Posts Tagged ‘religion’


Under Gods Command

(Hannah’s Prayer)

1 Samuel 2:1-10

1 Then Hannah prayed and said;

My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high.

My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. 

2 There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you;

there is no Rock like our God

3 Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a GOD who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.

4 The bows of the warriors are broken, but hose who stumbled are armed with strength.  5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more.  She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.

6 The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.  8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.  

For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’S, upon them he has set the world. 

9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.  He will thunder against them form heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.

 Hannah praised God for his answer to her prayer for a son. The theme of her poetic prayer is her confidence in God’s sovereignty and her thankfulness for everything he had done. Mary, the mother of Jesus, modeled her own praise song, called the Magnificat, after Hannah’s prayer (Luke 1:46-55). Like Hannah and Mary, we should be confident of God’s ultimate control over the events in our lives, and we should be thankful for the ways God has blessed us. By praising God for all good gifts, we acknowledge his ultimate control over all the affairs of life.

Hannah praised God for being a Rock—firm, strong, and unchanging. In our fast-paced world, friends come and go, and circumstances change. It’s difficult to find a solid foundation that will not change. Those who devote their lives to achievements, causes, or possessions have as their security that which is finite and changeable. The possessions that we work so hard to obtain will all pass away. But God is always present. Hope in him. He will never fail.

No doubt as Hannah said these words, she was thinking of Peninnah’s arrogance and chiding. Hannah did not have to get even with Peninnah. She knew that God is all-knowing, and that he will judge all sin and pride. Hannah wisely left judgment up to God. Resist the temptation to take justice into your own hands. God will weigh your deeds as well as the deeds of those who have wronged you.

Lets Bring it Home: Because we live in a world where evil abounds and where war and terrorism always threaten, we may forget that God is in control. Hannah saw God as (1) solid as a rock (2:2), (2) the one who knows what we do (2:3), (3) sovereign over all the affairs of people (2:4-8), and (4) the supreme Judge who administers perfect justice (2:10). Remembering God’s sovereign control helps us put both world and personal events in perspective.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 18:13,15,17 – 13) He who answers before listening-that is his folly and his shame
15) The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.
17) The first to present his case seems right , till another comes forward and questions him

In these concise statements, there are three basic principles for making sound decisions:

(1) get the facts before answering;
(2) be open to new ideas;
(3) make sure you hear both sides of the story before judging.

All three principles center around seeking additional information. This is difficult work, but the only alternative is prejudice-judging before getting the facts.


Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:12 -17As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
     15“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
     17Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

Eli was a Priest, and miss judged this woman at first. But instead of just walking away with that believe of her being drunk with wine, he spoke to her and told her to put away your wine. Then he found out he miss judge her, and listened to her story.

Lets Bring Home: How many times do we miss judge a situation, and walk away with the thought of what we think we saw? When at times if we speak to him or her, we also can find the truth in someone’s situation, and give him or her a word of encouragement that just might change his or her life. How many people have we walked by or came to us and we did not have time which later ended up in a bad situation or Suicide?


Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:10-11 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Al mighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” 

Be careful what you promise in prayer because God may take you up on it. Hannah so desperately wanted a child that she was willing to strike a bargain with God. God took her up on her promise, and to Hannah’s credit, she did her part, even though it was painful (1:27-28).     Although we are not in a position to negotiate with God, he may still choose to answer a prayer that has an attached promise.

Lets Bring it Home: When you pray, ask yourself, “Will I follow through on any promises I make to God if he grants my request?” It is dishonest and dangerous to ignore a promise, especially to God. God keeps his promises, and he expects you to keep yours.


Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:8-10 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
     9Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.

Hannah knew her husband loved her, but even his encouragement could not comfort her. She could not keep from listening to Peninnah’s jeers and letting Peninnah’s words erode her self-confidence. Although we cannot keep others from unjustly criticizing us, we can choose how we will react to their hurtful words.

Hannah had good reason to feel discouraged and bitter. She was unable to bear children; she shared her husband with a woman who ridiculed her (1:7); her loving husband could not solve her problem (1:8); and even the high priest misunderstood her motives (1:14). But instead of retaliating or giving up hope, Hannah prayed. She brought her problem honestly before God.

Lets Bring it Home: Each of us may face times of barrenness when nothing “comes to birth” in our work, service, or relationships. It is difficult to pray in faith when we feel so ineffective. But, as Hannah discovered, prayer opens the way for God to work Rather than dwelling upon our problems, we can enjoy the loving relationships God has given us. By so doing, we can exchange self-pity for hope.


Under Gods Command

    1There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.    
3Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. 4Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.
 

The book of 1 Samuel begins in the days when the judges still ruled Israel, possibly during the closing years of Samson’s life. Samuel was Israel’s last judge and the first priest and prophet to serve during the time of a king. He was the best example of what a good judge should be, governing the people by God’s Word and not by his own impulses. Samuel was the man who anointed Saul as Israel’s first king.

Although many great Old Testament leaders (such as Abraham, Jacob, and David) had more than one wife, this was not God’s original intention for marriage. Genesis 2:24 states that in marriage, two people become one flesh. Why then did polygamy exist among God’s people? First, it was to produce more offspring to help in the man’s work and to assure the continuation of the man’s family line. Numerous children were a symbol of status and wealth. Second, in societies where many young men were killed in battle, polygamy became an accepted way of supporting women who otherwise would have remained unmarried and, very likely, destitute. Nevertheless, polygamy often caused serious family problems, as we see in this story of Hannah and Peninnah.

The tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) was located at Shiloh, the religious center of the nation (see Joshua 18:1). Three times a year all Israelite men were required to attend a religious festival held at the tabernacle: the Passover with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16). Elkanah made this pilgrimage regularly to fulfill God’s commands. (See Exodus 23:14-17 for the regulations concerning the pilgrimage, and see the note on Exodus 40:34 for more on the tabernacle.)

Hannah had been unable to conceive children, and in Old Testament times, a childless woman was considered a failure. Her barrenness was a social embarrassment for her husband. Children were a very important part of the society’s economic structure. They were a source of labor for the family, and it was their duty to care for their parents in their old age. If a wife could not bear children, she was often obligated by ancient Middle Eastern custom to give one of her servant girls to her husband to bear children for her. Although Elkanah could have left Hannah (a husband was permitted to divorce a barren wife), he remained lovingly devoted to her despite social criticism and his rights under civil law.

Part of God’s plan for Hannah involved postponing her years of childbearing. While Peninnah and Elkanah looked at Hannah’s outward circumstances, God was moving ahead with his plan.

Lets Bring it Home: Think of those in your world who are struggling with God’s timing in answering their prayers and who need your love and help. By supporting those who are struggling, you may help them remain steadfast in their faith and confident in his timing to bring fulfillment to their lives.


Under Gods Command

1 Corinthians 9:16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

 Preaching the gospel was Paul’s gift and calling, and he said he couldn’t stop preaching even if he wanted to. Paul was driven by the desire to do what God wanted, using his gifts for God’s glory.

Lets Bring it Home: What special gifts has God given you? Are you motivated, life Paul, to honor God with your gifts?