Provoked To Praise
Title: Provoked to Praise
Text: Luke 1:26-47
Intro: Comedienne Kathy Griffith made headlines last week while accepting an award for her TV show for emphatically saying “Jesus had nothing to do with this”. She said this because she was sick and tired of people thanking God at award shows. This was a bold statement. But as I evaluated what she said with my spiritual mind and ears, some of us so-called believers make what she said to be true. When we don’t praise God for what he has blessed us with, we in essence are saying “Jesus has nothing to do with this”. But I am here to tell you that Jesus has everything to do with this. That is why I praise God like to do. It is what he had done and is doing in my life that provokes me to praise Him. My brothers and my sisters what provokes you to praise? What stirs you up that you have to respond audibly and passionately for what God has done in your life? God has done great things in your life that you don’t even deserve. When you come to that realization, this should provoke you to praise Him.
Background: In our text, the angel Gabriel visits a poor virgin girl name Mary to fulfill the promise of the prophecy of the birth of the son of God. God ordained this moment in time for the salvation of the world to come to pass. The angel Gabriel brings a message to this young girl that she has been chosen from eternity past to be the carrier of this blessed hope. In verse 28, he tells this poor virgin girl how special she is to God with this message, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” Mary was poor and a woman therefore marginalized already in her Jewish culture. Though people may have looked down on her but God said she had favor! Despite what people may say about you due to your circumstance, the Lord is telling you, you have favor with me and you are blessed! Like Mary in verse 29, we don’t necessarily believe this. Mary even questioned what the Lord had said. The text says that she was troubled and it cast doubt in her mind. I don’t know about you but God has blessed me with so much that I can’t believe it sometimes either. I look at myself self sometimes and say “aint know way I should be here.” Ain’t know way I should be experiencing all this love” But believe it baby! You got favor and you are blessed! The angel confirms the blessing of the Lord on Mary’s life. He tells her not to fear. Don’t trip this is real. You have found favor with God. You can’t do anything to deserve God’s favor, he just gives to you. That is what grace is; unmerited or unearned favor! Favor is not just being blessed. It is entrusting you with a blessing. And it is a wonderful thing to be used by God. Look at what Mary was entrusted with in vv. 31-33. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end”. Mary is the chosen vessel to birth the One who would bring salvation to the world. The favor God has on your life is not just for you, it is bigger than you! It is God size blessing to bring about a God sized purpose. You should be provoked to praise God for the purpose he has destined you with. This was Mary’s purpose. But like all of us, God has a great thing for us to do and we sometimes question it. In verse 34, Mary questions Gabriel. She says “how can this be? I am a virgin.” Luke chapter 1 teaches a lesson on questioning and doubting God. Mary questioned what God was doing in her life. That is ok. But if we go back a couple of verse we see happens when we doubt what God is doing in our life. Zechariah doubted what God could do in Him and his wife Elizabeth’s old age. And because this doubt God shut him up until the promise came to pass. When you doubt God he has a way of shutting you up! He will shut your money up. He will shut a relationship up. He will he will shut a job up. Don’t doubt God!
Remember God’s purpose is always bigger than you therefore you by yourself don’t have the ability to get it done. So God gives you power from outside of yourself to get the job done! Mary didn’t have power to birth Jesus but God gave her the power she needed. And that power is the power of the Holy Ghost! Look at the text. Verse 34 says that the Holy Ghost shall come upon you and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. The text goes on to say not only this power will enable you to give birth but your cousin who was barren is now pregnant by the same power for my purpose. But here is where the praise is provoked. Verse 37 says “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Mary and Elisabeth both had what seemed impossible circumstances to deal with. However, all things are possible with God! That breakthrough is possible. That healing is possible. That birth is possible! Nothing is too hard for God. That right there should provoke a praise!
All of this tells us something about those who are provoked to praise God. The first thing we discover in verse 38 about those who are provoked to praise thru Mary is a… A willingness to respond
Look how she responds. She says behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto according to your word. In other words, let everything you said about me come true. This is the proper response to what God has in stored for us. But our problem is that we don’t have the proper response to what God is doing in our lives. We respond to God by complaining, not trusting and not believing, worrying, ignoring, not being prepared and not serving with all our heart. But Mary responds in faith to the word she got from the angel Gabriel. My brothers and my sisters, do you have a willingness to respond appropriately? Those who are provoked to praise have a willingness to respond because they trust and believe God despite the circumstances. After she received this good news, verse 39 tells us that she arose went to the hill country with haste…and went to her cousin’s Elizabeth’s house. When she went in the house she saluted her. And it came to pass that when Elisabeth heard the greeting the baby leaped in her womb and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost and she started praising God. “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb”. It was this encounter that proved that this thing is really happening. This leads us to our next point.
Witness to the Revelation
Her praise was provoke by the witness of the revelation of Jesus has now come to pass. Yes, she is pregnant. But better yet to prove God at his word, Mary is pregnant with the Savior of the World and Elisabeth is a witness to this revelation. This provoked her praise. Any encounter with God will provoke you to praise. Anytime you come into the divine presence of God it is going to cause something inside of you to leap for joy and cause you to shout His praises. If you say you can’t praise God like that you must not have experience the power of God’s presence in an intimate way. You have not felt the joy that the Holy Ghost can give by moving in your heart. You see praise is a heart thing. Anything that you love and appreciate, you praise. So if you say you love God, where is your praise? Your praise is an outward expression of an inward admiration. What I am trying to say is that whatever is on the inside comes out. When you witness a revelation come to pass in your life, you are provoke to praise. Let me prove it. When I think of his goodness… That is the revelatory experience where He shows us He is God. You witnessed what he could do. Your soul cries out hallelujah. That thought provoked you to praise!
Work Responsibly with expectation
Next, those who are provoked to praise work responsibly. When God entrusts you to give birth to His promise, you must carry it full term to fruition. But is does not stop there. You must nourish it so it develops properly to fulfill God’s purpose. It takes work to do what God has called you to do. The responsibility is tremendous and there are no short cuts. Like a baby, you can’t give them fast food all the time expecting to develop properly. You have a responsibility to develop and nurture whatever God gives you. Mary and Elizabeth bore children who were God’s very plan for salvation of the world. Though divinely created, they were human and had to be nurtured to grow up correctly. Parents know it is how work being responsible. You want to work responsibly because you know you have a desired end to reach. And since you know that what you are doing God has ordained and that it shall come to pass is enough should provoke some praise!
Celebration: A Well of Rejoicing
Those who have been provoked to praise have a well of rejoicing. After her encounter with Elisabeth and hearing the praise that went forth, the text tells us that Mary went into praise. The text says “My soul doth magnify the Lord…and my spirit rejoices at my Savior”. She has a “bless the Lord with all my soul and all that with in me praise”. Your praise should come from the well of your soul. It is deep down in the well of my soul that I praise God for His mercy, deliverance, hope, love, miracles, healing, power, knowledge, wisdom, peace and anointing. My soul magnifies the Lord!!! So what makes you praise? I was created to give God glory! When I look all around I am provoked. When I look at myself I am provoked. When I see his goodness I am provoked! His mercy provokes me…etc.