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Believing and blessed

“You are blessed, because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” — Luke 1:45

The emperor Constantine chose as a tutor for his son a learned man named Lactantius. Lactantius said this about the idea that the earth is not flat:

Is there any one so senseless as to believe that there are men whose footsteps are higher than their heads? Or that the things which with us are in a recumbent position, with them hang in an inverted direction? That the crops and trees grow downwards? That the rains, and snow, and hail fall upwards to the earth? And does any one wonder that hanging gardens are mentioned among the seven wonders of the world, when philosophers make hanging fields, and seas, and cities, and mountains? The origin of this error must also be set forth by us.

Clearly, geography was Lactantius’s weakest subject! That the earth was flat was an article of faith in those days, and it was a long time before some intrepid men believed otherwise. Those who did believe set sail, and they discovered the bounty of an undiscovered world. They believed and were blessed.

Zechariah had difficulty believing his aged wife would conceive, and he was struck with silence until the promised child was born. But when Mary was told that she, even though a virgin, would bear a son, her response was, “I am the Lord’s servant and I am willing to accept whatever he wants” (Luke 1:38).

Mary’s faith was no doubt strengthened by the knowledge of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and she went to visit her friend. In some remarkable way, Elizabeth’s baby in utero leaped for joy when he recognized the arrival of Mary and the significance of the baby she carried. Elizabeth said to Mary, “You are blessed, because you believed that the Lord would do what he said” (1:45). Mary, like the explorers of the new world, believed and was blessed.

Of course, there is a major difference between believing in a hunch and believing in God’s Word. And there is little similarity between believing a scientifically proven hypothesis and trusting a God-given promise. Yet that is what God calls His people to do. To the extent that we believe God, we experience the blessings of His promises.

The belief of the global circumnavigators required purchasing ships, fitting them out, recruiting a crew, and setting sail in a westerly direction with a view to arriving in the east! It was nothing short of lunacy to many of their friends and foes! But they were right. And they were blessed!

People who wish to know the blessing of God need to believe what they profess to believe, trim their sails, and set out on a voyage of discovery. Should they feel a failure of nerve, the young woman of Nazareth may offer a role model!

For further study: Luke 1:38-45

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.