“He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.”
It might be easy to be mesmerized by the beauty of the music or tranquillized by the elegance of the poetry, yet fail to grasp how very radical and revolutionary Mary’s Song really is. God’s Kingdom will come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s Messiah will destroy dark powers and thrones, call kings and rulers to render account, and bring justice to the hungry and oppressed. Here is a revolution that comes not from us, but from God.
With prophetic vision Mary sings how God “has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts”. The Greek word (huperphanos) translated “proud” literally means one who “portrays himself above other people”. This is arrogance not only in the way people portray themselves to others, but also inwardly with respect to “the thoughts of their hearts”. That is, in their “hearts”, in the very core of their inner life, emotions, reasoning and will, they think themselves superior to others. They are not unlike the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable who stood in the Temple and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people” (Luke 18:11).
Tragically, those who are “proud in the thoughts of their hearts” are just ignorant, not knowing the facts. They do not know their desperate need for grace or a Savior. They imagine that salvation is something they are well able to achieve by themselves; they congratulate themselves for having attained such a good life.
Mary is well trained in the wisdom of Proverbs and knows that “Towards the proud God is scornful, but to the humble he shows favour” (Proverbs 3:34). God hates not the proud, but rather, their pride, because it blinds them to their true condition. It is the broken and humble who most often know their spiritual bankruptcy and are gifted by God with faith. To be “poor in spirit” and “to mourn” for one’s spiritual need is to be truly blessed (Matthew 5:3-4). The grace of God flows downhill, reaching people at their lowest ebb.
So God calls people to get real and be humble. Be realistic and objective about the way things really are. From our first breath to our last we are dependent upon God. All that we have comes from Him: our very lives, our hope, our Savior, and our future.
- How might God be calling you today to be more humble in your dealings with others?
- Why do you think God is so opposed to the proud?
- How do you think God might be calling you to get real about, or to see your true spiritual condition?