Meditations on Luke
“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:25, NIV
Miracles of miracles! Elizabeth is pregnant! This woman who is well beyond child-bearing years is now in her fifth month of pregnancy. Can you imagine the wonder and joy she must have felt? Can you fathom her delight when she felt the baby start moving in her womb? Surely, this one verse encapsulates her emotions and gives us a glimpse into her heart.
First, we see the type of relationship Elizabeth has with God. It is one where she gives praise, honor, and glory to Him.
"The Lord has done this for me.” Notice, she does not credit herself or her husband for her pregnancy. If she lived in our day, perhaps she may also have been tempted to give credit to modern medicine, surgery, or technological advances. No, Elizabeth gives credit where credit is due.
Second, notice that Elizabeth’s relationship with God is personal. “The Lord has done this for me.” These two words, “for me,” reveal a two-way relationship and not a one-way connection. It would be like me telling a friend about my husband who surprised me with flowers. “My husband did this for me.” Or we think about those times we call in special favors to our connections, “can you do this for me?” Something is being done not out of obligation or command but because of the close relationship which exists between the giver and the receiver. Elizabeth recognizes this. She acknowledges that this pregnancy is not a mere fluke or accident. It is something which the Lord has purposed specifically for her out of love.
Third, Elizabeth is drawing attention to the thing which God has done. Her pregnancy. She is like an excited little girl bursting to share with her friends,” Look! Look at what is happened! Look at what God has done for me!” What is interesting, is that not once does Elizabeth specifically reference her pregnancy. Instead, the two things she proclaims that the Lord has done for her is that, “in these days He has shown His favor” and “taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Elizabeth’s words encourage me. “In these days He has shown His favor” clearly refers to God showing favor to her in her old age. I am reminded that it is never too late for God to answer prayer. It encourages me to continue bringing our heart’s desires to God. Even if twenty, thirty, or forty years has passed without God granting our request, keep praying. God may still grant our heart’s prayer.
The words “these days” give me a reason to pause and evaluate in what days God has me placed. What do “these days” represent for you? Are “these days” the COVID-19 days? Are they your age or season of life? Are they your desire to be married or have children? Or perhaps “these days” represent your desire to mature in the Lord? What are “these days” for you?
Regardless of what days we find ourselves in, like Elizabeth, the Lord can still show us His favor. According to the Bible dictionary, favor is defined as “gaining approval, acceptance, or special benefits or blessings.” I do not know about you, but God’s favor is something I desire to receive. We should be continually petitioning God to show us His favor while waiting expectantly for it. But here, Elizabeth’s words, “He has shown His favor” is a response to what God has done. It is a proclamation. When one receives God’s favor after fervently praying for it, as we assume Elizabeth did, we should proclaim it!
This brings us to the last part of Elizabeth’s praise. He has “taken away my disgrace among the people.” This phrase infers that Elizabeth’s barrenness was a source of public disgrace. Back in Jesus’s time, the inability to conceive caused others to “look down” on you. In fact, disabilities, infirmities or abnormal conditions of any sort were often tied to sin. With the blind man in John 9:2, the disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind.”
The underlying cause to these conditions is not often the direct result of sin. The next states, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” How true this is of our Elizabeth! Here she is well past childbearing years and now she is pregnant with a son who will be the one to prepare the way of the Lord! If that is not displaying the works of the Lord, I do not know what is!
There are times we find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control where people are looking down upon us, judging us, and treating us unjustly. This surely was Elizabeth. Can you imagine the gossip and whisperings Elizabeth endured? “Oh, she must have sinned somehow.” “Her parents or someone in her family must have done something wrong.” Or “her husband the priest must have sinned. And he’s supposed to be a godly man!” “How did their family sin to cause God to end their family line?” The shame and humiliation did not end there, Elizabeth struggled with these feelings as she also wrestled with the grief of childlessness.
But now Elizabeth is praising the Lord for what He has done, His favor, and for His redemption from her public disgrace. Her womb is no longer barren. She is rejoicing in God’s goodness! God has redeemed her, restored her, and vindicated her. Here is the best part. God can also do this for us. He can restore and redeem us. He can defend us and vindicate us before our enemies. He can remove our shame, our guilt, and our sin that we may be made clean again. Christ’s blood can make the foulest clean. No one is beyond the hope or reach of God. We just need to surrender ourselves, our ways, our time, our hopes, and our desires to Him.
Oh friends, may we lay ourselves down before the Lord that we might receive His blessing and favor. May we know the strength of His right hand as He defends and vindicates us before our enemies. Let us go out with rejoicing and praise God for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do. Let us proclaim the marvelous works of the Lord!