Luke 1:46-55 (NKJV) And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”
I needed this today. This reminder of a woman whose life suddenly was turned topsy turvy. To hear magnificent faith in the midst of utter chaos. It doesn’t really matter what you are facing today. It could seem small and insignificant to others. If it causes our thoughts to be scattered and heart to be pressed, it is definitely meaningful to the beholder. I have three daughters. All of them react and respond differently to challenges rather real or perceived. Some are more vocal sharing every feeling, impulse and emotion with the world. Others are more reserved in their thinking and not so easily moved. They are three individual and unique young women. All can become scattered. I think it is somewhat safe to assume that Mary was a bit scattered. Emotionally and spiritually torn apart in the revelation that she would be the mother of the Messiah. How exciting! However, she would probably wondering how in the world she would ever convince the world she was a virgin. She would be judged, accused and shunned. She would be cast out from the religious community that once embraced her. She knew she was carrying God’s Child. However, knowledge doesn’t hold our hand when we are hurting, hug us when we are lonely or wipe the tears shed in solitude.
I hate roller coasters. I don’t like how fast they go. I am not a fan of how they take you to great heights just to drop you in thin air. I don’t like my stomach in my throat. I find it pointless to overcome fear for a 60-second thrill ride that I had to wait an hour to board. Just my perspective. I like life smooth and steady. Well-planned, completely organized and at a steady pace. I like routine. I prefer scheduling. I don’t like drama. This is not reality. Life is hard. It’s a struggle. There will be highs and lows. Sudden twists and turns. Constant change and rapid developments that shake my comfort, convenience and control. Sometimes, my sweet friend, it’s not life doing it. God scatters us sometimes, too.
Genesis 11:5-9 (NKJV) But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts…
God scatters people. He will scatter me. I am given to comfort, convenience and control. I love it. It breeds complacency. It begins to eat away confidence in Christ to feed my pride and self-sufficiency. This is a danger. It causes us to believe that our Christian walk is leading us to Christ when it has become a pathway of religion away from Him. This was the problem in the Old Testament. The Scribes and Pharisees had become eaten up with pride. They looked down on God’s People or His Sheep rather than properly caring for them. What better way to wreck religion then to send the Savior into the word via a teenage pregnancy out-of-wedlock and then plan His Arrival in a stable. I’m just saying…God wrecked the ideology of human exaltation in the details of His Son’s birth.
If our unity doesn’t perpetuate effective ministry – God will scatter it as well. Ezekiel 34 tells the story of irresponsible shepherds. It say, “the weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed the sick, or bound up the broken, nor brought back the driven away, nor sought what was lost.” God will shake it up if necessary because of His Faithfulness, Goodness and Love. He will not allow us to get lost in the process of redemption. He insists on full restoration. He loves revival but only of that which is fruitful.
John 10:11-18 (NKJV) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Sheep don’t intend to get lost. They just wander off in their own direction. Taking their eyes off the shepherd, just eating grass along the way minding their own business. People are seldom good shepherds due to flaws, weakness and imperfection. The only Good Shepherd is Jesus Christ. Oh, now don’t get your knickers in a twist – I am not coming against the man or woman of God pastoring, teaching, guiding or leading you through this life. However, they are human beings just like you. They are also under the headship, leadership and guidance of the Good Shepherd. Our full expectation must remain in Christ for apart from Him – our purpose, plan and promises are inaccessible. God created us with a plan. A future and hope designed for each sheep in every pasture. He sent His Son – Jesus to us to be our Shepherd. If you feel scattered, broken, alone or lost – it is time to look up!
The Shepherd is always providing and protecting His Sheep including every facet of their life. They must only enter the Gate – Christ alone to have access to every benefit and blessing that the Father has to offer. Our feelings get in the way sometimes. Our vision becomes limited and horizontal. Our flesh tells us the grass is greener somewhere else. Did you know that every blade of grass comes from a seed? It comes from a grass seed. You get to choose the variety of seed. To have a nice lawn requires attention. You have to remove the weeds. Water it. Fertilize it. Care for it. Christians need to stop fence jumping and enter the gate – sowing seeds of faith and waiting for them to grow in the pasture God has placed you. When I am scattered, I want to run. Jump off the promise I’ve been standing on. Try something new. Go somewhere different. I know immediately it is time to seek out the Shepherd. He is good. He is faithful. He laid down His Life for me to have access to the best life ever. I must trust Him enough to not give in to my feelings, emotions, situations, circumstances or conditions. He will always see me through to something better than I could think, ask or imagine. Jesus longs to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can think or ask. He is ready to make a masterpiece of your life including all the scattered and broken pieces. Why? Jesus loves you, friend. Just a reminder…something I needed to be reminded of, too!
Psalm 23 (NKJV) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.