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Great God of Reversals: Look for a River in Your Desert


Woman walking in desert

I’ve been meditating on the Magnificat. Mary then, and I now, rejoice in our Great God of Reversals.

Do you?

A Personal Praise Song to the God of Reversals

How many can you find in Mary’s song of praise?

46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

I count at least six. You can’t miss the reversals in Mary’s words. They are the point. The Mighty God of the universe, not only condescended, but did so to forever reverse and reorder our human value system.

The conception and birth of the King of the Universe to a humble maiden announces the beginning of that magnificent restructuring. When wise men from the East bring treasures to a toddler in a backwater town, hailing him as King and an angel choir declares a baby in a manger the Savior of the world, we’d better believe that one day every knee will bow to Jesus Christ the Lord.

Whether you’re blue and low, or, like Mary, down and out but, at Gabriel’s news, looking up, or feeling with me “a little loose in the joints and very shabby,” pondering the Great God of Reversals feeds hope.

Job & Other Poster Children

I honestly wasn’t looking for it. But my Bible reading plan landed me in Job this month. These reversal verses are from Job’s mouth in chapter 12, not to mention Job himself—once “the greatest of all the people of the east,” then the most pitied, and exalted once again.

Job is poster child for the Great God of Reversals.

21 He pours contempt on princes
    and loosens the belt of the strong.
22 He uncovers the deeps out of darkness
    and brings deep darkness to light.
23 He makes nations great, and he destroys them;
    he enlarges nations, and leads them away.

Now that I think of it, Job and Mary would have to compete with Moses and Joseph and Ruth and David and Esther and multiple prophets and Apostle Paul and all 12 disciples for a headshot on the Great Reversal poster.

Reversals are how God works. What are the Beatitudes if not reversals of value in God’s upside down kingdom? To reverse long-standing order reveals power. Both ways reveal power: humbling the proud and exalting the humble, turning deserts into rivers and rivers into deserts, filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich “empty away.”

Great Reversals, Great God

Great reversals are the work of a great God. We see it in the epic historical deliverance Psalm, 107.

33 He turns rivers into a desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
    a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,
    and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields and plant vineyards
    and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
    and he does not let their livestock diminish.
39 When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction
and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad,
and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

That’s it.

I could unfold the reversal in rich man and Lazarus, how the rich man “received good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but Lazarus was comforted the rich man landed in agony,” or how Haman was hung on the gallows he had constructed for Mordecai and King Xerxes elevated Mordecai to second in command.

I could tell you but I won’t.

Instead, I’ll pose two questions, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. God is faithful to all of his promises. When Jesus says those who mourn will be comforted, they will. When he says that he opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, he does.

When the time is right, our Mighty God can reverse the most irreversible circumstances. He can soften the hardest hearts. He can.

Let Us Consider

So here you go. I’d love to read your answers in the comments, or in a personal email.

  1. Where, in the Bible or in your actual-factual life, have you seen the reversing work of our God?
  2. In what situation in your life are you waiting for our Great God of Reversals to act?

I left off the last verse of Psalm 107. Psalm 107 is rather like the Magnificat. It’s a joyful tribute, “God to the Rescue.” And we must hear its last verse:

43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
    let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Will you attend to these things? Will you join me and worship the Great God of Reversals?

Because he is also the good God whose love endures forever.

And his steadfast love will never be reversed.

This post was originally published at AbigailWallace.com.

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