(Originally posted November 11, 2009)
Favor and blessing. How do these two things connect? What exactly does "blessing" look like? Let's see what the Oxford Dictionary has to say about "blessing". noun: invoking favor, a gift of God, favor of God, advantage, good fortune.
28. And coming in, he said to her, "Hail, favored one! The Lord [is] with you." 29. But she was greatly troubled at [this] statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this might be. 30. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33. and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end."
34. And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" 35. And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. 36. "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37. "For nothing will be impossible with God." 38. And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
I keep hearing the phrase, "Blessing follows obedience." It's a concept that I have learned over the years. Not always in an easy way. I'm a pretty bullheaded, stubborn person, in the natural. I have tendency to do what I think is best. I make up my mind and then I can steamroll right over you; that is part of my nature. It is a quality that can be good, especially when things need to be done, but sometimes it doesn't particularly set well with God. It's been a hard lesson for me to be "submissive" to the Lord, He and I have gotten in a tangle of two over the years. Believe me, He is loving and kind, but there are times, He has had to sit on me to get me to pay attention. He's a good parent; a much better parent than I could ever hope to be. I lose my patience, get mad, give in, compromise, (but not in a good way), be harsh, be neglectful,etc. You know what I mean. I'm a human being and sometimes not a glowing example.
I believe Mary was a young woman who had learned submissiveness, which resulted in favor, which resulted in blessing. When we talked about the Samaritan woman, I mentioned the scripture from Matthew 11:28-29, concerning taking the yoke that Jesus offers us. If we get in step with Jesus, and go where He wants to go, the "burden" is lifted off of us and we let Him shoulder it.
Jesus wants us to get in step with Him, not running off on our own. How many times that has happened to me, and unfortunately I have paid a heavy price. This is where many people that don't know God would scream that they don't want to become a mindless zombie and be like everyone else. That is a good point. God appreciates our individuality, but He's not asking us to become like everyone else. He's asking us to become like Him. Then our individuality shines through in His likeness.
When we submit to Him and get in step with Him, He can work with us. He takes us under His arm and says, "Great, OK, now we can start to get somewhere. I'm showing you my favor because you are looking to me."
1. My son,(and daughters) do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2. For length of days and years of life, And peace they will add to you. 3. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. 5. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
Mary was a young woman who kept His commandments in her heart, wore truth around her neck, allowed Him to write them on her heart. The result was that she found favor with God, and man. She trusted in the Lord with all her heart, even though she did not understand how all this could be. She acknowledged Him and the result was He made her path straight. When we do these things, God "obliges" Himself to watch over us. He favors us, and then blesses us with His powerful Presence. He walks ahead of us on the path, and Blessings follow.
Mary had a lot to go through. She had "signed on" for a path that would not be easy. She trusted God, no matter what, and because of that she ultimately received the highest Blessing any woman could seek. She received God's presence in a way that none of us will ever fully know. We may not be able to carry the Son of Man in our "womb", but we can all carry Him in our hearts.
And that's where the blessing lies. Not just in material goods, happiness, or fulfillment of our desires, but the blessing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Then, and only then, will we find our highest and best. Sometimes that includes all the things we reach for in our life here on Earth. Sometimes wealth, fame, and happiness, but true Blessing only comes when it is attached to the Favor of God.
Today, may you each find God's Blessing in your life. If you haven't read the last two posts on Mary please do, they relate to one another, in this little series of posts.
Thank you all,
Much love and Merry Christmas!