It Came to Pass: The Redemption Plan Unfolds
Six months after Elisabeth had conceived, another dimension of God’s redemptive plan was triggered. Elisabeth’s cousin, Mary, was visited by the angel Gabriel who gave her a message from God that she would conceive and give birth to a son after the power of the Holy Spirit came upon her. Mary conceived of the seed of God’s Word and her pregnancy of the Savior began.
Then Gabriel informed Mary that her cousin, Elisabeth, had conceived a son in her old age and was in her sixth month of pregnancy. After hearing the news from the angel, Mary went to visit Elisabeth. We can pick up the story in Luke 1:41–45.
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. (KJV)
Elisabeth was being used by God to prophesy to Mary, confirm what the angel had said, and encourage and exhort her to walk out the plan of God. The following ten verses of scripture contain Mary’s response, beautifully expressed in a worshipful outpouring of her heart, which is commonly known as the Magnificat.
The Importance of Relationships
There is an important lesson to be learned through the example of Mary and Elisabeth’s relationship. If you are going to receive the promise of God in your life, it is very much dependent upon the promise of God coming to pass in the lives of those with whom you have a relationship. In the passages we’ve just studied, for the promise of God to be manifest in Mary’s life, it first had to come to pass in the life of Elisabeth, because her son, John, was to prepare the way for the Lord.
In this same respect, all your relationships are potentially crucial to the plan of God being realized in your life. God uses people as a vehicle through which to bring His blessing and provision.
In time of financial need, most of us would like God to drop a sack of coins on our heads out of heaven. We also know God doesn’t work that way. He works through the people with whom you associate. To meet a financial need, He may deal with your boss to give you a promotion or a raise. He may send someone to invest in your new business venture or direct someone to give you a financial gift. No matter whom He uses, God will most likely use those with whom you already have a relationship.
With that in mind, can you imagine what it would have been like if Mary’s relationship with Elisabeth had been strained? What if they had been in strife? What if Elisabeth was jealous that her cousin, Mary, had been chosen to carry the Son of God instead of her? “It’s not fair that Mary gets to deliver the Son of God. I am more mature in the Lord. I deserve to be chosen over her.” So often we entertain such petty thoughts as this in the middle of our relationships!
If Elisabeth had been jealous of Mary, do you think she would have encouraged and exhorted her the way she did? I think not. If the two were in strife, do you think Mary would have made the effort to make such a long and grueling trip to see her cousin? I don’t believe so.
You and I must protect our relationships by resisting the temptation of pride, jealousy, and offense that would keep us from being in right relationship with the people God has placed in our lives. Remember, anything that cuts you off from a relationship with another person may delay the promise of God from becoming manifest.
Who Is Your “Elisabeth”?
Unlike the birth of Jesus that came about in the fullness of time, the plan of God for you depends upon your free, moral agency. God does not impose His will on you just because you are His child. You must choose to receive His promises and obey His direction. Only then can God bring His plan to pass in your life.
As I’ve already illustrated, God uses your relationships as an instrument to bring about His divine will for your life. However, you don’t necessarily know whom God is going to use to bring direction and blessing to your life. It may be your spouse. It may be a child or a sibling. It may be a relative or a friend, a coworker or a boss. You may not know who your “Elisabeth” will be.
I can guarantee you that as soon as you decide who you think your “Elisabeth” is, God will use someone entirely different. He may even choose someone you have difficulty with. So if you have a little strife and unforgiveness working here and a little jealousy and envy evident there, you may have just extended your due season indefinitely. Until the promise of God is born in the lives of those we are in relationship with, it cannot be born in our own.
I want to share with you the key to ensuring that your relationships are healthy, so keep watch for an upcoming blog post!