An Explanation of Belief

In a small town (village) was a young woman, the age of which is unknown, but perhaps as young as her early to mid-teen years. She had a character that stood before all who paid any attention, and certainly the Lord did (Luke 1:30). Her name was Mary, and Mary did not have to be the way the Holy Spirit described her to be, but she chose a path in life that was above the paths many lived.

About 6 months after the grand (and divine) visit with Zacharias, Gabriel visited Mary in the small town of Nazareth. No doubt, Mary was startled by such a visit and, presumably, in a location that had privacy all around “he” visits with her. Frightened, perplexed, and confused, the angel reassured her because she was “blessed among women” (Luke 1:28). “What manner of visit could this be?” she asked.

What the Lord’s messenger said was humbly received with the grace by which she lived her life. That which the angel told her was fantastic to be sure. She would carry a child in her womb, a son; more than that, the child would sit on the throne of David, the great patriarch and loved servant of the Lord (Luke 1:33-34). Though she did not know how this could be, she not once expressed doubt but that it could be!

The angel explained to her how this would come about, and just as she did not understand the “mechanics” of it then, we do not now understand today. She accepted this, and moreover, the angel gave her a sign, telling her about her relative Elizabeth now being six months pregnant. Can you imagine the joy at such news! Yet, there was a natural, physical problem. Joseph.

For three months she stayed with Elizabeth (Luke 1:56). I wonder if they talked about how to handle that situation (among the great many things a grandmotherly aged woman would teach to a very young woman). Mary knew, being raised in a strict Jewish environment, that people would note her pregnancy and that she and Joseph were not “officially” married, having consummated that union. Imagine her apprehension; yet, Joseph came to know (Matthew 1:18-19), but how he came to know is untold to us. Perhaps Mary broke the news to him, but the fantastic nature of such a thing seemed much too extraordinary to believe, much less accept.

Not only was Mary a young woman of great virtue, but there was something in Joseph that was equally the same, for the Holy Spirit called him a “righteous man” (Mt. 1:19), and because both were righteous in the Lord’s eyes, to these two the Savior was brought into the world.

Truly, a time for thanksgiving.

#belief, #gabriel, #mary, #virgin-birth, #virtue

a visit from Gabriel

In Daniel 9, Daniel records that when Darius the Mede began to reign over the Chaldeans, he (Daniel) read the prophecy of Jeremiah about the number of years that were left to complete the desolation of Jerusalem. Daniel then uttered one of the humblest, most heartfelt, honest prayers recorded in Scripture. While he was still praying, Gabriel came to him and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”

Two things here give me chills. First, the phrase you are highly esteemed. Men have speculated for millennia about the nature of events in the spiritual realm. One would think that in such heavenly assemblies, men would be regarded as lowly and weak. What are men in comparison with angels–at least at this point in time? Yet the text here says that Daniel was highly esteemed. Angels held Daniel in high regard. What a compliment paid to the value and worth of those who do what is right in the eyes of God.

Second, the command was issued at the beginning of Daniel’s supplications. They didn’t even wait until he was done praying! Yet it seems that the command could not be issued until he prayed. How many blessings do we miss out on because we simply do not ask?

Lord, give us the courage to pray, the wisdom to know what to pray for, and the integrity that allows us to be heard.

#angels, #daniel, #gabriel, #integrity, #prayer, #wisdom