Today we’re going to talk about How God Blesses the Unlikely. Our world today consists of 8 billion people. You and I are just one out of 8 billion people. Are we significant? Can we make a difference? Does anyone notice us? If you look at the media, it may seem that so many others are smarter, more influential or richer than you. You may consider yourself as being unlikely to do great things in your life.
1 Corinthians 1:26 (ESV) For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
The people of the early church turned their world upside down. Yet, Paul writing here says that not many of those early believers were wise, powerful or came from influential families.
1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV) But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
By worldly standards the early Christians were foolish and weak. But those believers were chosen by God to shame the worldly wise and strong. In other words, God chose the unlikely to carry out His eternal purposes. Significance is not measured only in this life. Significance is finally measured in eternity. Many that were deemed unlikely and insignificant in this life will be seen in eternity as having achieved great things. God delights in blessing those who seem to be unlikely candidates by worldly standards. In the Old Testament, there was a man named Gideon.
Judges 6:11 (ESV) Now the angel of the LORD came … while … Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.
Israel at this time was being greatly oppressed by the Midianites, who stole all their food. Gideon was hiding in fear in a winepress, a hole in the ground, to thresh his wheat.
Judges 6:12 (ESV) And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
The angel gives Gideon a new name, mighty man of valor and says that the Lord is with Him. Gideon begins to argue with the angel, doubting what he has been told. The God speaks to Gideon.
Judges 6:14 (ESV) And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”
What did God just do here? He chose a fearful, hiding and seemingly unlikely person, who had no natural ability to do something great for God. In the same way, God today chooses unlikely people to do great things for Him. In fact, if you’re a believer listening to me today, God has chosen unlikely you to do great things for Him that will last for eternity.
So, today we’re going to look at another story from the New Testament to see how God blesses the unlikely. We’re going to learn how to cooperate with God’s blessing on our lives.
Luke 1:26-27 (ESV) In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
Scholars tell us that in Jesus’ day, a Jewish girl would be pledged to be married at about twelve years old. She would be married about one year after that. Out of all the Jewish girls in Israel, God chose one called Mary, an extremely popular name of the time. God’s choices are not random. God chose Mary because He had created her to be perfectly suited for His plan for her life.
Luke 1:28 (ESV) And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
Just like Gideon, the angel gives Mary a new name, Favored one. And the angel tells her that the Lord is with her. As we’ll see, Mary could never carry out God’s plan on her own. But with the Lord, she could fulfill God’s plan.
Luke 1:29 (ESV) But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
Mary was initially confused and troubled by the angel’s message. She had no idea what he was talking about and why she was a favored one. But God was not going to leave Mary in the dark. The angel would shortly tell her more about God’s plan for her life. Just as God chose Mary for His plan, so God has chosen you for His plan.
God has created each and every person with unique DNA and unique abilities. When a person becomes a believer, God gives them the capacity to function in spiritual gifts, as well as natural giftings. God created Mary to be alive, at just the right place, engaged to Joseph at that exact time in history.
In the same way, God has created you to live in this time, 2022 and in this city, St. Louis in order to carry out a special plan. God’s special plan for your life is first and foremost to bring God glory. As you carry out God’s plan, you will find life’s greatest joy and fulfillment. You will be doing what you were created to do.
God probably will not send an angel to tell you His plan for you. But He wants to tell you His plan and He will if you seek to know that plan. God has a plan for the rest of your life, no matter what age you may be. God chose you for His plan.
Luke 1:30 (ESV) And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
After the angel began to speak to her, Mary was afraid. It doesn’t seem that Mary was afraid of the angel’s appearance, but what He was saying to her, probably a young girl of 12 was troubling. The angel told Mary that she had found favor with God. I’m reminded of Noah finding favor in the eyes of the Lord. Why? Because he was a righteous man among the wicked people of his time. I believe that Mary was a righteous girl who was living a life of faith.
Luke 1:31 (ESV) And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
The angel tells Mary that she, a virgin, would conceive and bear a son. The son was to be named Jesus, which means Yahweh, the Lord, saves. All of this was obviously hard to Mary to understand and believe.
Luke 1:32-33 (ESV) He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
These next statements of the angel take the plan far outside anything that Mary could imagine. This would be no ordinary baby. He would be great, but more than that. He would be called the Son of the Most High, that is the Son of God. Meaning that He would be God. In case there was any doubt, this son would rule on the throne of David forever. And His kingdom would have no end. This son would be eternal, living forever. Mary had to overcome her fear and you also must overcome your fear of God’s plan for your life.
God’s plan for your life will always bring about an initial fear. Why? Because God’s plan for your life will always be impossible for you to accomplish on your own. Many times, God’s plans seem to make no sense, they may seem very illogical. It is fearful to think about following a plan that is out of your control. Yet, our fear must be replaced by faith in order to embrace God’s plan.
Fear and faith cannot coexist. Do not dismiss God’s plan because it seems impossible. Listen to the voice of God and believe in His plan for your life. As He has revealed His plan to you, He will guide and empower you to carry it out. God’s plan for Mary’s life was not easy at all. Yet God blessed her and her life is an encouragement to everyone who reads it. You must overcome fear to be blessed in God’s plan. To overcome fear, you must believe and …
Luke 1:34-35 (ESV) And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
Mary was not doubting what the angel was telling her would happen. She simply wanted to know how it could happen, as babies are only conceived with both a mother and a father. The angel gave Mary the answer to this supernatural conception. There would be no human father involved. The Holy Spirit would come upon Mary and the would overshadow her. The child would have Mary as his human mother and God as his Father.
There was no precedent of this ever happening in the past, nor would it ever happen in the future again. It was a onetime occurrence in the history of the world and Mary would be part of it. The child would be holy, that is without sin and would be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:36-37 (ESV) And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
The angel, Gabriel then tells Mary about another miracle that is happening. Her relative Elizabeth had conceived a son in her old age, John the Baptist. The angel concludes with the profound statement: nothing will be impossible for God. God can do anything. God can do things that are humanly or physically impossible. God has all power and He does impossible things all the time. It is these impossible things that make it possible for His plans to be fulfilled.
God always has been and always will be a supernatural God. He delights to do miracles, which are the impossible things the angel was talking about. How does Mary respond to the angel’s answer to her question?
Luke 1:38 (ESV) And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Mary responds with profound faith, her fear has been overcome. She begins by saying that she is a servant of the Lord. As we mentioned several Sundays ago, the Greek word for servant here is doulos, which literally means slave. Lord means master, so Mary is saying “I am the slave of the master.” Whatever He tells me to do, I will do. Wherever He leads me, I will follow.
Mary concludes by the statement of her faith, “let it be to me according to your word.” Mary was saying that she believed the word of the Lord through the angel would come to pass. And she welcomed the Lord’s plan for her life, as unexpected as it was. God choose wisely as He always does. Mary was a woman or girl we might say of profound faith. You also must choose to live as God’s servant.
Living as God’s servant is the only way that God’s blessings will overtake your life. Everyone serves someone. Quite simply, everyone either serves God or they serve Satan, those are the only two choices. Many people think they serve themselves, which is simply another way of describing serving Satan. Mary provides an example of how to cooperate with God’s blessing of the unlikely.
Mary was not sinless, she did not ascend into heaven, she is not to be worshipped or prayed to. But she was favored by the Lord for a very special task of bringing Jesus into the world. She serves of an example of faith that believes God for the impossible. As she did, you also must choose to live as God’s servant.
As God had a special name for Gideon and Mary, so God has a special name for you. I don’t know what that special name is, but God does. I do know that if you’re a believer, you are a son or daughter of God. And your heavenly Father created you with a plan in mind. A plan for your life and a plan for every day of your life. God chose and created you to carry out His plan.
Today, God wants you to commit to discovering and carrying out His plan for your remaining days. You must overcome your fear of giving up control of your life to Him. You must simply choose to live as God’s servant, as God’s slave. A slave simply does what His master tells him to do. When you live as God’s servant, you will discover how God blesses the unlikely.