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Obedience - It Is...All About Mary

posted Aug 10, 2008, 8:20 PM by Web Master   [ updated Aug 12, 2008, 10:04 AM ]

By Micky M. Wolf         

 

“Women - Go to Mary, go to Mary, go to Mary”…

 

As I awoke one recent morning, those words “…Go to Mary, go to Mary, go to Mary…” kept moving through my spirit. In going before the Lord in prayer, He led me to two places in the Word – Matthew 1:1-25 and Luke 1:26-38.  In various conversations and in sharing with other women over the past weeks, it seems a “flood” of insights are coming forth to help us more clearly see in our hearts of His call to obedience and submission.  We desire as women of God to be obedient to Him.  We desire to submit to our earthly spouses.  We also “desire to obedience and submitting” in the order God calls us to. 

 

What is that order?  In the very familiar story of Jesus’ birth, Mary and her obedience, [Luke 1] and Joseph and his obedience [Matthew 1], give us a richness of revelation to lead and guide us.  Important Note:  As I continued to listen to the Holy Spirit, it was clear the Lord was “directing me to Mary”; He was also making it clear she was to “show the way”, not “be the way” in understanding obedience and submission.

 

A bit of background.  According to Jewish law and practice in those days, “betrothal” was as significant to the rite of marriage as the actual marriage ceremony.  For all intent and purpose, “being in a state of betrothal” for the one year of time prior to the ceremony held the same import and reality of “being married”, apart from the actual consummation of the marriage.  Why, then, is it so important we understand this aspect of Jewish custom?  So that we may more clearly understand our Lord’s Truth of obedience.

 

Obedience and submission, lived to the fullness and modeled by Mary unfolds as such; Mary to God, Mary to Joseph. And for Joseph; Joseph to God, Joseph to Mary. It seems the Lord has taken great measure to show us in His Word, through the choices of Mary and Joseph, that the “vertical” – with God, is to precede the “horizontal” – with man [or woman].  Walking the Lord’s obedience in all relationships, whether with spouse, children or friends, is first revealed in the “vertical submission to His will”.

 

MARY – HEARING AND OBEDIENCE

 

While the orderedness of Scripture has Matthew before Luke, revelation through the Word clearly gives us many insights about Mary and Joseph. ALL that involved the conception and eventual birthing of Jesus BEGAN with Mary. 

 

Announcement of His presence, affirmation…[Luke 1: 26-55]

The Angel of the Lord first spoke to Mary, and then later to Joseph.   His first words were to affirm her in the presence of the Lord’s favor. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you."  Remember - neither Mary nor Joseph had benefit of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit; this would be available to believers after Pentecost. 

 

Her first response and action – the first “but”But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  Hearing, being troubled…and then pondering. The Lord allows us time to ponder His presence.

 

Assurance, and further affirmation Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. In her humanness Mary was understandably frightened. Again, His word of affirmation. How many times are we initially “afraid” when the Lord makes His presence known to us?

 

“Statement” of His willBehold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” The Lord “spells out” His will for her.  You will conceive, you shall name”; these are our Lord’s direction to her. The verses that follow are revelation of Jesus’ mission, not hers. 

 

Another “but”But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"  We, like Mary, begin to speak our “buts”.  “But”, how can this be, Lord?  “But”, how can this happen, Lord?  “But”, why me, Lord? 

 

The “How”And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God."  The Holy Spirit is in us; the “how” of the Lord’s call to be and do is through His indwelling Holy Spirit.  In our call to obedience, the Most High over shadows us.  Nothing will be impossible for God!  Knowing our Shepherd’s voice, hearing Him speak to our hearts through the presence of His indwelling Holy Spirit, we are prepared, and equipped to say “yes” as Mary said “yes”.

 

Yes, Lord…Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.  Where were her doubts now?  Why was she not concerned with how Joseph would respond when she gave him this news?  Her obedience moved out of her believing and her will and choice to be obedient.  She heard her Shepherd’s voice, was affirmed in His word to her, received of His presence and the clarity of His direction, spoke out her human questioning, and then accepted that He would provide all that was needed.  Her “yes” was immediately made manifest in the midst of her choosing to believe and be obedient – to God first. 

 

He waits…until He hears her speakThen the angel departed from her.  The angel of the Lord did not move until He heard her “speak out” her “yes”.  The Lord always waits patiently with us as we learn in our struggle to be obedient to His will in our life.  He understands our doubts, our unbelief, all the questions we could ask of Him.  He listens to our hearts; He holds these things of our humanness and our spirit next to His heart of love and protection.  And when He does depart, it is not to “leave us”, but only to allow us to move along the path in the working out of that obedience. 

 

JOSEPH AND MARY TOGETHER - HEARING AND OBEDIENCE  [MATTHEW 1:1-25]

 

Mary’s Obedience “Manifested”Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Done.  Finished.  For whatever else might be revealed through the fulfillment of this obedience, there was no turning back at this point for Mary.  She gave the Lord all that she could give Him.  She was with child, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. How willing are we to “be with child” in whatever manner and form the Lord is calling us to in obedience? 

 

The “seed” is implanted by the Holy Spirit, received, and made manifest in our obedience. What “seed” of obedience is the Lord desiring to implant in you?  How are you different from Mary in your “accessibility and availability” as His chosen vessel?  What keeps you from “receiving” this “seed”?  Fear?  Unbelief?  Needing to know how someone else will respond?  Or be affected by your obedience?  Mary knew not of Joseph and how he would receive her with child.  She had no assurance beforehand in the reality of his written or stated declaration to stand with her in her Virgin Mother-ness. 

 

Now…Her Husband knows of her “yes”…Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.  Now Joseph knows the outcome of her choice to be obedient.  What next?  At this point he seems more than willing to do the honorable thing and quietly divorce her.  His desire is to do “the right thing” in the eyes of man; however, the Lord has something else in order for Joseph.

 

The “right thing” – or “the Lord’s way?”…Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Again, but now with Joseph, an angel of the Lord speaks; the Lord makes known His presence to Joseph, affirms him, assures Him, states His will for him, and describes the “how”.

 

Affirmation in anticipation…All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." We know through the next verses that follow that the Lord has come to Joseph in a dream to speak of His will for him.  It is as if He anticipates the questions Joseph could ask so He speaks the words of the prophet Isaiah to Joseph’s spirit.  The Lord speaks out to Joseph the affirmation, preparation and equipping he needs to respond to Mary, but most importantly to respond, in obedience, to His will, which is Joseph’s true desire.

 

Joseph’s Obedience “Manifested”When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. In “awaking to the Lord’s call to obedience”, we too can “do as the Lord commands us”.  He will not call and send us, apart from His preparation of all provision for this obedience to be worked out in our lives.

 

Mary chose obedience to God first, trusting all to Him, in preparing all circumstances in His plan for her, for Joseph, and for their son, Jesus.  Did she “know all” ahead of time? No. She knew of only “the next step” on the journey.  Why did the Lord come to Mary first?  Could it be the Lord “knew” her heart so intimately that he knew He could choose her for this obedience, knowing of her willingness to trust Him, to believe in His keeping?

 

Women, what hinders us in walking this kind of obedience?
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