Mary and Elizabeth

And Mary said, ‘My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on, all generations will count me blessed. For the mighty One has done great things for me. And holy is His name. 

AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. 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, and He has exalted those who were humble. HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed.  

He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever. 

And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home. 

Luke 1:46-56 

In the Latin translation of this verse, the first word is Magnificat, which means magnify. This is a prayer of praise whereby Mary magnifies, exalts, and glorifies the Lord. 

Silence No More 

This meeting of Elizabeth and Mary is pretty special. God shows up in a big way. He manifests His presence in a way that infuses Mary with the Spirit of God to speak, to worship, and to magnify the Lord. This is significant because Israel has been in a “silent period” for approximately 400 years. Malachi had been the last prophet to speak on behalf of God. You could say that God had ‘laid low’ for a long time. 

He breaks this period of relative silence with the appearance of Gabriel and the Spirit-drenched worship time between Mary and Elizabeth. 

Her heart is full of joy, and she bursts forth with a song of praise that reveals her knowledge of God’s Word and the illumination of the Spirit. Most certainly, she was one of the young girls who sat every day in the Synagogue and actually listened as the scriptures were read in the extended readings. It’s one thing for a young person to hear the Word, but it’s another for one, such as Mary, to hear, to believe, to comprehend and recall. 

Pray that the Spirit will give you illuminating insight into His Word as you read, reflect, and write. 

I imagine that during Mary’s tender years of development, God was close to her humble heart, whispering words of clarity for Mary to comprehend. God kindly gave her understanding of the challenging depth and breadth of His Word as the Old Testament scriptures were read over and over; line by line, precept by precept. 

Mary draws upon the Word as she prays. The Magnificat is the Spirit-filled Mary praying scripture and drawing upon such verses as: 

  • O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalms 34.3 
  • Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all our heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! Zephaniah 3.14 
  • He has regarded the prayer of the destitute and has not despised their prayer. Psalms 102:17 
  • The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow. But He thwarts the way of the wicked. Psalms 146:8,9. 

 Mary’s song of praise, which is filled with Old Testaments quotes and allusions reveals that her heart and mind were saturated with God’s Word. It also reveals her clear understanding of God’s kind consideration of the humble. As I’ve stated before, Mary exhibits the qualities of one whom the Lord inhabits. 

But to this one will I look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word, Isaiah 66:2b. 

Father, we are reminded by Mary’s song of praise to pray through scripture. Cause us to passionately pursue the Psalms with a heart to pray through them ourselves and to read them with a heart to confess, to give thanks, to praise you and bring all our requests before You. What a gift Your Word is to us. May we read and prayer in Your Word often. Amen. 

Folks, for a wonderful devotional book that teaches us how to pray scripture, I recommend Praying the Attributes of God by Rosemary Jensen.