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The Song of Mary

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 14, 2022 12:00 am

The Song of Mary

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 14, 2022 12:00 am

Mary was just a teenage Jewish girl when the angel delivered to her the astounding message that God’s Son was inside her. How could she handle such a revelation? How could she be expected to raise the Savior of the world? Find out now as Stephen reminds us that God never makes mistakes when choosing His servants.

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Gabriel has come with the most significant message ever delivered to the human race and he's winging his way down through the galaxies and he's coming to specifically deliver the news that Messiah is about to be born. And where does he go? He doesn't go to the Holy City.

He doesn't go to the place of the religious, the place of the educated. He goes, he ignores all of that and wings his way by the command of God to Nazareth in Galilee. Nazareth, can any good thing come out of there? In his previous two messages, Stephen Davey has taken you to some songs written prior to the birth of Jesus and recorded for us in Scripture.

Today Stephen concludes this series called Prelude to Bethlehem. We're going to be in Luke 1 where an angel visits Nazareth with a message for Mary. If you had been Mary, would you have struggled with pride? What would it be like knowing that of all the people God could have chosen, he chose you to parent his son? Well, instead of boasting in herself, Mary's song is all about her Redeemer.

Stephen will give you a fresh look at the legacy of Mary today. As a senior in college, I went to this particular store that had an engagement ring for my, the one that I hoped would become my bride. She didn't know anything about it and I'd been saving up some money as best I could and the manager came out. I told him my story, told him I was looking for the biggest rock with the least amount of monthly indebtedness and he said, I know what you're looking for and he reached down and he pulled out this black velvet black cloth and he put it out onto the counter. Then he reached down again and he pulled out a pouch and he poured out the diamonds onto that black cloth. Beautiful diamonds and I looked at them and I wanted all of them, of course. They sparkled so incredibly and I picked one out and chose the setting and she said yes. Isn't that a miracle? That's the true miracle of this season. She said yes.

I learned a little lesson though. You know, sometimes the beauty of that object you're looking at is made more magnificent by its background. Dark, deep, black.

Those diamonds were magnificent because of its, the setting they were placed upon. You know what? It's true as we observe this season, the story we're talking about took place when the setting was dark. We've been talking about it through song already today, It's Midnight, in more than one way. The last verse of the Old Testament and the last word ends with the word curse.

It's dark. But into that setting the magnificent sparkle of this Son of God will emerge and we've been looking at the music that came just prior to his birth. We've listened as a prophet named Isaiah sang and a priest named Zacharias.

His tongue was loosened and he sang of that coming day star, that sunrise that would bring the brilliance of light to a dark world. Probably wasn't a younger composer than Mary who would write her own song. And I want you to turn to where that song is found in Luke chapter 1. Before we rush to the lyrics of Mary's hymn, I want us to discover her setting, her surprise, her submission, and then her song. Her family setting is given to us in Luke chapter 1 verse 26, where we read, now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth.

And we ought to stop there because that's enough to send shivers down any Orthodox Jewish spine. He came where? He delivered the message where?

Gabriel has come with the most significant message ever delivered to the human race and he's winging his way down through the galaxies and he's coming to specifically deliver the news that Messiah is about to be born. And where does he go? He doesn't go to the holy city. He doesn't go to the place of the religious, the place of the educated.

He goes, he ignores all of that and wings his way by the command of God to Nazareth in Galilee. Nazareth. That was a polluted little city filled with Roman soldiers and Gentile unbelievers.

It had no reputation. It was, in fact, by one author called a halfway stop, a shoddy corrupt place between the port cities of Tyre and Sidon. This city was so ill thought of that when Jesus Christ was calling his disciples, he called one named Nathaniel. And when Nathaniel learned that Jesus Christ had come from Nazareth, he responded in John 1 verse 46, Nazareth, can any good thing come out of there?

And that rhetorical question leads us to know what answer he expected. The answer would be no, nothing good comes out of Nazareth. Nothing at all, but something good would. Nazareth was on the other side of the tracks. By going to Nazareth, Gabriel and God who sent him ignored the places we would expect him to go. Surely he would wing his way and deliver the news to the daughter of Caiaphas, the high priest. She would be connected. She would know she would be ready. She would be the one to birth him.

No, he ignores the educated. He flies on past the pious and the most likely homes to raise the Messiah. And according to this text, he comes to Nazareth with this message. Verse 27 says he came to a virgin, engaged to a man whose name was Joseph of the descendants of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.

Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest news who ever come to planet earth was delivered in the most unlikely city to the most unlikely person. The message would have been delivered then to an illiterate teenage girl, poverty stricken like those around her, so poor that when she and Joseph eventually bring Jesus to dedicate them, they can only afford the poorest of sacrifices, a couple of pigeons. There would be no dowry. There was nothing but a difficult life for both of them. Neither family was wealthy, but the parents had negotiated their engagement and they were already betrothed.

That would be a year long period of time before the ceremony of wedding would take place and the vows given. The irony of this story at the very outset is the people involved, Joseph and Mary have nothing you would think to offer. And the irony is found, however, when you discover their family tree, not the tree in their yard, but the tree and the fly leaf of their King James Bible that I'm sure they had a copy of. That's where you wrote the aunts and uncles. You know, you have one, the grandparents, they were descendants of David.

You track their tree back far enough and you discover that their ancestor in the direct line of their own lineage was King David flowing through their veins, literally was royal, Jewish blood. They would know nothing of royalty. They would know nothing of the splendor of a palace. From all the indications of scripture, one author wrote, Mary's life would be anything but extraordinary. She would marry humbly. She would give birth to numerous poor children, perhaps never traveled further than a few miles from her home and one day die a nobody in a nothing town in the middle of nowhere. Isn't the gospel magnificent?

Doesn't it shine with great brilliance against a dark setting? To this day, the gospel flies on past the proud. It ignores the connections of religious people.

It's not impressed. The gospel of the Messiah still comes to people who are needy, people who know and recognize that they are unworthy. The Messiah would be born to a girl who would never have been considered worthy, an illiterate, untrained girl who lived, as it were, on the other side of the tracks.

But for her, life is going to change forever. Look at verse 28. And coming in, that is, Gabriel came in, we don't know if he knocked or just opened the door, came through the window. He came in and he said to her, hail, favored one, or greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you.

She was greatly troubled at this statement, this salutation, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. The angel said to her, don't be afraid, Mary, for you found favor with God. Now, the Latin Vulgate that goes back to the Middle Ages translated Gabriel's open remarks in verse 28, hail, Mary, full of grace. If Luke had wanted to communicate that she was full of grace, he would have said that. He would have used the same expression that he used of Stephen in Acts chapter 6, a follower of Jesus Christ, where he said that Stephen was full of grace. Gabriel is not telling Mary she's full of grace. He's not telling her that she's been chosen by God and she has found favor with God because of what she has done for God or who she is for God, but because of what God is about to do for her.

The hero in the story is God and his grace. Now, whenever you encounter Mary in the text of Scripture, there are two extremes that you can reach. One would be to magnify her, and there are millions today who do.

The other extreme would be to ignore her, and that would be wrong as well. Many magnify her role and believe today that she has a role of influencing the triune God. To influence the triune God, she would have to be deity herself, sinless and morally perfect. If the angel Gabriel here in this chapter is informing Mary that she has been chosen by God because she was already full of perfected grace, then she would have had to have been free from any and all sin. That, in fact, has been the doctrine dogmatized now for some 150 years from the statement of the Roman Church's leader who wrote from the first moment of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was kept free from stain of original sin. In other words, Mary never sinned. She didn't have a sin nature. She was free, as it were, from original sin. The Bible never says anything of Mary's perfection. The Bible does say that Jesus knew no sin, 2 Corinthians 5. The Bible does say that Jesus did no sin, 1 Peter 2. That Jesus had no sin, 1 John 3.

Warren Wiersbe wrote it this way. When Gabriel approached Mary, Mary did not say, it's about time. I've been expecting you.

I've lived a perfect life. I'm ready to mother the Messiah. Gabriel had come to explain to Mary not how she had lived a perfect life, but how she was going to be given the favor and grace of God, just like He came to you when you were redeemed and delivered to you. Grace, unworthy, not personally merited, but given as a gift. Well, that's one extreme, to magnify her and deify her, to magnify the servant rather than the sovereign.

The other extreme is to ignore her, to want to stay so far away from theological corruption that enlarges the role of Mary as even today, co-redeemer and co-mediator, that you overlook an incredible young woman who models faith, who is an example of surrender to the will of God, an amazing young woman. Notice what Gabriel goes on to say to her in verse 31. He says, behold, you shall conceive in your womb. You will bear a son and you shall name him Jesus and he will be great.

He will be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give him the throne of the Father David. In other words, this is a statement that he will be the fulfillment of all those messianic promises. And Mary said to the angel in verse 34, how can this be since I am a virgin? Now you remember if you were with us last Lord's Day when Gabriel came to Zacharias, an old man, and said, you and your aged wife are going to have a son. Zacharias didn't believe it and his first response was, I need proof.

That was a statement of unbelief. Mary's not responding in that way. She didn't ask the question in verse 34 because she doubted the promise. She asked the question in verse 34 because she didn't understand the process.

How does a virgin conceive? So Gabriel explained in verse 35, look there, the angel answered and said to her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. The word overshadow is the Greek word used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint as it relates to the presence of God as it were hovering in the Holy of Holies. Mary's womb in a very real way will become the Holy of Holies. God will overshadow her and bring about conception. So you will have the offspring that is fully man and yet fully God. Do you understand that?

We would all be unanimous if we were truthful and say, I don't understand that. Do you think Mary did? No, I don't think Mary understood it. But she responds in verse 38 by saying, behold, the bond slave of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. She responds with surrender and submission. Behold, the bond slave of the Lord.

I would expect her to say, behold, you've got the wrong girl or behold, I'm out of here. Behold, choose somebody else for this. Behold, I am the servant of the Lord. If that's what God wants, that's what God gets. Reminds me of the testimony of a college student, a young gal who was standing giving a testimony before her peers and she held up a blank sheet of paper and she said, I'm holding in my hand the will of God for my life and I've signed it here. The only thing on this piece of paper was her signature. She said, I don't know what his will for me is yet, but I've gone ahead and signed it.

I'll be willing to obey whenever he reveals what he wants me to do. That's the surrender of Mary. Now we know from other accounts in the gospels that Mary went to Joseph to explain to him she's carrying a baby. She explained that an angel had come to see her. She explained to him that her womb had been overshadowed by God, that her womb was in fact the Holy of Holies. This was the will of God and Joseph said, that's an amazing story.

I don't believe you. He loved her, but he didn't believe her. So he decided to put her away privately. A betrothal period in this culture was as good as marriage. In fact, if a spouse was killed or died during the betrothal period, the woman would be called a widow. A divorce would have to take place. You can't imagine, I can't imagine the grief in both her hearts. Joseph is thinking the woman I planned to marry has been unfaithful.

Mary is thinking the man I planned to marry no longer trusts me. What great grief and heartache. The immediate result of God's will in Mary's life brought great pain. We would assume that when God brings his will and we obey it, that it brings great joy.

To her, it brought great sorrow. But then, before Joseph can take care of that private divorcement, an angel comes to visit him in a dream. You remember saying all that stuff about the Holy Spirit and God's conception within her womb and the overshadowing of Mary and it's all true.

It's all true, Joseph. Who would believe it? I know their immediate family wouldn't believe her or him. The neighbors, you can only imagine what they'd think. They live for this kind of stuff.

They're not going to believe it. The Talmud going back centuries will call Mary the mistress of Panthera, a Roman soldier, and Jesus their illegitimate boy. In fact, years later when Jesus Christ began his ministry, the Pharisees are trying to trap him and they can't. And they finally in their frustration blurt out to him in John 8 41, we were not born out of fornication like you were. We know your story.

We know all about your mother. He never would outlive that during his earthly ministry, which means Mary never did either. Mary, I get the idea that she sort of flees to one couple that would believe their story, an old man named Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth.

She's carrying a baby and that's quite a miracle. And if anybody will believe Mary, it's them. And so Luke tells us later on in this chapter that Mary goes to visit Elizabeth and she'll stay there for three months. As soon as Mary walks in the door, the baby within the womb of Elizabeth leaps for joy. He's already been anointed, we're told, by the Holy Spirit while he's still in the womb, this prophet to be John the Baptizer. As soon as Mary walks in carrying the coming Messiah, he leaps in her womb. And those women have this fellowship time that only they would ever understand, only they could ever experience. One carries the prophet who announces the Messiah and the other one carries the Messiah.

Imagine that. Then Mary begins to sing. I have about five or six stanzas in her song. We were traditional Baptists, we'd sing the first two and skip to the last, but let's go through all of them. Mary said, my soul exalts the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. The first thing she does is she praises God for her salvation. Don't forget now that Mary needed saving too. Mary needed a Savior too. She is rejoicing that God's redemptive plan is now culminating, that her Redeemer is living. My soul exalts the Lord, my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, just as the words of a more recent song go.

The one whom she delivered would soon deliver her. The second stanza is praise to God for her testimony. Verse 48, for he has regard for the humble state of his bond slave for behold, from this time on generations will count me blessed.

That would be true. You hear the testimony of Mary, this illiterate girl that is pulled out of that setting and given such grace and favor by God that she would bear the Messiah and you would have to say Mary's blessed. Those of you that have come to faith in Jesus Christ, you have a testimony too, where you are unworthy, but God redeemed you. And when you share that testimony, people would say you're blessed.

You have been redeemed. God has given you grace, great favor. She praises God for his power. Verse 49, for the mighty one has done great things for me and holy is his name. In the fourth stanza, she sings praise to God for his mercy. You ought to just circle all the attributes of God you find throughout this great hymn. His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear him.

In the fifth stanza, she sings praise to God for displaying his sovereignty in at least three different ways. Number one, by exalting the humble. Verse 51, he has done mighty deeds with his arm. He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones. He has exalted those who were humble. She praises God that he is exalting the humble. She praises God that he is enriching the hungry. Verse 53, he has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich, empty handed. By the way, as you studied this hymn, you notice that each phrase is simply a quote from the Old Testament scripture.

These really aren't original words. They've all been given before, which lets us know that she was a young lady that had learned well in the synagogue, unable to read like all of those around her as a girl not given theological training. And yet in the synagogue and in her home, she'd heard and she had been told these stories and given these key phrases and she has memorized them.

She has played them over and over again in her mind. And now she's putting them together under the inspiring leadership of the Holy Spirit and coming out with his great hymn. Her thoughts of God are wonderful. Her thoughts of God are high. Somebody once said that you are no better than your best thought of God.

What are your thoughts of God? To her, God is powerful. To her, God is sovereign in the management of her own personal world. To her, God exalts the humble and enriches the hungry. But he also, thirdly, establishes the helpless. She sings in verse 54, he has given help to Israel his servant in remembrance of his mercy as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

End of song. Mary, verse 56, will stay with Elizabeth about three months and then return to her home. You know, from a human perspective, the timing of this is terrible. Why wouldn't God wait to deliver the news after Joseph and Mary had exchanged their vows? Why not bring about that miraculous conception before Joseph and Mary consummate their marriage? Send the angel then.

Joseph would never have doubted Mary and Mary would never have been accused of unfaithfulness. The truth is, at the very outset of what will be a very controversial period of time, about three and a half years after the birth and ministry as the ministry of Jesus begins, some 33 years of controversy, God is teaching them here and now that being used by God is not necessarily a life of ease. It is a life of surrender. And so you find her at the outset still singing. You know, the most difficult times to sing are during difficult times. And if you notice, Mary's song says nothing of life back in Nazareth. It offers no solution for that which she'll encounter. It doesn't answer her suffering. Or does it? Does it?

It does. If you notice that focus is not on herself, but on God, who is Savior, God who is the Mighty One, God who is merciful, God who is sovereign, God who is powerful. And 2000 years after she sang this song, the words still resonate with men and women who have placed their faith in the Redeemer. Even when times are black and dark, the magnificence of this truth related to the Redeemer shines forth. And we know, we know these lyrics are true.

We know they're true. So in good times and when days are difficult, this prelude to Bethlehem is the truth, the song of Isaiah, the song of Zacharias, the song of Mary. If you're a child of God, the songs we've been looking at the last three days are your songs. Stephen's calling this three part series prelude to Bethlehem.

He looked at the song of Isaiah, the song of Zacharias, and of course the song of Mary. If you missed the previous two lessons, or if you'd like to go listen to them again, we posted them to our website. You'll find them at You can go there anytime because we post the complete archive of all Stephen's teaching to that site.

We also post each day's broadcast. So if you ever miss one of these lessons, you can go to our website and keep caught up with our daily Bible teaching ministry. Stephen has been teaching the Bible for over 36 years.

In that time, he's preached hundreds of sermons. That means that there's a large collection of biblically faithful resources available to you. You'll find that collection of sermons organized by Book of the Bible. If there's a particular book that you want to study, and if Stephen has preached through it, you can listen or read each message.

All of that content is available to you free of charge. You can access it anytime at And if you haven't seen it, I encourage you to install the Wisdom International app to your phone or tablet. Once you do, you can take this Bible teaching ministry wherever you go. You can follow along with both the Wisdom Journey and Wisdom for the Heart. You can have access to the library of Stephen's 36 years of Bible teaching. All of his sermons are available on that app. You can listen to each one or read Stephen's manuscript. You can read the daily devotional, read Stephen's blog, follow along in our year-long Bible reading plan, and much more. Just about all of our online resources are available on the app as well. Simply go to the app store for your device and search for Wisdom International.

We're in the iTunes and the Google Play stores. Thanks again for joining us today. We'll bring you more Christmas messages in the days ahead. Join us next time for more Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-18 10:12:14 / 2022-12-18 10:22:17 / 10

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