In Luke 1 we read that Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visited her relative Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, her own baby (the future John the Baptist) leapt in the womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. She exclaims a blessing in a loud voice, to which Mary, also inspired by the Spirit, responds with a declaration sometimes known as ‘the Magnificat’ (verses 46 – 55). Verse 51 reads ‘he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts’ which means, literally, those who are proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
Scattering is seen as something God does to those who are proud. Do we have any example of this?
The first generations after the flood, instead of obeying God and filling the earth, stayed together and started building a tower of their own manufacture. God had said that if they remained united, there was little they could not do. God had to divide their language and scatter them around the world. The tower remained unfinished (Genesis 11:1 – 8). In fact, God considers the proud in heart his enemies.
It’s interesting that it’s inward pride that Mary spoke of. God sees through our outward show of humility to the pride and self reliance that lurks within. Too often the outward ‘Thy will be done’ contrasts with the inward ‘my will be done’. The danger is we trust in our own ability, our own works and righteousness, and our faith is in ourselves and not God. Perhaps this attitude is one root of disunity in our lives. Are our lives ‘scattered’ and disjointed, full of unfinished towers? Are our churches like that as well, full of ineffective troops?
Being proud is the opposite of Proverbs 3:5 - 6, ‘trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.’
Let’s ask God to give us humility in the thoughts of our hearts, in that secret place – to trust in Him and not in our own strength – then we won’t be scattered but united and effective.
Prayer: Lord, please give me an undivided heart. Help me to acknowledge You in all my ways and to be humble in the thoughts of my heart, in the inward place where only You see. I choose not to lean on the bruised reed of my own abilities, but on the strong, comforting staff of God. Please make the twisting paths of my life straight. Amen.
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