Pre-Natal Praise

Posted: May 8, 2016 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 1:39-56, “Pre-Natal Praise”

Good news is good stuff!  It’s worth a bit of excitement.  It makes you want to run around, jump for joy, and shout praises to God.  Baby announcements can be like that.  The Bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice (and weep with those who weep), and when parents are rejoicing over the news of their new child, it gives the rest of us reason to smile with them.

Thus far in the gospel of Luke, we’ve seen two baby announcements already as the angel Gabriel foretold the births of John the Baptist & Jesus.  Those announcements were privately given, but the participants soon come together and rejoice with one another.  We might call it “the meeting of the moms” – an especially appropriate topic on Mother’s Day.   As they come together, it’s not for a baby shower, or even a celebration of one another – it’s a celebration of God.  Whether it’s Mary, Elizabeth, or even John in the womb, all of the people present demonstrate their praise.

It all began with the announcement of John.  Gabriel appeared at that time, not to Elizabeth, but to her husband Zacharias.  Zacharias was serving as priest in the Jerusalem temple offering incense to God when the angel appeared to him with the news that he and his wife had not been forgotten by the Lord.  Although the two of them had been childless all the years of their marriage, God would bless them with a son – and their son would have the privilege of being the forerunner to the long awaited Messiah of Israel.  Zacharias, though a priest, was skeptical of the news, and was then struck mute until the day he finally saw these things fulfilled.  He went home to his wife Elizabeth who soon conceived, and she rejoiced (while hiding her pregnancy as long as possible).

The scene then switched to the north country in town of Nazareth in Galilee, where Gabriel appeared to Mary.  Mary was betrothed, but not yet married, and she was told that she also would give birth to a son – but it would be by the supernatural hand of God without the involvement of any man.  Mary was highly favored by God, poised to receive a singular blessing from Him, unmatched by any in history.  She would give birth to the Son of God – the Messiah – the King of all Israel.  Mary knew what this all meant for her, yet she still completely submitted herself to the Lord in faith, knowing that whatever God did would be best.

So what next?  The meeting of the moms for some pre-natal praise.  They will rejoice together as they each give praise to God for the Messiah soon-to-come.  Although the two mothers are present, so are their babies, so the praise is seen in three areas: John’s jump – Elizabeth’s exclamation – Mary’s Magnificat.

Luke 1:39–56

  • John’s jump (1:39-41)

39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

  • How long Mary waited prior to heading south we do not know.  Remember that she was likely a young girl at the time (somewhere around the age of 14), so travelling 70 miles south from Nazareth to the heart of Judea wasn’t exactly an easy thing.  The Bible never tells us where Zacharias and Elizabeth lived (apart from describing it as “hill country”) – traditionally the area has been thought to be Ein Kerem, now a neighborhood in west Jerusalem.  It may have taken a bit of time to arrange safe travel (wherever Zacharias & Elizabeth lived), but Mary didn’t waste time.  She went as soon as she could.  The angel had told her of proof that God was already working out His plan, and she wanted to see it with her own eyes.

41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

  • The party started as soon as Mary said hello.  She went inside the house, greeted Elizabeth, and John jumped.  All babies move around in the womb, but not all movement is the same.  Mothers can tell the difference between a gentle roll & a kick, especially as the infants get larger.  John was six months along (at least) by this point, so he was big enough to be felt.  And he however he moved in Elizabeth’s womb, she immediately knew it was something special.  The word used to describe it actually talks about a leap for joy – something that Elizabeth verbally describes in a moment.  Whatever he did, John shows that he is already acting in his role as the Messiah’s forerunner & herald, proclaiming the Messiah whenever He appears.  John is active, even in-utero, the moment he knows his Messiah is near.
    • Please don’t miss that fact.  An in-utero baby had the capability to respond to the presence of God the Son and to be a witness of Him.  This pregnancy was no mere “clump of cells” or simply another part of his mother’s body.  This was life!  And not only for John, but also for Jesus.  John sensed Jesus’ presence, although Mary was only a few weeks pregnant (at most).  Jesus was in the room with John, even if Jesus’ physical body was barely developed.  Within 18 days of most pregnancies, the baby’s own heart is beating, and it’s unknown if even that many days had passed by the time of Mary’s visit.  This was lifeAll pregnancy involves life, and should be valued as such.  Abortion may be legal in our nation, but it legality doesn’t make something right.  All abortion ends life, and that’s something that shouldn’t be left up to us.
    • Abortion is a terrible sin, but abortion can be forgiven.  ALL sin finds its answer in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Those who believe upon Jesus as their Lord & God, asking Him for forgiveness do receive God’s forgiveness.  You are washed clean, and your sin has been placed as far away from you as the east is from the west.  Your hope is in Christ Jesus & you can praise Him with a clean heart.
  • What was it that caused John to jump?  The presence of the Messiah.  The Lord God had come incarnate, and He had entered the room.  All John needed was to hear the voice of Mary to know that Jesus was nearby, and he jumped for joy.
    • The incarnation of Christ is something to rejoice over!  That God would clothe Himself in flesh and dwell among us as a Man is amazing in its scope.  Such humility – such service – such love.  No act can be greater than God Himself leaving the glories of heaven to come partake of His creation, even taking our sins upon Himself.  Words fail to describe it all.  God came incarnate.  Humans were in His presence.  Humans still are in His presence in heaven, as will we be if we believe upon Jesus as Lord.  We will physically be next to God in eternity.  Can our minds conceive of such a thing?  That ought to make us jump!
  • Something else happened at the moment of John’s jump: his mother was “filled with the Holy Spirit.”  The wording is somewhat indicative of the Old Testament dispensation (which technically, they were still in), where the Holy Spirit would come upon someone for a time, fill them with power (usually for prophecy), and then leave them again.  King Saul had the Holy Spirit come upon him often (as did King David), yet eventually the Spirit was taken fully from Saul – something which David prayed would never happen with him (Ps 51:11).  The Old Testament saints never knew when the Spirit would come, but when He came, it was always exciting.
    • What those in the OT experienced occasionally, we can experience daily.  That’s not to say we’ll prophecy every single day, but we can be filled with the Spirit every day.  One of the blessings of living in the Church age is that the Holy Spirit of God now permanently indwells believers in Christ, and we have the daily opportunity to pray for His filling and power.  David longed to see this day, and we get to live in it. (Are you using the opportunity?)
  • John rejoiced first…now it was his mother’s turn…
  • Elizabeth’s excitement/exclamation (1:42-45)

42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

  • Remember that Mary and Elizabeth were indoors (Mary had entered the house – vs. 40), so Elizabeth’s “loud voice” probably demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit coming over her.  She certainly wasn’t preaching to a crowd – though she might have said it loud enough for people outside her home to hear the proclamation.  Elizabeth was excited & could not contain herself.  And rightly so!  Some things are meant to be shouted from the rooftops.
  • What Elizabeth proclaims is blessing – not just of Mary, but also of Jesus, the “fruit” of her womb.  The word for blessing is ευλογεω – to be well-spoken of, praised.  Mary and her Child were each favored by God, and Elizabeth knew it without having to be told a word.
  • The words spoken by Elizabeth (and Gabriel) have become what Roman Catholics know worldwide as the “Hail Mary.”  Yet there are some key differences between the Catholic prayer and the Biblical passage.  (1) Neither Gabriel nor Elizabeth pray to Mary; they speak with her in-person.  Nowhere in the Bible are we ever commanded to pray to anyone except God.  Nor do we see anyone other than God able to hear or answer our prayers.  Praying to any person (be it Mary or some other saint, apostle, loved one, etc.) is simply unbiblical.  (2) Elizabeth isn’t asking Mary to pray for her; Elizabeth is the one proclaiming blessing over her.  IOW, Mary is honored, but she isn’t inordinately lifted up above anyone else.  Mary is actually receiving something from Elizabeth; not the other way around.
  • Keep in mind that although Mary is truly blessed among women, she is still just a woman.  She experienced a unique blessing in that it will never be repeated.  The incarnate Jesus only needed one birth, and one childhood, and Mary was the one who was privileged by God to be chosen for the task.  That was a grace she received; not one that she earned or could possibly pass on.  Mary need not be venerated/worshipped by Christians in order for us to acknowledge her blessing.  Elizabeth certainly wasn’t venerating her; she just honored her & greeted her as Mary walked through the door.
  • Most importantly, to make this blessing all about Mary is to miss the point.  Mary was blessed by God because she carried Jesus.  The Greek is very specific that there are two blessings proclaimed: one for Mary (feminine participle), and one for the fruit of her womb (masculine participle).  To make this all about Mary is to miss Jesus.  Jesus is the entire reason Mary was blessed in the first place!  He is the blessed Savior, the Lord!  Note the emphasis on Jesus in vs. 43…

43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

  • The joy in Mary’s arrival wasn’t based in the approach of Elizabeth’s “Lady” or “Queen,” but in her “Lord.”  Mary is the mother of the Lord Jesus, and that’s what makes her special.  She is not inherently endued with blessing or authority of her own.  John leapt in the womb not for Mary, but for Jesus – and he jumped for joy!  When he did, that was an immediate signal to his mom (via the Holy Spirit) that her Lord had come, and she could rejoice.  The Lord has come among us – the One who rights every wrong made through our sin – the One who rights every wrong in all the universe – He has come, and He is good.  Our King has arrived, and His kingdom is at hand.  Glorious!
    • Do you rejoice over the King?  He has come once, and He is coming again.  When you see Him, will you be able to sing out His praises?  “Joy to the world, the Lord is come – let earth receive her King!”  It’s not just a Christmas song; it’s an Advent song & our Lord has two.  One advent has already come, and we await the next with anticipation.
  • That said, Elizabeth was truly happy with Mary’s arrival.  This was an immense honor bestowed upon her, and she humbly (and happily) recognized it for what it was.  Just as we would be excited by a relative of a dignitary arriving on our doorstep, so was Elizabeth excited to receive Mary.

45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

  • Elizabeth again proclaims Mary’s blessing, but she uses a different word this time.  It isn’t ευλογεω, but μακαριος – happy, fortunate, highly favored.  The same word is used by Jesus in the Beatitudes as He began the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5 – Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, etc.).  How happy was Mary!  Why?  Because she “believed.”  Because she had faith.  The one who believes God is happily blessed – specifically in Mary’s case, for once she believed she personally experienced the blessings that were told to her by the Lord through the angel.
  • Those who believe God are happy.  Sounds too simple, doesn’t it?  Have faith, and experience blessing.  Sounds like something we might get sold on TV.  Yet it’s true.  Those who have faith in the promises of God experience a true blessed happiness and peace.  Keep in mind that the blessing isn’t necessarily material – it certainly wasn’t in Mary’s case.  She experienced much heartache in her life, and aside from the initial gifts from the wise men (which sustained the holy family during their time in Egypt), there’s no indication that Mary or Joseph experienced any financial or material wealth the rest of their lives.  Yet she was happy.  She was blessed.  How so?  She saw the promises of God come true.  And that’s the point.  Elizabeth knew that God is the God who keeps His word.  She knew that God is the faithful God.  She knew that Mary would be assured of seeing every single thing promised to her by God actually come to pass, and because of that she would experience happiness and blessing in the meantime.  Despite the hardships, she would see the word of God fulfilled with her own eyes.
    • Want to experience true happiness?  Believe God!  Specifically, believe God’s promises regarding Jesus.  After all, that’s the context for Mary’s own blessing.  Be one who believes the gospel, and receive the blessing of God!

That’s all the prelude.  Mary goes on to praise God herself in a wonderful song/psalm that’s traditionally known as the Magnificat.  This has also been adapted in Christian worship as a prayer, used by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and some Protestant denominations.  Unaltered, it’s a wonderful prayer – basically a New Testament psalm.  Scholars note many similarities between Mary’s song & the song of Hannah from 1 Samuel 2.  It seems to be a sign that Mary was well-versed in the Scriptures, and able to adapt an Old Testament prayer for her own personal praise.

  • Mary’s Magnificat (1:46-56) – Praise for the Personal God (46-49)

46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

  • Question: How can someone magnify God?  How can we make the infinitely great God even greater?  Answer: greater esteem – praise.  We cannot enlarge God physically or in power, but we can add our own voices to the ever-growing chorus of praise.  All of the cherubim and seraphim praise God already.  When we praise the Lord, we magnify the praise – we make it even more.
    • Is this what you do when you sing?  When you worship, do you consciously worship?  Do you intend to give God praise?  We should!  Be careful of mindlessly singing songs or letting Christian phrases simply roll off your tongue without meaning what you say.  Think it through, and praise Him.
  • Not to beat a dead horse, but please note that Mary affirms that she’s just like everyone else.  She rejoices in “God my Savior,” affirming that she indeed needed a Savior.  Only sinners need to be saved, and Mary needed to be saved.  She knew that she was not immaculately born without sin.  She knew that she needed forgiveness, just like everyone else.  She needed the work of God on her behalf.  It was because she saw God working that she magnified Him with her praise!

48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

  • Mary saw herself rightly: as a humble servant/slave of God.  She needed God to look upon her (regard her) if she was to receive anything at all.  In our self-obsessed, social media selfie culture, Mary’s attitude is a breath of fresh air!  This may not be how we see ourselves, but this is how we are.  Who are we, if not mere dust & clay?  We are sinners deserving of judgment.  If God does not look upon us in mercy, we have nothing.  If God does not see us, we are lost.  Yet in Christ, God does see!  Those who believe in Jesus as Lord have God look upon us as our own Heavenly Father.  We who were lost are found.  Praise God!
  • And yes, “all generations” can call Mary “blessed.”  No doubt many Christians go way too far, but all Christians everywhere can & should recognize the happy fortune and blessing bestowed by God on Mary.  Be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater (so to speak).  We can’t talk to Mary today, but no doubt we’ll see her in heaven, along with all of the saints of God.  We’ll be able to rejoice with her then, just like we can rejoice with everyone else in heaven.  (David, Moses, John, your saved relatives, etc.)
  • BTW –
    • BTW – anyone who has been regarded by the Lord is blessed.  Including us!

49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.

  • Note the contrast.  Mary was humble; God is mighty.  He is the δυνατος, fully capable of anything.  As Gabriel said of Him, “For with God nothing will be impossible,” (1:37) and nothing is. This Able One did great things on Mary’s behalf.  The Great acted for the lowly – Mary could have no better Protector or Benefactor.  (Neither could we.)  He is the “Holy” One – the one and only God, completely set apart from all others, fully perfect in every way.  When that God acts on your behalf, nothing can stand in your way!
  • Praise for the Just God (50-53)

50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.

  • God doesn’t only act for Mary – He does great things for all “those who fear Him.”  Specifically, He shows His “mercy.”  Most likely, this is the Old Testament concept of חסד (chesed), the lovingkindness or loyal love of God shown to His people.  This is the mercy He shows His people simply because they are His people, and how He acts on their behalf because He is their God & King.  God shows His loyal love to Israel because of the promises He made to Abraham & David; He shows His loyal love to us because of the fulfilled work of Jesus Christ.  How long will He show His mercy?  Forever!  “From generation to generation…
  • Although God is God over all the world, not everyone worships God as God.  Thus not everyone experiences the חסד mercy of God. “His mercy is on those who fear Him.”  What does it mean to fear God?  It means to worship Him – to give Him reverence & honor.  It means to respect Him as the only true God, and yes, to fear Him as the Almighty Infinitely Powerful God.  As we’ve often said, fear can be healthy.  Healthy fear keeps us from jumping off of buildings.  Healthy fear keeps us from touching red-hot stovetops.  That’s healthy, rational fear.  That sort of fear is good to have with God, in that it helps us keep things in the right perspective.  We see God for who He is, and we see our sin for what it is.  That keeps us humble – that keeps us seeking the mercies of God – that keeps us grateful for the mercies we’ve received.  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” (Prov 9:10) – it’s also the beginning of worship.  We cannot truly worship a God we do not fear, for otherwise we have no reason to worship Him.
    • This is why so many atheists today laugh off the idea of God.  They don’t fear Him, so they have no reason to seek His forgiveness.  They won’t laugh forever.  Even those who don’t recognize God as God today will one day see Him face to face.  The reality is that God does exist, and He is the God as revealed to us in Jesus Christ.
  • That’s all His mercy, but what about His might?  His strength & power is shown through His justice. Vs. 51…

51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.

  • God is against the proud.  Mary describes God as scattering the proud & arrogant people in their imaginations.  How so?  If someone is filled with pride, he thinks much of himself.  His heart & mind is consumed with himself.  God scatters/disperses his thoughts.  They may have been mighty in their own eyes, but God brings them down to size.  They may have an overabundance of ego, but they will be humbled by God.
  • God is against the mighty.  What God does with those who are proud in heart, He also does with those who are powerful in action.  Some people don’t just think much of themselves, they actually have the power to do something about it.  They may sit in the thrones of men in seats of authority and influence, but they can be cast down by God.  Not a single ruler among men is guaranteed to stay there by his/her own might.  If God could cast down Nebuchadnezzar, turning him insane for a time (Dan 4), God can do the same with anyone.
  • God is against the rich.  Obviously God does not condemn those who are rich simply for being rich.  After all, God blessed men like Abraham, Job, David, and Solomon with great riches.  That said, there are many who are rich who have an ego to match their pocketbook.  Those who today are rich expect to be catered to, both in this life & in eternity (i.e. the rich man & Lazarus – Lk 16).  God will send them to the back of the line.
  • At the same time, God is for people like the humble & the hungry.  God acts on the behalf of those who cannot act for themselves.  He lifts up the lowly (like Mary – the same word she used to describe herself), and the poor.  What does all of this demonstrate?  The justice of God.  This is a universal principle in Scripture: 1 Peter 5:5c–6, "(5c) for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (6) Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,"  Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted (Mt 23:12).
    • This is the essence of the gospel!  If we walk in pride, never seeing ourselves in need, never recognizing our desperate state to be saved from sin, then we will be cast down & we will perish.  Yet when we humble ourselves before God, acknowledging our sin to Jesus, asking for His forgiveness & grace, He grants it.
  • Question: “All of that about the justice of God is nice, but when does it happen?  Sure, we know that God can do this, but when does He?”  That’s an understandable, honest question.  After all, the world is rife with injustice, and even among those who rightly fear & worship God, there is hunger, abuse, oppression, and more.  Jesus’ own apostles experienced some of it first-hand.  What can we say to that, in light of what the Bible says about God’s justice?
    • First, God can do this in this world.  We need to remember that our God is living and active, and there are times we see His justice in action.  It’s something we ought to seek & pray for.  It’s something for which we ought to act accordingly.  If we see injustice, we have a responsibility to stand up and do the right thing according to the word of God.
    • Second, God will do this in the kingdom of Christ.  Many things we wish to see on earth today only happen during the fulfilled Millennial Kingdom of Christ.  There’s a reason we long to see these things – they are the right things to do!  But for now, we live in a fallen world with fallen governments & leaders.  One day, that will all change, and it will be King Jesus who sits on the throne.  In that day, many of the promises in the Bible that could have only been imagined will be seen in reality.
    • Third, God does all of these things on a spiritual level for those who believe in Christ Jesus.  We personally experience God’s mercy & lovingkindness.  We are protected from the proud – they might kill the body, but they cannot take our souls.  We are lifted up to the highest place, filled with all of the righteousness of God, and more.  The justice of God is made plain through the grace of Jesus Christ, and we are the personal beneficiaries of it.
      • That isn’t just wishful thinking; that’s the truth.  Keep in mind that all of these statements are based upon the gift of Jesus.  The very reason Mary sings her praise to God is because of the promise of Jesus.  He is the context behind all of it.  So yes, God shows forth His righteous justice in Christ, and we are the recipients.
  • Praise for the Covenantal God (54-55)

54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

  • In addition to how God works in the world is how He works among His covenant people.  He has a special love for the Jews – for Israel.  They are “His servant” – an interesting word choice in that it could also be translated “child,” depending on the context.  IOW, the nation of Israel isn’t any generic servant of God; God looks upon them with a special relationship.  They were to serve Him as a son…or at least that was the intent behind all of the covenant promises.  Israel may have forgotten their covenant with God, but God never forgot.  He remembered “His mercy” – His loyal love & promises all the way back to Abraham.  What God promised, He would fulfill…and the proof was Jesus.
    • God keeps all of His promises – not a single one falls short.

56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

  • Don’t gloss over this too quickly…add it up.  Mary received her news from Gabriel regarding Jesus while Elizabeth was in her 6th month of pregnancy (1:36).  It would have taken several days to a few weeks for Mary to travel to Elizabeth’s home in Judea.  If three more months pass from that point, that places Mary’s departure after the birth of John.  She would have been present the entire time.  Luke simply notes her departure here (prior to the birth narrative) in order to wrap up her involvement with Zacharias & Elizabeth’s family.
  • That noted, she did return home.  She had to leave at some point.  Mary was betrothed to Joseph, who was waiting for her in Nazareth.  By the time Mary got home, she would have been at least 4 months along & visibly showing.  Her return to Nazareth may have been the very act that set off the events recorded in Matthew 1:18-25, when Joseph was shocked to find out his fiancée was pregnant & he needed to be reassured by God as to what was happening.
  • In any case, even Mary’s return to Nazareth was an act of faith.  As long as she was with Elizabeth, she was safe.  She may have been an unwed pregnant girl, but at least she didn’t have to face friends, family, and her betrothed.  By going home, she was knowingly walking into danger.  And she did it anyway.  Why?  Because she believed.  She knew that at the very least, she would live long enough to give birth.  She knew that God would protect her.  He promised that she would give birth to His Son, and His promise was enough. (It always is!)

Conclusion:
What is it you praise God for?  John, Elizabeth, and Mary all praised God for Jesus.  He would have barely shown up on a sonogram, and yet they could jump, shout, and sing their praises to God for sending His Son as Savior.  John could rejoice over Jesus’ presence (even while still in the womb) – Elizabeth could rejoice over Jesus’ Lordship – Mary could rejoice over all of the promises of God being fulfilled in Jesus: for her personally, for the world, and for her people.

We can rejoice over Jesus!  We should rejoice over Jesus!  We can clap our hands, jump for joy, let out a shout, sing out a song.  However it is you best praise the Lord, praise Him!  The Lord has come incarnate.  The Savior has been sent among us.  He lifts up the lowly, looks upon the humble, and showers us with the grace of God.  We have been delivered from the poverty of our sin, and brought into the riches of God.  We have every reason (like Mary) to magnify the Lord, and to rejoice in God our Savior!

Do you?  If not, and you’re a Christian, why not?  What is holding you back from praising your Lord & King as He deserves?  Perhaps there’s sin in your life that shames you from offering God praise.  Deal with it.  Confess it, repent from it, and be done with it.  Perhaps there’s hurt in your life that you’ve been holding.  Release it – give to God in faith, trusting Him to do what’s right and to give you the healing that you need.  Maybe it’s just apathy and laziness.  Wake up!  Look around and see what it is you’ve been given in Christ & rejoice!  We should receive everlasting judgment, but we’ve been granted everlasting life.  We’ve been given a relationship with our Creator God & our Lord Jesus.  That’s worth giving God intentional praise.

Maybe you don’t praise God because you don’t yet know Him as God.  For all the ways you can describe the way you’ve felt about God, reverent righteous fear is not one of them.  Today, see God for who He is – for what you deserve – and once your eyes have been opened, run to the feet of Jesus.  That’s exactly why He was sent: to deliver us from the wrath of God that we earned through our sin.  You can be forgiven – you can come into a right relationship with God – but you need to believe upon God’s word & His Son.  Trust Him today as Lord, and be saved.

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