in the mysterious, dark universe. It is the father calling us out of the world’s darkness. He calls us, seeks us, wants to bring us to Himself. “Where are you, my child?” Our prayers mean, “Here I am, Father. I was afraid until you called. Since you have spoken, I am afraid no longer. Come, I am waiting for you, take me, lead me by the hand through the dark, terrifying world.”
Moses was a good man but someone who had difficulty believing in God’s promises.
Jesus took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
God did not have to promise anything to sinful people. But the fact that almost all biblical promises are those made by God to man indicates that His nature is characterized chiefly by grace and faithfulness. Grace prompted God to promise a new land to the Israelites. His faithfulness urged Him to fulfill that promise, despite of the nation’s disobedience. As Paul pointed out, God’s faithfulness and grace are particularly evident in His promise to Abraham. This promise was eventually fulfilled in the work of Christ. Christians should trust completely that God’s promise of eternal life is secure. God answers prayer; sometimes, when hearts are weak, He gives the very gifts believers seek.
Often faith must learn a deeper rest, and trust God’s silence, when He does not speak; for He whose name is Love will send the best. Stars may burn out, mountain walls might not endure, but God is true; His promises are sure to those who seek him.
I heard of a college student who asked his father for a car at the time of his departure for college. The father said to him, “I’ll give you a car if you’ll promise to read the Bible through while you’re away in school.” And the boy promised. On the day of the boy’s departure, a Bible was given to the boy, but nothing was said about the car. The boy departed; he spent four years on the college campus; and at the time of graduation, asked his dad why he had not kept his promise, giving him the auto as he had said. The father’s reply spoke volumes as he said: “There was a check in the Bible for your car. You promised to read the Bible. Had you kept your promise to me, you would have discovered that I had kept my promise to you.”