As stated in my last post, it's no coincidence that Mary's song is the first song recorded in the New Testament. It came after 400 years of silence - the silence between the Old and the New Covenant, the time period when the voice of the Lord seemed to be quenched. Still, in a dusty land of oppression and hopelessness, one young lady found the faith to sing while the promise was still in embryonic form. Study her song as penned in Luke 1:46-55 and you shall see that the lyrics of the Great Deliverer and all He had done for Israel were woven into her being. They weren't just lyrics being sung to her - they were lyrics that were being sung by her. When Gabriel came to Mary with the news that God had chosen her, could it be that God indeed chose her because he was looking for a womb in which His song was already birthed? For before the Deliverer came forth from her that night in Bethlehem, she was already declaring His song. She was already carrying the song of faith. And that is a song that has the power to birth deliverance. I believe it's the song that the end-time church must resound louder than ever before.
But, like Mary, the end-time church must be a people of faith who have learned to carry the promises of God to completion. What God is going to birth on this planet before Christ's coming is going to be the greatest harvest the Kingdom has ever known (Rev. 7:9-14). By studying those who were trusted with the first coming, I believe the last-day church can avoid the miscarriage of what God is wanting to birth before his second coming: the greatest revival this world will ever see.
Luke 1 introduces us to two carriers of revival: Elizabeth and Mary. We are first introduced to Elizabeth. She is described as "righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (1:6). We are then told in the next verse that Elizabeth is barren and childless (vs 7). In Hebrew culture, barrenness would have been a sign of cursedness - proof that the woman or her family had sinned. But Luke clearly points out that Elizabeth and her husband were godly believers from godly families (1:5-6). Although sin and unrighteous familial habits may lead to barrenness, we must be careful not to lump all barren situations or seasons into the same pile. For as seen in Elizabeth's story, sometimes barrenness is the platform from which God works a miracle (John 9:2-3). And quite a miracle it was for Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias! The angel, Gabriel, appears to let them know that even though they are past childbearing age, they will have a son whom they will call John, which means 'Yahweh has been gracious' or 'favored by God.' This name was a prophetic declaration of what God had done for them - given them a son even though they were barren - and what God would do through their child - prepare the way of the Lord as the greatest prophet of the Old Covenant era (1:13-17; Matt. 11:11). And what's more, the angel declared that this 'favored one' would be filled with the Holy Spirit while still inside Elizabeth's womb (vs 15)! What a miracle, indeed!
So, how does all of this tie into stewarding the coming move of God? Let's look again at Elizabeth.
She had a promise given to her that she would conceive even though she was well advanced and barren. Why had she received this promise? Because God had qualified her as righteous - walking in His commandments and His ways. Here is the first lesson we must learn: A lifestyle of pursuing His ways will never lead to barrenness. To God, Elizabeth was the most fruitful among all her compatriots because she walked in righteousness and had never stopped pursuing His heart. This had made her spiritual womb fertile.
She was promised to carry Favor in the natural (John - favored by Yahweh) because she already had carried it in the spiritual. In the secret place of her devotion to the Lord, it was already done. She already had favor. She already had grace. But there comes seasons and times on God's calendar when what was cultivated in the spirit births forth in the natural; when what was sewn in darkness suddenly comes to light. Elizabeth had sewn favor with God through her devotion, and favor with God will always birth something in you. Favor is an avenue to carry something great. It comes to those who can be trusted to carry something in the dark - in the hard times of trials and testing, in the weak times of seemed Divine silence. It comes to those who are willing to be a womb, a vessel that allows God's promises to grow in secret in order that He may birth something publicly for the coming generations. This is another lesson we must learn today: that favor is very often about the next generation and not always about the present one. Think of Elizabeth and Zacharias - because of their old age, they would not have lived to see John’s ministry but they were willing to be the carriers of it. The end-time church must be willing to do the same. We must be people who are willing to pay the price in the secret place of devotion to God, to sew into the dark places, believing that whether we see the fruition of what we prayed for or not, it will be worth it if the next generation gets to reap the benefits.
God told Elizabeth that the promise she carried, the favor she was carrying for the next generation, would be filled with His Spirit even while she carried it. Elizabeth didn’t have to wait for the promise to be born in order to be filled - she received the Spirit in even the dark place of faith and gestation. Here in lies another lesson for us: we can be a people who are so filled with Him, we only steward His agenda and not our own, even while we wait for His promises to come to pass. We can carry the promises of God to fruition and not abort it because of man-made religion or self-promoting denominations. Revival history teaches us that way too often, a move of God is cut short because His Spirit is no longer present due to man's interference. I believe, however, that this is a part of history that doesn't have to repeat itself. We can be like Elizabeth and let the very promises we are carrying be filled with His Spirit by stoking the fire of faith and the pleasure of holiness, all the while avoiding the abortion that comes from unbelief and compromise.
But there is yet another lesson in this story for God's people in this hour: When John was filled with the Spirit in his mother's womb, she was no longer just carrying John - she was also carrying the Spirit. Think about it: after John received the Spirit, Elizabeth was carrying two persons! John was a prophetic picture of what man would look like after the New Birth: a new born babe full of the Spirit of God (John 3:3-8; Rom. 8:10-17)! The Spirit of God resting in flesh and blood - it's the promise of the New Covenant. But even as the book of Acts tells us that there are many fillings of the Spirit, so John who received the Spirit in the womb, cried out for more. For John testified of Jesus, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt. 3:11)" and then asked Jesus to give him that very baptism (Matt. 3:13-14)! John wanted the baptism of the Spirit and fire! He wanted 'the more'! Beloved, before the final global harvest comes, there will be a people who will be go after 'the more' of God with insatiable hunger. They will be filled with the Spirit in the deepest places of their being - a filling that will effect the very promises they carry. Just as Elizabeth carried the promised son and the blessed Holy Spirit, the end-time church will not only carry what God gives - His promises - but they will carry the very essence of Who He is within them. They will have the power AND the Spirit; the arm of God AND the heart of God! These two things will produce a harvest of forerunners in the earth that will usher in the coming of Christ.
Let us be like Elizabeth and receive the favor, the promise, and the Presence in order that we may prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.