Battle · Call · Comfort · Hard · Mission · Satisfied

His favor…

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. …”

Luke 1:30 ESV

After worship… I asked a young friend who chose to spend Thanksgiving alone… if she took time to be thankful… to give God thanks…

She paused… thinking… then said… I ate roast chicken and blueberry cobbler… I was satisfied… Is that the same as being thankful…?

My mind went directly to what I’d seen in the verses which just before… were read in worship…

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus. …”

Luke 1:26-31 ESV

I think about the mission she accepted… an impossible mission really… at least apart from God…

A difficult mission… one which brought anything but physical comfort…

A call to be an unwed mother… a virgin with child… this put her reputation at risk… her upcoming marriage at risk… her life at risk… giving Jewish law called for stoning as the just response to what would soon become her apparent infidelity…

I see in these verses… to be favored by God… to know His favor… is to be called into hard work… difficult… uncomfortable… places…

Mission-Hard-God's favor-Jeremiah's Menu.jpg

You have found favor with God… is an invitation into service… sacrificial service…

Jesus… God’s Son… was another who was highly favored by God…

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Luke 3:21-22 ESV

This was the Son Mary brought into the world… the suffering Messiah… the Lamb of God… the One unjustly crucified to take away the sins of the world…

Many moments of their missions… did not satisfy the flesh…

Yes… Mary praised God for her choosing… she humbly took on the role of her calling…

But what about when her Son started preaching…? leaving her and His brothers outside a crowded house…? basically disowning them by crazily calling ANYONE who obeyed God His mother and brothers…? (Luke 8:19-21)

Probably not such a satisfying moment…

Then they arrested Him… when just days earlier they lauded Him as coming in the name of the Lord…

Watching her firstborn… the Promise of God… oozing blood… covered in the marks of abuse… hanging on a cross… do you think she felt favored by God…?

Jesus Himself… chosen… favored… begged for His mission to be changed… Surely there’s another way… Father…

To be favored by God… to be called into service by Him… is not necessarily satisfying in the moment…

And to be physically comforted and satisfied in the flesh… is not the same as being thankful…

God warned the Israelites on entering the Promised Land not to forget to thank Him… especially in the moments they found themselves… satisfied…

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied… then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Deuteronomy 8:10-14 NIV

We forget… in our natural bent… to give thanks… in the satisfaction of our flesh…

We forget… we are favored by God when He calls and trusts us… with hard missions…

We forget… once we enter His Kingdom… under His command… we become an enemy of the world…

The enemy wants us to be satisfied with little… and distract us from the mission at hand…

The father of lies takes many people out of the battle and ends their journey by keeping them in the shallows of their desire, tossing them a bone of pleasure, thus convincing them they are satisfied.

–John Eldredge, Restoration Year, December 2

When we find ourselves satisfied… forgetting God… settling for the comfort of flesh… rather than the call of the Kingdom… we miss the fulfillment and wonder of service to God…

We miss the miracle of the hope of Resurrection for the whole world… when we refuse to receive His favor… by entering the hard…

And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. … Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.

Deuteronomy 8:2, 5 ESV

He disciplines us as our Father… so we will grow… to be like His Son…

Where are you finding yourself satisfied…? yet forgetting God…?

Are you avoiding the hard work of the Kingdom…? or embracing it with all your heart…?

Are you seeking the hope of Resurrection for the whole world…? or just a little relaxation for your self…?

Just some post-Thanksgiving… entering into Advent thoughts…

Additional verses to consider… 1Samuel 12:24Psalm 119:67, 71, 75Psalm 103:10-11, 14

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