In today’s Lent Devotional for Women, I have a confession. I am behind in my daily Bible reading. But, as I was reading today, because when I’m behind, I just pick it right back up–no guilt, no worries. As I was reading today I had a revelation I wanted to share.
When I had this revelation and my first thought was, “I have to share this with the group!” So today in our Lenten devotional, I want to move from the topic of friendship back to the topic of prayer. Unanswered or not answered in a timely manner prayer to be exact.
Today I was reading from the Book of Luke. In the Book of Luke, Chapter two is the story of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. And, I actually have two points to share in this reflection: obedience and prayer.
“Joseph was obliged to go three times a year, as were all the males in Israel, at the feasts of the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, Deuteronomy 16:16.” Deuteronomy 16:16–“Each year every man in Israel must celebrate these three festivals: the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters. On each of these occasions, all men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he chooses, but they must not appear before the LORD without a gift for him.”
When I was looking this up, I came across three points of agreement in three different commentaries. The first point, “The yearly journey to Jerusalem may, therefore, be taken as an indication of devout obedience, not without its bearing on the thoughts of the child who, during those visits, remained behind in the home at Nazareth.”
The second point is this, “The constant yearly presence of Joseph the carpenter and Mary at this feast is another indication of the rigid obedience of the holy family of Nazareth to the ritual of the Law of Moses.”
And finally the third, “So that this was a voluntary thing in Mary; which discovers her piety and religion, and her great regard to the ordinances and appointments of God,”
The points in agreement being, the Holy Family were obedient to the Law. Even though Jesus was/is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, He obeyed the Law.
Now, the obvious question is, are we? Do we obey the Laws of God? There really isn’t much more to say on this point. We either do, or we don’t. Actually, there is something to add, if we’re not obedient, we need to confess it, repent, and have a resolve to strive for obedience.
Before we get to the prayer point, let’s take a moment to consider Mary’s obedience. And in thinking about her obedience, the word desire came to mind.
Mary didn’t have to make the yearly trip to Jerusalem, it was “voluntary.” But so great was her “regard to the ordinances and appointments of God” that she desired to go. How many of us desire to do a little extra in our spiritual life out of love for God?
We all have an obligation to learn more about God, His ways, and our faith. More than a Sunday sermon or midweek Bible study. Do we take advantage of the various opportunities or do we make opportunities and space to learn more of God, to spend more time with Him?
Look, there are seasons where “one more thing” might be the thing that tips our blessed scales! But can’t we grab our Bible before our phone? Can’t we read a spiritual book over a fictional novel? Can’t we set a timer to bring our minds back into focus throughout the day? We can…if we desire it.
As I read the story of Our Lord staying behind in Jerusalem and Mary and Joseph searching for Him for three days, this thought occurred to me, “Even the mother and father of Jesus had to wait for their prayer to be answered.”
Seriously think about that one for a minute.
The Scriptures tell us they searched for Him for three days. We all know what parents would do when their child is missing for three minutes much less three days. We pray! Probably like we have never prayed before. And yet, it was three days before they found Him safe.
Do you get this? Is it sinking in? I only ask because considering how many times I’ve read or heard that story, it has never occurred to me that in those three days, Joseph and Mary were praying and it took three days for their prayer to be answered. The point, even the earthly father and mother of the Son of God had to persevere in prayer. C’mon now!
We are so close to Easter, persevere my friends! If you feel like you can’t find Jesus, keep looking and praying. Put yourself in the picture with Joseph and Mary. Imagine searching and praying with them to find Our Lord. You will find Him!
More Lent Devotional for Women posts.