He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. – Luke 1:51-53
In this portion of her song of rejoicing, Mary speaks prophetically about the work her child will do as the Messiah and sovereign Savior of the Lord’s people.
Men seek a champion who is the strongest, wisest, and most popular among them. But, as we learned from the story of David and Goliath, God does not do things the way man does. When God works in power among His creation, He turns the world upside down. The supposed wise are seen as fools, and the seemingly simple and poor inherit the earth.
Mary first speaks of the arm of God at work. Her words ring out the prophecy of Isaiah:
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. – Isaiah 63:1,5
And who is the arm of God if not Jesus? He is not described as a savior who tries to save His people if they will let Him. He is mighty to save. This means He has more than enough ability and desire to get the job done!
After struggling through several bouts of warring against God, Nebuchadnezzar finally comes into his right mind and confesses that he, his power, and his kingdom are nothing in comparison to God.
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? – Daniel 4:34-35
However, not only do the foolish kings of this world question God’s motives and power (what doest thou?), they try to plot against God.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. – Psalm 2:1-5
Men may plan to take over the world, but God just laughs and sends His Son, Who squishes them like a bug!
In the last part of this section of her song, Mary turns from the foolishness of trying to war against God to the blessings of God feeding His sheep. When asked why He was friends with publicans and sinners, Jesus responded:
And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. – Luke 5:31
He was saying that those who are full of themselves and their own self righteousness do not see themselves as sick. Therefore, they see no need of a physician, repentance, or a savior. But to those who are broken by sin and feel the need of a Savior, He is the Great Physician. He gives them the spirit of repentance and He feeds their hungry souls.
As a final thought, isn’t it interesting that Mary was not brought up in the Rabbinical schools like Zacharias, yet she uses Scripture to add knowledge to her faith so she may rejoice in the promise of God. Zacharias knew more Bible and had been working in the Temple for a very long time. Yet he forgot all he knew and had seen, and he ignored his God-given faith when the angel spoke to him.
I think Mary chose the better path to joy.