And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46-55
Mary’s song lists at least 17 attributes of the God she loves.
- God is Lord—“My soul magnifies the Lord.”
Mary’s God is the Lord, and the Lord is in charge. This is of great comfort for her as she looks at her life and her future, wondering what will happen to her fiancé, her reputation, and her family. How will she feed the child? How will she raise God? Her response to these questions is: “The Lord’s in charge. I trust Him.”
- God is Savior—“My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Some Christian traditions believe that Mary was sinless; she was not. In this song, Mary herself expresses her need for a Savior. We’re all sinners and, like Mary, we all need a Savior.
- God is omniscient—“He has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”
Mary describes God as omniscient, which means all-knowing. Her God knows everything. He sees her “humble estate.” He knows that she is young, poor, pregnant, and without many resources at her disposal. He’s a Father who is attentive to the details in the lives of His sons and daughters.
- God is dignifying—“From now on all generations will call me blessed.”
Life may not be so easy right now, but Mary sees the long view of things. She doesn’t cling to her reputation as an idol, however, and God gives Mary the dignity that others do not.
- God is mighty—“He who is mighty.”
Mary knows that God is powerful. This doesn’t mean that everything goes perfectly, or that life is always easy, or that we’ll win every single time. But it does mean that as history marches forward we know the end, and we belong to the King who wins.
- God is personal—“He has done great things for me.”
Mary celebrates that God has done great things “for me.” She describes His greatness in personal terms that reveal a God who loves not just people in general, but individual people because He is personal and cares for us personally.
- God is holy—“Holy is His name.”
All He does flows from who He is. God is perfectly good. He doesn’t do evil; He only does good. Mary had difficult life circumstances but trusted in the goodness of her holy God. When circumstances are painful and people are awful it is vital to remember that God is holy, or different; altogether, only and always good.
- God is merciful—“His mercy is from generation to generation.”
The mercy of God is mindboggling and legacy-transforming. God is so rich in mercy that He already has it stored up ready to pour out on your great-great-great-grandkids who will be born long after your life on earth has ceased.
- God is worthy—“His mercy is for those who fear Him.”
God deserves reverence, awe, respect, submission, and obedience. Who else is going to be the center of your life and the source of your identity? Someone or something will be, but God is the only one worthy to be revered, respected, praised, honored, and loved.
- God is powerful—“He has shown strength with His arm.”
Think of a soldier who pulls someone out of harm’s way. Think of a firefighter who drags someone out of a burning building. Think of a father who reaches into the water to pull out his drowning child. God is like that. His strong arm is like that.
- God is sovereign—“He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; He has brought down the mighty from their thrones.”
Mary had no human or civil rights as we know them today. Most likely, she would not have been permitted to buy property or testify in court. These are bold words for a pregnant teenage peasant girl in a rural town.
- God is gracious—“He has exalted those of humble estate.”
He takes those who, in the world’s eyes, have little value or purpose and He bestows on them great worth. God gives grace to those who are disgraced. God lifts up those who are beaten down. To the disregarded and discarded God gives encouragement and exaltation.
- God is generous—“He has filled the hungry with good things.”
Mary was poor. She knew what it was like to have hunger, but she worships a God who gives generously. He provides physical and spiritual nourishment.
- God is just—“The rich He has sent away empty.”
God doesn’t let people steal and exploit forever, but He takes it away from them in the end and sometimes even before then. God will ultimately reclaim and redistribute all that is his—and all is his.
- God is humble—“He has helped His servant Israel.”
God is humble, and He helps His people. The truth is that He doesn’t need us; we need Him. In this way, God is a Father who rejoices in helping His sons and daughters who desperately need Him.
- God is faithful—“He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring.”
Mary praises God for His faithfulness to generations. God honors His word. Always. If He says He is going to do something, He will do it.
- God is eternal—“Forever.”
God is eternal. None of these wonderful characteristics of God will ever expire. When it comes to God, we can exuberantly say, “you are never changing.” God is not only glorious, great, and good, He is “forever.”
Which of these seventeen attributes of God found in Mary’s song do you find most comforting? Why?