“And blessed is she that believed…” (Luke 1:42b & 1:45a)
Mary was blessed because of what God did for her (chose her to be the mother of our Lord Jesus) AND because of her faith response to Him (she believed). Both go hand in hand.
We all love to have God’s blessings, but if they don’t develop faith in us, what is the point?
God’s blessings in our lives are meant to prompt and to grow our faith. Unbelievers see God’s blessings in their lives and are challenged to put their faith in Him for salvation. And Believers experiencing God’s blessings are challenged to trust Him even more.
For example, when Jesus blessed Zacchaeus by choosing to stay at his house, Zacchaeus responded by trusting in Jesus for salvation AND by returning, in faith, up to four times the money he had stolen from people when collecting taxes (Luke 19:1-10).
On the other hand, when Jesus blessed the man by the pool of Bethesda, he responded by helping the religious authorities accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath laws (John 5:1-18).
What benefit is it to us if God blesses us, but we do not believe?
Indeed, blessings without belief bring judgment on those who were blessed. In Matthew 11:21-24, Jesus pronounced judgment on the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because, despite being blessed by the many miracles Jesus performed during His ministry, they never turned to God. God’s blessings did not result in their belief and so they were condemned.
Likewise, the Hebrews wandered in the desert for forty years because their unbelief prevented them from entering the Promised Land:
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” ~ Hebrews 3:19
Despite experiencing the parting of the Red Sea, the provision of manna, and many other miraculous blessings, they would not trust God and so they were doomed to the desert. Only their children would survive to enter into the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14).
Earlier in Luke chapter 1, when Zechariah heard the angel announce that he would be blessed with a son, he doubted and was struck with muteness. But when Mary heard the angel announce that she would become Jesus’ mother, she believed and was blessed even more as a result.
Let us endeavor to be like Mary. Let us respond to the blessings of God in our lives by trusting Him more.
There is great blessing in simply trusting that God’s Word is true: It means we don’t have to strive, we don’t have to pilot the ship. We, with our limited knowledge and understanding, can rest in God: knowing that He will guide us through the storms and bring us safely to harbor, safely to rest.