Be it unto me according to thy word.
How essential it was that in the virgin Mary the Living Word should find a free way if God’s purpose of sending it was to be fulfilled. God spoke, and because her faith responded, his miracle took place. Alas many of us think it quite enough if we are orthodox in doctrine and give unqualified mental assent to the Word of Truth. But unless that Truth is taking effect inwardly, there may really be no great difference between assent to it and dissent from it. The difference only comes when it begins to play a vital, transforming part in a life. How tragic to have vast knowledge of the Bible, yet little inward experience of its working. If we are to be of use to God in his great purposes it is essential that we respond not merely with our head but with our heart when his Word comes to us in a present, personal way. Can we echo Mary’s prayer?
How incredibly amazing it is that God would place the contingency of His plans and purposes upon the human race. We read that long before He created Adam, He had created the angels. We read that there came the time when a desire to usurp God’s throne entered into the heart of Lucifer. Through his persuasive powers, he convinced one third of the angels to rebel with him. The rebellion was squashed and Lucifer lost his position and he and the angels were judged and condemned to eternal punishment with no hope of redemption.
Genesis records that in time God recreated the heavens and earth, filling them with life and living creatures. Though it no doubt gave God pleasure, God desired someone to share it with. That desire moved Him to create Adam and place him is a garden of paradise. Dailey God and Adam met and fellowshipped together. We don’t know what they talked about, but I wonder if God didn’t share His plans and desires with Adam. Sensing that Adam needed companionship, God out of His heart and love provided a soulmate whom Adam named Eve. She too shared the fellowship with God and for a season three friends spent the cool of the evening each day together.
Lucifer became aware of the pleasure God was enjoying with His creation and since his direct assault had failed, he decided to attack God through His creation He loved.
Persuading Adam and Eve that knowledge- head knowledge- was more valuable than heart knowledge, he enticed them to disobey God thinking that God would abandon them and make them outcasts just as he was.
But what Lucifer and often we as well didn’t take into consideration was the overwhelming love of God for humanity. Oh to be sure, God could have destroyed Adam and Eve- enact the punishment He had set for eating the forbidden fruit- death. Instead, He looks down the corridor of time and sets in motion His plan of redemption through His own Son.
Throughout the course of human history, God repeatedly initiated relationships with people. In the midst of open rebellion and horrendous evil doing, God found Noah. Noah wasn’t perfect by any means, but something in his heart captured God’s attention and because of that Noah found grace. Years later when it appeared that humanity were going their own way, God found Abraham, a man who totally trusted God so much that he left all he knew and began a journey. Again Abraham wasn’t perfect and didn’t always make the right decisions but it’s obvious God had captured his heart even to the point that Abraham was willing to give up his beloved son as a sacrifice. This story repeats itself again and again in the lives of those such as Jacob, Isaac, Moses, Joshua, David and a host of others whose heads didn’t always get it right but whose hearts continually sought after God.
In our text today, we read the response of Mary, a young Jewish girl-a virgin- who was being asked by God to take on a great assignment. God wasn’t looking at her experience as a mother. He wasn’t looking for someone to just agree that His plan was good. He was looking for someone who would engage with their whole being. He needed something more than a surrogate mother for His Son. He needed someone who would give their heart first to Him and then to the child she would carry. I think it is without question that Mary loved Jesus with heart and soul. She didn’t merely give mental assent that He was God, for that would be a stretch for anyone. It was her heart that had become engaged and out of her heart and not her understanding she responds to the Lord’s request by saying, “Be it unto me according to your word.”
She didn’t require all the facts, for she had given God her heart.
But suppose she was like so many Christians who only give mental assent to the purposes of God. What if she agreed that it was a good plan but never allowed God to work His plan through her? We might be tempted to say as we often do that if she hadn’t agreed God would have found someone else. But what if Mary was the only one who could complete the plan? It’s easy for us to say that God would have somehow overridden human will and carried out plan of redemption. But Scripture seems to indicate that those whom God chooses are critically important to carry out His purposes.
Listen to what the Word has to say in this matter:
“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for [the sake of] the land, that I would not destroy it, but I found no one [not even one]. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; I have repaid their way [by bringing it] upon their own heads,” says the Lord God.”
Ezekiel 22: 30-31
Do you see that this single person was extremely important but they only gave mental assent and not their hearts. Because the chose to remain uninvolved, destruction came.
Will you hear the call and open your heart fully to God? Will you say to Him, “Be it unto me according to Your Word(desire)? Only someone whose heart has been captured by God will find the courage to move from the sidelines and give themselves fully to the use of God. And isn’t there surely a need for God to move in our lives, our families, our churches, our communities, and our world. God is waiting for someone. Will you be that one?
Dr. John Thompson