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December 23, 2020 12:01 am
The Lord never forgets His promises to His people and never fails to keep them. Today, R.C. Sproul considers how God's faithfulness to His covenant brought about the incarnation of His Son.
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Mary was a young teenager when an angel appeared and told her that she would be the mother of the Messiah. She didn't understand all the steps of theology. She couldn't fathom everything she was overwhelmed when Gabriel said she was going to conceive a child. How can this please. She said that answer of the answer was Mary God. That's how it can be welcome to Renewing Your Mind on this Wednesday I'm doing that sometimes our celebration of Christmas can become all about the trapping the tree the gives the food and fellowship. All good things, but this week Dr. RC Sproul was reminding us what this season is really about the incredible power of God and his sovereign care for his people today.
RC continues his look at chapter 1 and Mary's song of praise, known as the Magnificat by last week we looked the early parts of the Magnificat about the rejoicing of Mary about the character and the nature of her God and she stressed the mighty power of God. The holiness of God and the mercy of God and in the last part of our consideration. The last time we looked at the strength of God's right arm, and in this section of the Magnificat.
Mary focuses attention on the power of God before I expound on that. Let me say what this is about is that Mary's song in a very real way celebrates the providence of God, a concept that is all but disappeared from the thinking and the speaking of Christian people.
When we look to the providence of God.
We look to that sense in which God sustains and governs sovereignly his entire creation. It's not as though God created the universe, then stepped back out of the picture and put in parent laws into nature like the DS version of the years and wound up the universe like a clock and let the clock run down on its own state.
No what God creates.
He sustains not just over the long haul, but moment by moment. Second by second, every moment of history unfolds under his omnipotent divine government.
I mentioned when we first looked at the Magnificat that Mary's song is replete with allusions and references to the Old Testament you can see the influence of the Psalms.
Surely, throughout this particular song and if there was any axiom, any central theme that defined the entire faith of Old Testament Israel.
It was this fundamental assertion, dear friends, the Lord God omnipotent rain's that God is the Lord, and there is none other. And in his omnipotence. He is the king of all things. Not like Aristotle's first cause Will Durant wants like into the king of England. The do-nothing king who reigns but doesn't rule the Lord God omnipotent not only ranges but he rules over all things, and again in this doctrine of the government of God in his providence. It means simply this, he raises kingdoms up. He brings kingdoms down there is no one who exercises power in this world apart from the sovereign government of God.
At Christmas we celebrate the one who comes whose government is upon his shoulders and to whom the father gives the authority to reign with a government that will have no end. We fuss and fret and stew and work every day about the problems that we face in the earthly governments of this world, even in our own nation and sometimes we just forget who really is running things around here and who is the Lord God omnipotent who reigns now Mary celebrates the strength of the right arm of God and then she continues to use some images that I find marvelous from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm. He scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, and is put down the mighty from their thrones.
Think of that imagery known. I read that I've I think of two men that are avid chess players and they take their seats at the chess table and meticulously and methodically with great care in preparation assign each chess man to its particular assigned place on the chessboard and now with all of the competitive juices stirring within their hearts. They sit down and gaze intently at the board contemplating their first move when all of a sudden unexpectedly somebody comes along sticks out his right arm go/and knocks all those chess pieces on the ground, scattering them elder skill. That's what I see when I read this text, only instead of chess pieces, ponds and bishops of knights and kings and queens. I see the monarchs of the ages, the Nebuchadnezzar's of the past, the pharaohs of ancient Egypt standing and pompous might before Almighty God in a posture of utter defiance. I think I can't help but think of Psalm two review that for you quickly when we read why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together. This describes a summit meeting of the most powerful potentates in the face of the globe who come together to join their forces to rebel against God, and they say they take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bonds in pieces. Let us cast away their cords from us. Let us declare our liberty.
Let us have our Declaration of Independence from Almighty God, we are the kings of the world. Let's be done with the restraints accordance that bind us the laws that inhibit us comes from on high. Let's rebel against him, and against his anointed, the response of God's classic we read he who sits in the heavens shall tremble and cower in fear at this massive power of these earthly potentates.
That's not what your Bible says that's not what my Bible says he who sits in the heavens shall lie. God looks down and sees all the nuclear weaponry of the earth assembled, pointed at heaven and he looks down at this power adhesive is take his arm scatters the proud with this arm. The Lord will have them in derision. The psalmist says I know Mary knew that song.
She goes on to say he has put down the mighty from their thrones.
Again, think of the imagery that she uses here how in the ancient world, one king would try to have a higher level of exultation than the neighboring ruler and the way in which they measured their opulence was by the kind of throne that they established how high it was. What was it made out of wasn't made out of ivory where the robes of the King from Herman or mink and they would use every one of these symbols of power to puff themselves up and you see Nebuchadnezzar or Pharaoh seated aloof in his palace on this throne.
And all of a sudden you see the Celine come out. There's a little tug at the bottom of his row with a little tug is from the Lord God omnipotent just like that God topples the throne. These monarchs drags the mighty down from their positions of exultation and in contrast to that, he raises up and exults those of low degree. This would be received by time.
Many I don't have a throne with established a lowly handmaiden of the Lord my degree is low in our culture, and yet God has raised me up just as he raised Israel up out of the ashes of the Exodus in the Old Testament. He is filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty again antithetical parallelism here stark contrast.
The first case, God in his mercy and his providence has provided for the poor. This pre-supposes sermon that Mary son will preach one day in years to come. Blessed are the poor, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for the will be filled, eat food for which you have not paid. Drink the water from wells you have not built but the flows freely from our God.
And so Mary says he feels the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty.
Let's be careful here.
There is not throughout Scripture and absolute negation or condemnation of the rich.
But there is a universal condemnation of God against the rich who are the self satisfied rich for those who see no sense of dependence upon their redeeming God the bootstrap mentality.
People who think that everything that they have earned. They have made without any assistance from the mercy and grace of God. People who think they are self-sufficient, run a severe risk of the opposition of God himself when he declares he gives grace to the humble.
But he resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. But he resists the proud, nothing any to say about the rich in Scripture.
When the judgment of God comes upon the rich in Scripture.
In most cases that judgment is not directed against the merchant class of Israel. It's not that God was the original protester Wall Street, but rather the rich that are often in view of the rulers who use their seats of authority like Ahab to exploit the people and sell the poor for a pair of shoes, and God will fill the hungry with good things, says Mary, in contrast to that the looks of the self-sufficient, arrogant, rich, and sends them away empty for self-sufficient wealthy person. There is no worse consequence, they can imagine than to go away empty. To have the things that fill them with possessions be removed to lose everything in its God who gives grace to the poor and its God who will take away from the self-sufficient rich because it is the Lord who gives and it's the Lord who takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Again, let me go back briefly to the Old Testament of the book of Isaiah where the prophet hears the word of God and we read in Isaiah 45. These words and Israel. My elect. I have even called you by your name.
I have named you even though you have not known me. Here's the refrain throughout this chapter, I am the Lord. There is no other. There is no God beside me and I will gird you even though you have not known me that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides me. I am the Lord. There is no other. I form the light, I create the darkness, I make peace, and I create calamity. I am the Lord who do all these things. This is the sovereignty of God. This is his providence. When we sometimes have a na´ve view of God that we look at the things of God through rose colored glasses that all good things. Yes, come from the hands of God, but any problems or suffering reflections are far removed from you know now he brings peace he brings calamity he fills. He empties he heals. He hurts and I hear people say that they pray and pray experience unanswered prayers that no such thing as an unanswered prayer that God's no is just as much an answer as God's yes and it is this same God that says yes that says not when we plead our case with him the same one who was holy, the same one who was merciful the same one who does all things well this little girl, Mary. She didn't understand all the steps of theology because she couldn't fathom everything she was overwhelmed when Gabriel said she was going to conceive a child.
How can this be, she said that answer of the answer was Mary herself to be God. That's how it can be the sovereign one.
There is no other and she finishes this song in a magnificent style. He has helped his servant Israel.
This may be my favorite part, in remembrance of his mercy as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seat forever member David scribe bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all is benefits are tendency as Christians is to be as strong in our faith is the recollection of our latest blessing, but we forget all the benefits that God is poured out on us in our lives. That's our tendency. That's our nature to forget, but that's one of the ways beloved in which we differ so profoundly from God.
God simply does not know how to forget.
Once God makes a promise to his people. It's in stone is forever, that promise can't be broken.
It will never be forgotten hears Mary at a time when the national faith of her people was at a low ebb. The spiritual vitality of Israel at the time of the coming of Jesus was ghastly in those few people like Elizabeth and Zechariah Joseph and Mary who kept the faith handed down through the ages felt all alone and they were asking where squares God now in the Magnificat.
She sings yes he remembers he remembered the covenant that he made with Abraham and with our fathers forever. That's the God we come to worship of the God of Providence, the God of promises, the God who doesn't know how to forget promises to Abraham and to his seed. Mary's Magnificat. The word comes from the Latin and means to magnify Mary's hymn of praise to God for his faithfulness is a model of trust and a great example for us. Thanks for listening to Renewing Your Mind is Wednesday by we Webb Benda preparing for Christmas, and a couple of days means that the many of us unfortunately are way too busy and distracted. Our goal for the program this week is to help us focus our minds on what the season is really all about.
And I think our resource offer today will be a similar help to you throughout the year is Dr. RC Sproul's commentary on the Gospel of Luke. It's a 600 page hardbound volume that gives you RC's easy-to-read insight into every verse we bite you to contact us today with a donation of any amount and will be glad to send it your way, you can make a request when you go online to Renewing Your Mind.org work when you call us at 800-435-4343 in this commentary. Dr. Spruill helps you understand the history the setting and the culture in every chapter and so again for your donation of any amount will send it to you our phone number again is 800-435-4343 in our web address is Renewing Your Mind.org when you contact us.
Let me encourage you to ask about table talk magazine. It's been a publication for more than 40 years and each monthly issue is full of helpful articles from trusted theologians must daily Bible studies and it makes a great last-minute gift for Christmas.
You can learn more when you click the gift tab table talk magazine.com what tomorrow will share another message from Dr.'s groceries in the Gospel of Luke, the birth of John the Baptist fulfilled Old Testament prophecy and set the stage for the coming of the Messiah will learn more about that tomorrow, Christmas Eve here on Renewing Your Mind