Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Magnificat

"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with His arm; He scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spake unto our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever." - Luke 1:46-55.

Greater joy filled the heart of Mary because of the fact that as a mother she might take her place among Israel's women, who in bringing forth their children labored in the blessed hope of the realization of the promise made to the fathers in times of yore. In the midst of sorrow the eye of these covenant women, believing the promise and looking for a heavenly country with faithful Abraham, looked hopefully far beyond the present and the things of this world, toward the blessed and everlasting reign of David's mighty Son. In this hope shared Mary. She looked forward to the realization of Israel's hope. But even this, though distinguishing her from so many thousands of women that labored in vain because they were laboring merely for the world, was not the cause of Mary's supreme joy and blessedness.

For even among these covenant women and believing Israelitish mothers, Mary occupied a place of unique distinction. Had not the angel that is standing before God mysteriously dropped the message from heaven that she would be mother though still a virgin? And had he not explained upon her anxious query how these things might be, that the power of the Most High would overshadow her and that He who was to be her Son forever would be called the Son of God and sit on David's throne forever? Were they, by heavenly injunction, not to call the name of her Son Jesus, because He would save His people from their sin? Mother of Israel's Savior, Mary was to be; the King of Kings was to assume her own flesh and blood! This was her unique privilege from the Lord.

And this glad hope was to be realized that very night!

But there was no place for them, not even in the inn. And because there was no place for them, there was no room for Him to Whom she was to give birth.

And it happened that even at the very moment of His birth, Jesus was crowded out to the very edge of the world. Born in a stable, laid in a manger!

Because there was no room for Him in the inn!
- "The Mystery of Bethlehem" by Herman Hoeksema, pp. 75-76.

One thing that I have learnt this year is that covenant mothers are greatly blessed (Prov. 31:28-31). Still today, they are blessed in bearing covenant children for they are the Lord's heritage (Psa. 127:3-5; Gen. 24:60), and now the mystery has been revealed that His church includes every tongue, tribe, and nation (Psa. 87:4-6; Eph. 3:3-6; Rev. 5:9). I've learnt that this is still one of the main ways that God uses to build up His church and gather His elect (Rom. 9:6-8; Acts 2:39; Isa. 59:21). It is one of the ways in which God accomplishes our salvation, since the Lord will not return to save us through the final judgment of this present evil age, until every last one of His elect has been brought to repentance (II Pet. 3:7-13). Not only are covenant mothers saved through child-bearing which is also the Lord's work in them (Psalm 127:1; I Tim. 2:15), but our salvation too in this way is brought in the way of their bearing of covenant children.

What an inestimable blessing the children of believing parents are (Psa. 128:3-6; Prov. 17:6; Mal. 2:15)! How important is our faithfulness in rearing them, and instructing them in the way of righteousness and holiness (Isa. 54:13; Matt. 28:20; Eph. 6:4; Psa. 78:1-8) - to trust only in our Saviour, being clothed in His righteousness only, and to be sanctified by the Spirit, consecrated to God in His loving service. And in this way too, covenant children are hated and despised by the world as Christ was. The world rejects us, because we are not of the world (John 15:18-19), even though for a short time we must labour and suffer in it (II Cor. 4:17; Phil. 1:29). For the elect covenant children too, there is no room in the inn.

But though we cannot find an earthly tabernacle in this present evil world ruled by Satan and his minions (Eph. 2:2; I John 2:15-16; Heb. 13:12-14), our fellowship is with our Father and His Son Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us (I John 1:3; I Cor. 6:19-20). Our tabernacle is with Him, and is heavenly (Rev. 21:2-4; Heb. 12:22-24). And so, when once more God will shake the world to remove all the reprobate chaff and all that may be shaken, our unshakeable tabernacle will remain (Heb. 12:26-29), and we will be with the Lord our Saviour forever. Let us not labour for what perishes, but for what will endure in the world to come (John 6:27; Matt. 6:19-21)!

How blessed covenant mothers are, to be used of God in such a marvellous way to build up His church, against which the gates of hell will not prevail (Matt. 16:18). And what hope we have still, when children of the church are born, children of Abraham (Gal. 3:29; Gen. 15:5) who must be innumerable as the stars of heaven and the sand of the shores! And when all have been gathered to His tabernacle, despite all the raging of the heathen (Psa. 2:1-8), as we see the signs of the times, our salvation will finally come.

"O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast helped me, and comforted me." - Psalm 86:16-17.

Happy Christmas to all the saints who love the Lord and the brethren unfeignedly!

Sam W.

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