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Women in the Bible II: Day

Mary: servant

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Today's Text: Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 7:14

[find “Women in the Bible, part 2″ on YouVersion here]

Text: Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 7:14

“…The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV)

Mary, mother of Jesus, brings to mind several commonly connected words – “blessed, chosen, glorified.” Yet what we don’t often think of is that, in her time, hers was probably one of the hardest lives in the Bible to lead. From the angel appearing to Jesus dying, Mary was assigned a tough role in God’s Kingdom.

At a young age, Mary was told she’d be the virgin that would carry the Christ child. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31 NKJV) Like most Jewish girls, she knew the Old Testament scriptures and promise of the Messiah. Mary must have known what consequences she might face being a betrothed woman of an esteemed family line claiming to carry the Messiah.

A credit to her faith and trust in God even at an early age, she never once brings this up to the angel. We never hear her say anything about it at all; she remains steadfast in fulfilling the prophecies and what she has been chosen to do. The only question she asks is, “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34 NIV) And then:

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38 NIV)

In the original text of the scripture, Mary chooses the term “servant” carefully. The definition of the word in Greek is “doule” and is the feminine version of “doulos”, meaning “slave”, and is usually translated “handmaid” or handmaiden.”

In this translation of Mary’s words, she calls herself a servant of the Lord – one that even if allowed to be set free after a certain period of time would continue to be in service for Him.

What a woman to have chosen for this sacred role. No argument, no hesitation, no worry about her own (now very uncertain) future. Simply faith and trust for her role in the biggest single event in history. “For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37 NIV)

May we have such a faith and life devotion as this girl who brought forth the biggest event in the world, all with a few words of commitment.

day1

  • That is an extremely smart written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

  • Arwilda Keef

    What an uplifting devotion series about common women God used so mightily.

  • Incredible faith. That’s what Mary had! Oh to have THAT kind of faith!

  • Lord, may I have a steadfast spirit in me, renewed everyday, to follow you. Mary's was so strong. She knew the consequences to listening to the angel of God. We as women all need a faith like that.

  • Well, this makes me feel like crap…in a good way! She didn't once say "Okay you couldn't find anyone better suited for this?" or "Well…that doesn't match up with what I'd like for myself…" Man am I a crybaby!!! I don't let God handle all that he needs to handle when it comes to my everyday life, let alone my whole future.

  • Great insight Misce. I love what you said; Favor does not mean being comfortable in our lives but being chosen to fulfill God's divine purpose

    ……Christina good point- We don't need to search out or try to make our calling. God knows where we are and the plans he has for us. Just like he spoke to Mary and told her his plan for her. He will do the same for us. We need only to be available, and obedient. I can't tell you how many times I have stressed over trying to figure out what my calling is. My prayer for us ladies is that we respond to God with a confident YES to whatever you have asked us to do.

    Blessings!

  • I have been so blessed by your insights. Over a week behind on this plan but I’m so glad that I started. God bless U all.

  • I now strive to find favor from The Lord! I haven’t walked the straightest path, but I find peace knowing that as I straighten my path and continue to follow God’s teachings, that I will be blessed. And no- blessed doesn’t mean everything goes right, but blessed means you are at peace with yourself and you FULLY trust in God. That you feel no shame, because your transgressions are forgiven and every day brings a clean slate. We must share this blessedness with everyone!

  • Thanks, ladies, for all your amazing insights! I’m new to this, so I’m truly looking forward to many more blessings through your sharings.

    My prayer for each and every one of us is that we may all be more like Mary in our hearts and in our expectations of what Christ is and does for us.

  • This reading definitely touched home for me. Our God is awesome and always keeps His word, delivering us from whatever we may endure. I pray that I may be as willing and diligent as Mary was so that He may put my heart to use and help me withstand my struggles, for Him.

  • Christina Moodie

    This really spoke to me in a way I did not expect it to. In Luke God approached Mary with what He is calling her to do. He tells he her role in His plan and she says yes and accepts her calling. Mary does not go out and create her own calling for her life. Mary lived righteously and found favor with God and God used her in a big way. Sometimes I feel like I have to figure out what my calling is in life. Like if I am not searching it out, finding it, creating it in my life I will not do be making a difference for the kingdom. These readings gave me comfort to see that God looks for obedient and willing women to make a difference in His kingdom. It is not about making something of my life on my own for the kingdom. It is about saying yes when God asks you to join Him in His work.

  • T Thomas

    Yes Samantha that stigma is still very present today. Being pregnant while not yet married is a stigma I had to endure. We married almost 2 years later, but we did experience hardships from having our daughter out of wedlock. I’m sure Mary dealt with similar hardships since Jesus was not from her marriage to Joseph. We are all born into sin and even the Son of Man who has never sinned had to enter into our earthly realm the same way we enter. Thank goodness that we all can be born again through our Savior no matter how we come into this world. My husband and I were not perfect in our beginning, but we feel that now our marriage and our daughter is blessed under the covenant we made in our marriage vows unto the Lord and all our loved ones present. This was a difficult process for us, but we wanted to marry when we were ready and not to just “make things right”. I can’t imagine the feelings of both Mary and Joseph, but yet they had still found favor with the Lord and were obedient despite the unknowns and circumstances. They bore the Son of Man.

  • What I love most about this portion of Mary's story is that God gave Mary a "community" through Elizabeth. Someone who had also received a promise from God that seemed completely impossible at the time. Although their circumstances were very different, they were able to rejoice and worship together, they were able to encourage each other throughout their pregnancies.

    I'm imagining that if they had smartphones, they would be emailing, texting, and phoning all sorts of quick prayers, encouraging words, and scriptures during the week.

    I love that no matter what we're going through, God never allows us to go through it alone….. (then, I think of Job… lol), but He places other women by our side who have gone through, are going through, our same or similar circumstances to push us closer to Him, encourage us, and give us a shoulder to lean on.

    God is always good no matter what hills He has planned for us to climb. His grace is always sufficient and His word never fails.

    My prayer is that we, as a community, are just that for each other – a believing community to whoever God puts in our path to encourage and support through whatever season of life we find ourselves in!

    Have a great evening, ladies!
    I'm excited to be apart of your community!!

    • eradical84 (EllenMR)

      What a great point- that Mary had Elizabeth to lean on and talk to after they both had promises from God! I never thought of that. Thanks Alaina, for coming to SRT and joining in! I look forward to hearing more from you!! Blessings to you! :)

  • I've understood that Mary was about 14 years old at the time of the angelic visitation. She doesn't ask what to do about her engagement to Joseph. She just accepts the plan that was presented to her. She allows God to work out all the details. Such faith!

  • samantha l

    Thank u ladies for the insight. My first time interacting, and my first post. I pray that we all may emulate mary’s humbleness and willingness to submit herself to God.

  • Madeleine

    I love Mary’s honesty, simple faith, and loving heart. What a wonderful model of discipleship. I pray today that Mary asks her Son to fill each of us with her faithfulness and mission to bring all to salvation.

  • Samantha

    Throughout today’s reading, I was repeatedly drawn to how willing Mary was to accept her Calling. I kept thinking about the stigma that still goes alongside being pregnant whilst not married today…multiply that stigma by a billion in Mary’s time.
    I read a commentary says that if the young girls’ fathers would not continue to support them, they were forced to beg and prostitute themselves out to support themselves. Mary didn’t even hesitate, she just asked how it would be possible since she was a virgin, and when the angel explained, she said “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled.”

    I hesitate when it comes to whether to cook brocolli or cauliflower with my dinner….Mary’s faith filled her with such bravery that she didn’t even take a breath before submitting.

    Oh, how I long for a faith as unwavering and complete as Mary’s. I believe in your Word and Promises, O’Lord, please help me to be constant in this knowledge and not run when You call me to your service.

  • mortonmission

    Trusting, Loving and Faithful.
    Mary listened to the Lord's calling and gave Him her ALL, her whole life, body and soul. She knew who was ultimately in charge of her life, and it was God. She obeyed knowing that fulfilling this calling would be hard for her, would cause her pain and ridicule. She knew that following God would not free her from burden,but that turning her back on God was something she was unwilling to do.

    Where might we be if she. didn't answer His call? What miracles are we missing if we don't?

    • Petty

      At a young age Mary Mary was strong enough to accept God’s calling.She did not think abt what the society would say and do but she trusted in the Lord for the way.I ask all the sisters to be like Mary. Let us be more concerns about what the Lord says to us not to what people will say

  • I WANT to be like Mary! I want to have her willing, humble attitude. How appropriate that Christ Himself was born from such humble beginnings since He exemplified this sort of servitude throughout His ministry on earth.

    "Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:8

    Yet, this was not an acceptable virtue in Roman culture at the time. In contrast, acting like a servant was considered shameful. Roman culture was all about exulting the SELF (much like most first-world cultures today).

    So would I have been able to stay humble? Would I wear the uniform of a servant? She was married to Joseph–the rightful "would-be-should-be" heir to the throne of David–and she was also chosen to give birth to the Son of God who was predicted at least 42 generations from his birth.

    Knowing myself, it would be mighty tempting to get a little puffed up about it. Yet, she didn't. And perhaps going through the hardships involved, helped keep her humble. Perhaps if I had an angel visiting me, I might not be so tempted to strut my position.

    I'm no Mary…but I WANT to be more like her. I want to be willing to surrender myself, my name and my reputation to do whatever God wants. I want to point others away from me and to the One who is able to save, deliver and heal.

  • May the blessed Virgin Mary intercede for us today, sisters, as we read about her amazing obedience, her submission to God and to the plans he had drawn up for her. As Diana pointed out, God planned a hard life for Mary, a hard yet so blessed life of service for His Kingdom.

    May we learn from her submission and her obedience as we are presented with what the Lord has chosen for us today. I pray the Lord for the strength to walk of the path I have been chosen for.

    God bless you, sisters!

  • This Life Abundant

    "No word from God will ever fail" — also translated (in the NASB and Common English Bible) as "Nothing is impossible with God" or "for God". Love this!

    And how amazing that the angel tells Mary, "the power of the Most High will over shadow you" (CEB) and you will give birth to a son. There is no power struggle. It's like the angel was saying, "Put all your fears aside, Mary, for all eyes will look to God and what He has done!"

  • What no one has mentioned yet, is something that is alluded to in scriptures. Mary and Joseph had more children, and these children had a very hard time believing that Jesus was the true Messiah (that is, until Jesus’ death and resurrection).

    Mary was mother over a family divided…her belief was strong but it took time for the rest to accept him, their own ‘brother’, as God’s son. This must have broken her heart, seeing and living in the midst of such division, while knowing that Jesus truly was the chosen one. Thankfully, we know by the book of James and Jude, that indeed they realized that Jesus truly was the son of God and became influential folliwers themselves.

    If any woman has felt the jealousies and competition of their own children, then we can relate to what a burden Mary felt, and what a magnificet woman of faith she truly was.

  • Graphics

    I agree that Mary was amazing in her seemingly quick and humble response, but one thing that I always think about is the angel. Angels always appear in the Bible and say, "Do not be afraid". There is a reason for this-they must have been scary. I do think that after experiencing time in the presence of a creature sent by God, a person's life would never be lived in the same way. I think the perspective shift that Mary must have experienced formed her life, and gave her the strength to live with all of the consequences. In other words God gave her all she needed. He will do this for us as well.

    Much Grace Ladies

  • In that time (even today) in that part of the world if a girl or woman was found to be pregnant w/o marriage she would be stoned to death. As I read the scripture, Mary didn't even think of that. She had complete faith in God which is so awesome. Would I not think of the consequences? Wouldn't I wonder what people would think or what the leaders would do? Of what Joseph would do? Of course I would unless I had the complete faith in God that Mary had. For no word of God will ever fail.

    Father I believe your Word and your promises, please help me in my unbelief. Help me Lord to see myself as you see me complete, beloved, accepted, chosen and blessed. In Jesus name. Amen

    • Christina Moodie

      Such a good point Diana what a dedicated heart to the Lord. She trusted that if this is His will and I follow what He is asking He will take care of me.

  • Hey girls!
    -"For no word from God will ever fail.”
    -"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.'"
    -'I am the Lord’s servant,' Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
    Emily, Keilah, and Ibukun, thank you for your insights. I (and all of society, for that matter) have always saw Mary and the miraculous conception as something so sacred that nothing needing that amount of faith would ever happen to anyone else in this world. While she was incredibly faithful in accepting the angel's decree, I now see her as just a normal girl with a HUGE trust in God. She's now less "miraculous" and more relatable, which gives me huge encouragement. To know that God has at one time or another told me these things and that I've replied in a similar way as her, I realize how truly blessed I am- and as Keilah says, how highly favored I am, and what that truly means.
    Thank you, girls! Your insights and willingness to share (not just those 3– I'm running low on time and I could only read a few) are making amazing impacts in lives everywhere. I love you all; I'm praying that you'd be blessed today. Have a great day, girls!

  • I think this is another good example of the importance of trusting in God's timing. Mary did not say "Hey, could we wait until I'm married so that the is not so controversial?" Instead she trusted in God's timing, without question.

  • I’ve often been puzzled by the devotion to Mary shown by some of our brothers and sisters. But her exemplary behavior, her genuine servant’s heart and her humility explain some of it to me. However, as CandaceJo said, Mary always redirected the attention and praise back to Jesus. And then Joseph’s humility…wow. What a family.

  • munchtalk

    I can't imagine being in her position. I for sure, would have been worried of what people thought, because there is no way that everyone believed that she hadn't done something immoral! And Joseph as well, excercised so much restraint and didn't consummate their marriage until after she'd given birth. The couple had a lot of respect for each other, and a lot of trust in the Lord! Even when others might not believe our reasoning or what we stand for, God understands and holds us to His standard, not the world's. There's something I'm going to have to say "no" to participating in this week at work because of some convictions I have, and I highly doubt they will understand. I am praying for a faith like Mary's to know that God put me in this place for a reason!

  • I love this, Diana! I, too, fall into that trap of thinking how blessed and lucky Mary was, but skip right past the hardship and the anguish it must have meant for her to be the Earthly mother of the Savior. I pray we all are so willing to do what He asks of us, no matter what that means we might endure.

    All you women are on my hearts today and I'm praying that we all continue to draw nearer to Him in the next installment of this study!

  • I love Mary’s obediant heart. She had great love for God and His truth. Today’s reading encourages me to be bold and believe God no matter what! Have a blessed day Sisters! xo

  • Truths in his word and to all the deep areas of sin our lives. God is faithful.
    Candace your words spoke directly th o this for me this morning. Thanks.

    Keilah, thank you for sharing your insight on the meaning of God’s favor. I really needed that reminder also this morning.

    Sorry ladies for my three post comment this a.m. I am using my hubby’ s smartphone this a.m. instead of my ipad.

    Have blessed Monday!

  • Oops, I accidentally hit publish too soon.

    As a young girl I used to hear the story of Mary and feel a certain level of envy and then wish and hope for a position in the limelight of God’s kingdom also. I love how over time God enlightens us to deeper amddeeper

  • “She offered herself immediately as a servant because of the humility of her heart and that is where she stayed.”

    Thank you for these words Candace. This description of Mary captures just what I have always struggled with each year as I hear the Christmas story. I struggle deeply with the sin of jealousy and with wantingto bo inthe lime light.

  • Good Day Sisters! What a beautiful devotion today! Here's how the Lord spoke to me through our passages today:

    “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God." – Luke 1:30

    I realized that —

    ❤ "FAVOR FROM GOD" does not necessarily mean that everything's going to be okay. It doesn't just mean comfort, or success, or prosperity, or being blessed with everything that I ask or prayed for. — Mary was given heartbreaking circumstances from the order to kill every Hebrew baby boy during the birth of Jesus, up to His suffering and crucifixion… yet, THE LORD WAS WITH HER through it all and He fulfilled Mary's purpose despite all the pain that she had to go through!

    "The Lord is with you." – Luke 1:28

    ❤ "FAVOR FROM GOD" means — being in HIS PRESENCE regardless of my circumstances!
    ❤ It means — having an amazing experience of His COMFORTING GRACE in times of trials and pains.
    ❤ It means — being a witness to God's miracles in my life which can only happen in every impossible situations that He allows to happen.
    ❤ It means — being CHOSEN (just like Mary) to fulfill His Divine Purposes! — What a privilege! :)

    *** I am just so happy to hear these messages from the Lord today! He knew every unspoken words and questions in my heart just before I started my devotion and quiet time… and He did spoke to me, and answer them through this devotion! Thank you Lord! So sweet!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Thank you SRT! :) Have a blessed day sisters! :)

    • marylynnrd

      I LOVE that the Favor from God means, being in His presence regardless of my circumstances! I needed to hear that today no doubt. Been struggling with understanding circumstances, when in reality God just wants me to understand that He loves me and is with me and is working all things out as His sees fit.

    • jesusgirl71

      Oh this is what I needed to hear today! I fail so much; I turn my focus away from god, yet he will pick me up. i am still highly favored, and if I focus on Him despite everything, He is with me through it all! thank you!

    • clim23

      Thank you for your thoughts, Keilah! Your insight into the meaning of favour from God really hit home.
      May we always feel the Lord with us. May we always feel chosen by the Lord and able to live up to this.

    • bria

      Beautiful truth & words Misce! :)

  • thank you for your insights Ibukun & Candacejo..

    Create that in me TOO, O God!!!

  • Margaret

    I love how God chose the way of childbirth to bring His Son into this world. It gives me encouragement as a mother, that God values this role so much! May we be used of Him today to affect future generations for His glory!

  • Candacejo

    Mary was a willing VESSEL..and allowed herself to be used as such. She offered herself immediately as a SERVANT because of the humility of her heart and that is where she stayed…humbled. She never elevated herself above the role of servant.

    Any praise ever directed at Mary in the Bible was always RE-DIRECTED, by MARY, to JESUS! She never sought attention for herself, nor did the disciples or Jesus ever give her any. Matthew 13:55 is an example.

    A servant that—" even if allowed to be set free after a certain period of time would continue to be in service for Him…"

    Create that in me, O God!

    Wonderful lesson in our "new home" today! Blessed Monday!

    • marylynnrd

      I love what you said. "Any praise ever directed at Mary, was always re-directed to Jesus." I want that HEART! Thanks for sharing that. Loving this beautiful refreshing new site ladies.

    • JuneBug

      Yes Lord! Amen. All to Jesus, I surrender…

  • It occurred to me as I was reading this that the Pharisees, Scribes and other Jews who opposed Jesus during His lifetime were expecting Isaiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled exactly as it was stated right down to the last comma. Not that it wasn’t because God’s Word ALWAYS accomplishes that which it was sent to and “no word from God will ever fail” but I think they were expecting the Messiah to be named “Emmanuel” just like Isaiah had prophecied but the angel expressly told Joseph and Mary to name Him “Jesus”. Jamieson Fausset and Brown’s commentary clarified this to me by saying, “…Not that He was to have this for a proper name (like “Jesus”) but that He should come to be known by this character (“God with us”) as God manifested in the flesh…”

    Mary’s life definitely wasn’t an easy one and Jesus’ paternity was probably questioned throughout His life. But she allowed herself to be poured out. She gave herself up to God for His use completely. I’m praying for the grace to live a completely poured out life for God today. Even when “poured out” means I have to give up the things of the world to become better acquainted with Him

    • Candacejo

      "Even when "poured out" means I have to give up the things of the world to become better acquainted with Him." Amen! What an attitude and Christ-like Spirit already! He will honor that!

      • Anita

        Yes….count the cost. Asking God for the strength and willing heart to make the right choice each time it confronts me….so that I may know Him better.

    • cecilycharles

      I'm also doing a devotional called Living the Surrendered Life on YouVersion to try and be more graceful and willing about submitting my life to where and what God wants me. It might be something you would enjoy too! :)

  • beautyasdesigned

    Thank you for this great word! It really blessed my heart today. God is definitely on the throne. Sometimes its hard for me us to see that especially when we're going through difficulties, hardships, calamity, you name it. But all the while, he's still merciful, gracious, sovereign, mighty and awesome. Lord help me to be constant in my faithfulness and confidence in your love and grace and mercy especially during the hard times and crisis. Amen

    • cecilycharles

      Isn't it great to have that moment where you can see and feel your own progress in becoming the woman God yearns for you to be?! :)

    • Petty

      At a young age Mary Mary was strong enough to accept God’s calling.She did not think abt what the society would say and do but she trusted in the Lord for the way.I ask all the sisters to be like Mary. Let us be more concerns about what the Lord says to us not to what people will say

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