April 28 – Praise

Today we are going to look at Mary and Zechariah’s responses to these amazing events in their lives. Zechariah begins with praise and then goes on to talk about his son’s mission to bring people to repentance and introduce the Messiah. Mary mentions that she is blessed to be the mother of the Messiah, but most of what she says is just praise. Both of them refer frequently to the Psalms.

I am going to include the references to the Psalms at each verse where that occurs, so you get a chance to see how many references there actually are. Then I have a challenge for you today.

Luke 1: 67 – 79 NLT

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has visited and redeemed his people. (Ps. 41: 13; 72:18; 106:48)
69 He has sent us a mighty Savior
    from the royal line of his servant David, (Ps. 18: 2; 89: 17; 132: 17)
70 just as he promised
    through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies
    and from all who hate us. (Ps. 106: 10)
72 He has been merciful to our ancestors
    by remembering his sacred covenant – (Ps. 108: 2; 106: 45)
73 the covenant he swore with an oath
    to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies
    so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
    for as long as we live.
76 “And you, my little son,
    will be called the prophet of the Most High,
    because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
    through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy,
    the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    and to guide us to the path of peace.”

Remember these events occurred after 400 years of silence from God – no prophets like Zephaniah or Malachi to bring a message from God; no kings and rulers to help keep Israel a God-fearing nation. Zechariah is overwhelmed with praise that God has spoken again. I love verses 76 to 78 as he talks about his son.

Luke 1: 46 – 55 NLT

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

46 Mary responded,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. (Ps. 34: 2)
47     How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! (Ps. 35: 9)
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed. (Ps. 138:6)
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
    and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear him. (Ps. 103: 17)
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. (Ps. 98: 1)
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands. (Ps. 107: 9)
54 He has helped his servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and his children forever.” (Ps. 132: 11)

We’ve experienced a tough year with the pandemic, and things are still not the way we’d like them to be. Most of us are struggling with the loss of contact with family and friends, the loss of places to go, the loss of ‘normal’ church meetings and programs. Some of us are struggling with loss of jobs and income. Many of us have children who don’t do well with online learning. It’s been a difficult year. But in the middle of all this, we can turn to God who is the foundation for our lives. We can praise him for his protection and help.

My challenge for you today is to write a praise letter based on verses from the Psalms. You may have favourite Psalms that you can include because you can think of those verses right away – or at least, go right to the place in your Bible.

You may be thinking you can’t remember anything right now. Here’s something you can try. There is a website that I use called BibleGateway. In the search bar, write a word that you might like to use. (e.g. love, peace, might, power, kindness, etc.) A list of the actual verses where those words are used in the Bible will come up. You can also choose the version of the Bible you like. I like the New Living Translation, but choose your favourite.

Pick out the verses you like the best and make your personal praise letter. You might want to put it somewhere in your home to remind you when you’re feeling frustrated, angry or whatever – this is what you truly believe and count on.

Our song for today is Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven.

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