IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: MY SOUL DOTH MAGNIFY THE LORD, BLESSED I AM AMONGST MEN
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
And Mary said,
“My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”
“When your own heart is lifted up, then lift up the name of the Lord. Exalt Him when He exalts you. If you cannot magnify God, it is probably because you are magnifying yourself. May the Lord cut self down, and make nothing of you, and then you will make everything of Him. When you sink in your own estimation, God will rise in your esteem.”
MARY HAD RECEIVED a wonderful intimation from heaven of which she herself scarcely understood the full length and breadth. Her faith had apprehended a great promise, which as yet her mind hardly comprehended. Her prayer, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word,’ showed her joyful submission and childlike confidence, and this made her blessed with the blessedness of patient hope. Under divine guidance she made a speedy journey into the hill country to see her cousin Elisabeth, and from her she received a confirmation of the wonderful tidings which the angel had brought to her. Elizabeth herself had been favored from above, for the Lord had looked upon her, and taken away from her the reproach of barrenness. Amongst other choice words, Elizabeth said to her, ‘Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.’ When Mary had thus been comforted by her friend, and her spirit had been elevated, and her confidence confirmed, she began to sing unto the Lord most sweetly, saying, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord.’ Now, if it is a good time with any of you’if in communion with some older believer your confidence has been strengthened, make sure that the Lord has a return for it. When your own heart is lifted up, then lift up the name of the Lord. Exalt him when he exalts you. You will perhaps tell me that the Virgin had very especial reason for magnifying the Lord, and I answer, Assuredly she had. ‘Blessed is she among women,’ and we are not backward to own the eminent honor which was put upon her. Blessed indeed she was, and highly favored. But yet, is there any true believer who has not also received special favor of the Lord? Sitting down quietly in our chamber, can we not each one say that the Lord has favored him or her with some special token of divine love? I think there is something about each believer’s case which renders it special. We are none of us exactly like our brethren, for the manifestations of divine grace are very various; and there are some bright lines about your case, brother, which will be seen nowhere else, and some peculiar manifestations about your happiness, my sister, of which no one else can tell. I might not be straining words if I were to say to many a sister in Christ here, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ And I might say the same to many a brother here: ‘Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among men. The Lord hath done great things for thee, and let thy spirit be glad.’ True, there is one point in which we cannot be compared to Mary literally. She was to be the mother of the human nature of our Lord; but there is a parallel case in each one of us in which a higher mystery’a more spiritual mystery’gives us a like privilege, for, behold, the Holy Ghost dwells in each believer. He lives within us as within a temple, and reigns within us as in a palace. If we be partakers of the Holy Ghost, what more can we desire by way of favor from God, and what greater honor can be bestowed upon us? It was by her that the Word became incarnate, but so also is it by us, for we can make God’s Word stand out visibly in our lives. It is ours to turn into actual, palpable existence among the sons of men the glorious Spirit of grace and truth which we find in the Word of God. Truly did our Lord speak when he said to his disciples, ‘These are my mother, and sister, and brother.’ We bear as close a relationship to Christ as did the Virgin mother, and we in some sense take the same position spiritually which she took up corporeally in reference to him. May he be formed in us the hope of glory, and may it be ours to tend his infant cause in the world, and watch over it as a nurse does over a child, and spend our life and strength in endeavoring to bring that infant cause to maturity, even though a sword should pass through our own heart while we cherish the babe.
But now, having introduced to you her magnificat, we will dwell upon these words, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’ and I do earnestly hope that many of us can adopt the language without being guilty of falsehood: we can as truly say as Mary did, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord.’ If there are any of you present to-night who cannot say it, get to your chambers, fall upon your knees, and cry to the Lord to help you to do so; for as long as a man cannot magnify God he is not fit for heaven, where the praises of God are the eternal occupation of all the blessed spirits. If you cannot magnify God, it probably is because you are magnifying yourself. May the Lord cut self down and make nothing of you, and then you will make everything of him. When you sink in your own estimation, then will God rise in your esteem. May God the Holy Ghost make it so.
Just as Mary was chosen by God to magnify His glory, so too is every Christian chosen by God for the same purpose. As Christians we have been given the charge of the great commission. We have been given the task sharing the good news of the arrival of the savior to the nations. As we take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, God is using us to magnify his name. The glory of God is spreading to the ends of the earth as King Jesus reigns in the hearts of all peoples. Yet, he has chosen us for this task. The wonderful thing about the church is that it is filled with a bunch of nobodies. The early church was filled with common, uneducated fishermen, hated ex-tax collectors, and despised gossiped about ex-prostitutes. Yet God has chosen those who are rejected by the world for the most important of purposes. He has chosen the rejected on the most urgent of mission and the most glorious of tasks – magnifying the Lord.
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on 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 for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
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 offspring forever.”
If the soul (that is the inner self) is worshiping, then your body will by definition be worshiping as well. But the inverse is also true. If your inner self is not worshiping, then the external body will not really be worshiping—no matter what kinds of external religious motions you are going through.
The first unmistakable and unavoidable point of worship is how intensely internal it is. You cannot escape the inner dimension of worship. This point is vital to understand because many people associate worship with formal religious ritual. Worship is presented as something you do at a worship service. You attend a service and do the prescribed religious actions or rituals. But you can go through the external motions without really worshiping. Jesus said the same things to religious people in his day like the Pharisees. He told them that they were hypocrites, that is, they were putting on a religious show of devotion. They were doing the external actions without their heart being actively engaged. Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Worship does not happen when the heart or soul is far from God. Worship cannot be defined as a formal/external/religious act in which the heart or the affections are disengaged or disconnected, because worship is an act of the soul, not just the lips.
I emphasize this point not to shame anyone this morning, but to serve as your shepherd to help you understand the true meaning of WORSHIP.
“My soul magnifies the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Mary is true to the form of a psalm. She repeats and expands her thoughts. She rejoices in God her Savior. In the Old Testament, the name ‘Lord’ or ‘Jehovah’ was always connected with God’s promises. The thought was, “I am who I am is making this promise. He will not change or change his mind.”
She remembers God’s ancient promises, and remembers him as her Savior, that is, someone who comes to the rescue. God did that when his people were slaves in Egypt. God did that again when his people were in the Promised Land, but forgot, wandered, and needed to be led back to God with some hard lessons. He came to their rescue when God’s people were in exile, hundreds of miles away from their home—the Promised Land again became something they longed for.
He saved them and brought them back again. He saved them all those times because he wanted to keep a bigger promise and bring about a greater rescue. This was part of the angel’s message to Joseph: “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). Mary needed this Savior too, because she was a child of Adam and Eve. Like all their children, she struggled with a broken human nature, too. She rejoiced in the fulfillment of the greatest of God’s promises, now only a few months away.
Mary also knew the whole plan, the whole story. She knew, as Paul would later write, that this was the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4).“He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” What is happening is not just for here-and-now. It’s the fulfillment of the ages. The fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. (Mary knew, and we know the promise was given before that.) This is the blessing God promised to all nations—This is God’s love being poured out on the world. And when the baby was in the manger—that wasn’t the completion of it all. There would be more promises and more fulfillment yet to come. Some thirty years later, that baby would say, “Those who believe in me will have eternal life.” “I will raise them up at the last day.” “I am going to prepare a place for you.” And “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Whatever happens, today or tomorrow, we have this Savior. Whatever happens, today or tomorrow, we have his promise. A Lord to magnify. His promise to make our spirit rejoice. We, too, are the lowly that he lifts up. The mighty one has done great things for us. Holy is his name. We also know that he will continue to do great things for us, even as he has promised.
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