Many people know a lot of the pairs in the Bible that are often mentioned together: David and Jonathan, Adam and Eve, Ruth and Naomi, and Abraham and Sarah. Some are joined together through a marital union. Others are connected through friendship or as a result of special circumstances. Usually, one out of the pair is more highlighted than the other. Such is the case with another pair who were connected by blood and friendship: Mary and Elizabeth. Mary, who is talked about more often and revered in Catholicism, is significant in her own right. After all she was the chosen vessel to bring our Savior into the world. Elizabeth, however, was special in her own right and she is who I want to highlight this week in our Biblical Women’s history month.
Introduced to us in Luke 1:5, we immediately find out that Elizabeth was the wife of a priest, Zechariah, and from the daughters of Aaron. Her very name is significant, which means “my God is my oath, a worshipper of God” (blueletterbible.org). There are a few other things we learn about both Elizabeth and her husband in verses 6-7 that should cause us to pause. Despite the fact that they were “both righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to the requirements of the Lord” (v. 6), they “had no children because Elizabeth could not conceive” (v. 7). To be barren in these times was seen as a disgrace (Luke 1:25) because the ability to conceive was a measure for womanhood and represented fruitfulness. There was no way to carry on the family name if a father didn’t have an heir. They didn’t have access to IVF, surrogacy or adoption. It didn’t help that they “were well along in years”, (v. 7) so having a child seemed dismal and a distant hope given their circumstances.
Elizabeth, however, didn’t allow her circumstances to dictate who she would be and it certainly didn’t stop her worship of God. How she was described in the beginning becomes evident even as her circumstances change in verse 24. Unlike her husband’s response, when the prophecy was given to him by the angel Gabriel that she would become pregnant, Elizabeth was quick to acknowledge that it was the Lord who had shown her such favor. What was once impossible with man, became possible with God.
Like Mary, Elizabeth became a chosen vessel to bring about God’s bigger purpose on the earth. Not only was there a miracle of a child in her womb that she would birth at her advanced age, but she was carrying purpose. God had selected Elizabeth to be the mother of the one who would be the forerunner for Jesus and pave the way for the Bridegroom to come–John the Baptist. What is even more exciting is that not only was she carrying purpose, she was filled with the Holy Spirit Himself because of who she was carrying!
When Elizabeth and Mary came together, joy and praise flowed out of both of them. Elizabeth, through her words, confirmed what Mary had just heard from the angel–that she, too, was carrying purpose. Her very words caused Mary to break forth in praise as she, too, acknowledged God’s favor and His mercy. Two purpose-filled women, one just starting out in life and one who was mature in years, came together and rejoiced in the One who had made it all possible for them to bring forth miracles and advance God’s plans.
Sis, if you are reading this and more mature in age thinking God can’t use you, think again. Elizabeth’s life was filled with purpose at her age, when in the natural it seemed hopeless and dismal. She continued to be faithful in her service to God and didn’t allow seemingly hopeless conditions to dictate her worship. God can use you at any age and in any circumstance. The question is, have you recognized it where He has already shown you favor?
How do you respond when your circumstances are not favorable? Do you allow it to dictate your worship and service to God? Are you aware of what you are carrying as it relates to your purpose?
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (CSB)
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