This fall started out the same as usual…but quickly took a detour from the route I expected and planned. I started out in one Bible study and due to changing circumstances made the move to a different study.
Thursday was my first week with the new group. This is the first women’s Bible study I’ve been involved with through my church. We are going through Beth Moore’s study, “Jesus the One and Only”.
I think that God prepared the way for this move as I worked on Beth Moore’s “Psalms of Ascent” study this summer. It was so different from the Bible study I’ve been in for over ten years that it took me a little while to get used it. But before long I was enjoying the new study. One thing I liked in particular were the “ah ha” moments I experienced as I started to think of my life, beliefs and thinking in light of God’s Word.
Because I started the study a week late…I did not have my first week’s questions completed. So mostly I listened while the other women shared their answers.
One of the segments spoke about the different responses that Zechariah and Mary had when the angel Gabriel visited them with good news about God’s miraculous intervention in their lives.
Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had wanted to have a child for years. They prayed for many years, but now their bodies were well past the child bearing years. But the angel came to tell that their prayer had been answered and that Elizabeth would give birth to a boy. He was to be called John. He was to be no ordinary child, but instead he was the forerunner of the Messiah and would prepare the way of the Lord.
Zechariah responded with doubt and unbelief and asked, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."
As a result of his unbelief…the angel struck Zechariah mute until after John was born.
Now Mary on the other hand had a much bigger miracle in store. She hadn’t prayed to have a child. In fact she was betrothed to Joseph and still a virgin when the angel Gabriel informed her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and that she would give birth to a Son. She was to call Him Jesus and He was the Holy One and would be called the Son of God.
Mary also asked angel a question, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
But Mary’s question wasn’t motivated by doubt and unbelief. The angel did not rebuke her. Perhaps Mary’s question was motivated by wonder and amazement how God would accomplish this impossible event.
After reading the events from Luke 1, I started to think about at what point did Mary conceive Jesus? Was it at the moment she believed the angel’s words? Or was it when she was in route to see her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant in her old age.
Was it similar to the ten lepers in Luke 17, who cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”? Jesus heard their cries and told them to go show themselves to the priests. As they went and obeyed Jesus command they were healed.
Did the Holy Spirit come upon Mary as she went forth in faith?
The study also provoked me to challenge myself…when I pray, do I pray in such a manner that I’m ready for God to knock my socks off? Do I believe God for the impossible? When I’m praying do I look at my circumstances or is my focus on God? Am I prepared to trust and wait upon God and His timing in answering my prayers?
Well…I look forward to the study as I seek to know Jesus more...and have Him be my All in all.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6