In a year as tumultuous as 2020 has been, it can be hard to see where God has been at work. As we pick up where we left off in the Christmas story, we’ll find encouragement for all the problems we face, no matter how big or small––because it’s in some of the humblest circumstances that God works in the most unexpected and powerful ways. And when Mary saw God work, it inspired her to write a beautiful song of praise
1. God works for the humble
- Mary’s song describes how God works for the humble. We don’t need to defend ourselves because God will do it for us. We don’t need to “help” God fulfill his word to us. At some point, God brings to light what’s really going on because he vindicates his humble followers.
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 implies that we can pray with or without humility. But it is the humble prayer God responds to. It is when his people first humble themselves and pray that he begins the work of healing that they have longed to see.
- If you really love someone, you will have a healthy fear of breaking their heart. In every relationship there’s an aspect of compromise that has to happen to keep a relationship strong. Our fear of the Lord keeps us humble, which keeps us from disobeying him. As we follow God in humility, he not only works for us, he actively works against the proud.
Take a few minutes to search your heart, and invite the Holy Spirit to show you any ways you are walking in pride.
2. God works in unexpected ways
- Everything about Jesus––his birth, his life, his death, his resurrection––shows us that God loves to work within his world in ways that are completely unexpected and sometimes even “unnatural” by our standards.
- Isaiah 55:8-9 says God’s ways are not our ways. Sometimes that sounds scary to us. But the reason God’s ways are not our ways is because his ways are infinitely better, kinder and more loving. We cling to our own way of doing things, but the truth is that God’s way is always superior, but we have to believe that if we are ever going to surrender to it.
- We have to maintain a humble way of life. Humility is the road to the realization of God’s healing and goodness. When we walk in humility, we can embrace his ways and enjoy what he’s doing in the present moment.
How can you embrace God’s ways? Is there anything happening right now that is surprising you? How are you responding?
3. God works according to Scripture
- Part of God’s ways being so different from ours is the way he works according to Scripture, fulfilling what he has already revealed to us in the Bible. If we feel that God is changeable, or he is the one that is shifting, we need a reality check. God is faithful through and through. While the culture and the human heart shift and change, God is who he always was and always will be.
- Amos 3:7 says God reveals what he’s going to do to his prophets. We always have to check current words from God against the revealed Word of God in the Bible. The ultimate test of prophecy is if it comes to pass. To test cultural wisdom against the Bible, we have to know the Bible.
How well do you know God’s Word? How can you grow in your knowledge of the Bible?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?