Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6
Thesis: We discover that our spirits exult in the high privilege(s) extended by God when we see how He has acted toward us in our lowliness.
Introduction: In our study last week we considered how God's dealings with Mary had caused her to take on a more consistent focus upon the Lord as the Sovereign of her life-circumstances. In effect, her soul had taken up a magnifying glass and put it upon the Lord so that her vision centered on Him as the events of her life flowed past her eyes. We connected what happened to her to Psalm 16:8 where the psalmist says that the stability that exists in his life comes from "setting the Lord always before him". This morning we are going to look into her second claim: that her "spirit" rejoiced in God her Savior. We need to see the connections between what God did in regard to Mary and the rejoicing of her spirit.
April 4, 2004
- I. The Nature and Cause of the Rejoicing of the Spirit.
- A. Mary did not present the reaction of her spirit in the same way she told of the activity of her soul.
- 1. Mary spoke of her soul's focus on the Lord as an on-going thing in the midst of the flow of the circumstances of her living.
- 2. But she spoke of her spirit's reaction to God as Savior as a singular response within that flow.
- 3. This signifies that the circumstances of life vary and the reactions of her spirit vary with them.
- B. Mary made a distinction between the functions of the soul and the spirit.
- 1. Her soul had taken on an on-going focus on the Lord as the Sovereign of her circumstances.
- 2. But her spirit only reacted with exultant joy when those circumstances panned out in a way that left her exalted over others.
- a. There is no question that Mary's exulting spirit had its foundations in the fact that God had exalted Mary.
- 1) She speaks of being called blessed by all following generations.
- 2) This blessedness is seen in relation to her formerly low estate.
- b. There is no question that Mary's exulting spirit had its foundations in the fact that God had exalted Mary over many/all others.
- 1) There is a consistent record of God's contrastive treatment of people...
- a) He scattered the proud in contrast to His exalting of Mary.
- b) He put down princes from their thrones in contrast to His exalting of those of low degree.
- c) He sent the rich away empty in contrast to His filling the hungry with good things.
- 2) There is no way to see Mary's spirit's ecstatic joy in any other light than her elevation to high privilege over others.
- a) This is problematical in our thinking because we tend to think that it is somehow evil to exult in being exalted over others...even though the Scriptures are replete with examples of God exalting people over others as a manifestation of His grace.
- i. It is absolutely fundamental to the Abrahamic covenant that God promised to Abraham a "great name"; there is no question that Jesus is exalted by God above every name as an expression of His love and a basis for Jesus' joy; and there is no meaning at all to the exhortations of the New Testament to seek glory if it is not legitimate.
- ii. The evil of exulting in being exalted over others consists of...
- self-exaltation; i.e. thinking that the exalted state is a result of one's own efforts and/or merit as in David's evil behavior confronted by God in 2 Samuel 7:8-9 and 2 Samuel 12:7.
- self-indulgence; i.e. thinking that the exalted state means that the needs of others are of no concern to me in contrast to 1 John 3:14.
- self-importance; i.e. thinking that the exalted state indicates that others are of no value in contrast to 1 Corinthians 12:21.
- b) The problem is resolved when we look at exaltation as a matter of being loved by God so that we come to love Him in return as per 1 John 5:2.
- i. When a man and a woman choose each other over all others, there is deep joy in being 'the chosen one'. Here the doctrine of election becomes paramount.
- ii. The issue of exultant joy, then, becomes a matter of wonder that transforms us into willing servants of a Servant-God whose treatment of others is always righteous.
- II. The Implications of Mary's Exultant Spirit.
- A. Exaltation is invariably linked to a specific task that fits into the whole scheme of things.
- B. There are many specific tasks so that there is room for exaltation for everyone.
- C. The bottom line will always be: God's love for each of us transcended His love for His Son as John 3:16 says.
- 1. We all have 'status' before God by reason of His love.
- 2. We all have 'an exalted state' if we accept His task-assignment to us.
- 3. We who have accepted His love and task-assignment are exalted over all of those who refuse Him.
- 4. We all have reason, when our souls are focused on the Lord, to exult whenever God chooses to defeat the adversaries for our sake and deliver us from the dangers we perceive.
- a. Mary's exultant reaction was to God as Savior.
- b. God, as Savior, focuses upon His deliverance of us from "worthlessness" and His deliverance is cause for great joy.