Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Make Room for a Samuel

Make Room for a Samuel


As I write this, I know it will be through blurred, teary eyes because this is so precious to me. I have so many friends that cross my mind as I think on this passage and I know that I have many friends that don't immediately cross my mind but this is a direct reflection of their life. Goodness knows how deeply it has effected mine!

1 Samuel 1:1-28, [NAS]

1 Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the LORD there.
4 When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters; 5 but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. 6 Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.

My friend Lori Akers calls it a God Wink.   Like a subtle smile amongst great distress.  A God wink is when you're going through a trial or a difficult season, and it's almost like you feel the Lord tap you on the shoulder reassuring you of His presence. I see it here, in her husband’s love towards her.  Hannah was so broken. She desired a child desperately, but the Lord had closed her womb.  Not only that, but her precious husband had 2 wives, and Peninnah, the other wife, had children.

6 Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. 7 It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat.

This is a little off the subject but follow me for a moment. I can’t overlook this part in the story.  Perhaps you have not been "blessed" to know women who are in the flesh and respond to things in their human nature. This is what we tend to do. When we're insecure or we feel threatened we tear each other apart. This is where gossip begins, perceptions of what we think may happen or has happened, our worry, fear and insecurities and the list goes on and on. Without the redemptive power and reliance on Christ we are a wicked, wicked gender.  When we begin to feel threatened, we need to stop in that moment and surrender it.  If we claim to be women of God we must stop this cycle!

This is how Peninnah is responding to towards Hannah. Peninnah knew Hannah was the favorite.

On the other hand, put yourself in Peninnah's shoes for a moment. How threatening do you think it would be to have another woman in your man's life as a marriage partner especially knowing that the "other woman" was his favorite even though you had given him children and Hannah had not? Even though you're doing all the right things, she's still his favorite. Can you feel the bitterness Peninnah has here?

We cannot allow our emotions to rule us.  If we are not reliant on Christ and worshipping Him with our life, which means worshipping Him with our obedient, surrendered and quiet spirit, this is what we do to each other.
It is un-Holy in every way.

7 It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. 8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

However, “Praise the Lord” that they think differently because this world would not have survived as long.  Instead of having the 194/195 nations we have today can you imagine how many nations we would have? I think every woman would quite possibly have her own. We can be a little nuts. 
And here is an example of how God created men and their thinking completely different from women's. He so did not "get it".  Can you imagine how alone this made Hannah feel? 

9 Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. 10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”
12 Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.”

I’m going off subject again here for a moment, but stay with me. 

Isn't it sad that the Priest at the temple was unfamiliar with seeing a broken heart at the alter?

Oh, I am so ready for the church to break free from the norm and fall on our faces before a Holy God. How much longer, Church, before we forget worrying about what others might think, and we come to church ready for worship? How long until we shake off our fears of non-conformity and fall head-over-heels in love with Jesus, where no one's opinion matters more than His?
This is in no way a pat on the back to those who do go to a church like this: a church where people aren't afraid to fall on their face at the altar.
This is a question to you. Are you a child of God that can worship God through the singing of biblical Hymns or Praise and Worship or by taking a Hike in the Woods, or by watching the waves crash on the shores. 
The point is,

I don't need a certain style of music or a certain
Atmosphere to worship Yahweh.
My God is God no matter where I am and no matter what situation I'm in
I pray that my life will praise Him!
Paul and Silas worshipped in a Jail Cell
 for crying out loud,
and I'm going to have the audacity to say that I can't Praise Him with a Hymn or while I vacuum the living room for the fifth time that day? 

Are we Praising Him with Our Lives? Are we praising Him while we pack the school lunches or are waiting humbly for a future spouse? Are we praising Him while we vacuum the house?
Have you realized that worship is not just the time of singing before a message on Sunday morning?
In most cases that’s not even worship! 
Worship is living a life in total obedience and surrender to God!  I worship in my biblical submission towards my husband. I worship by the way I pray for the Lord to guard my tongue. I worship when I live my life and in everything I do, I do it unto Him!

Philippians 2:14,
Do everything without grumbling or arguing. (NIV)

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.  (NIV)

15 But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16 Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.” 17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” 18 She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
 19 Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah [g]had relations with Hannah his wife,
and the LORD remembered her!

Hallelujah! The Lord remembered her, not that He had forgotten her by any means, but that the thought of her crossed His mind, it blows my mind! How humbling it is to know Jehovah God, the maker of the Heavens and the Earth, and I cross His Mind!
You cross His mind. Have you ever felt alone? Forgotten? Well, you can rest assured today that JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, the LORD who is present, has remembered you!  You cross His mind. The bible says we can call Him Abba, Daddy, a dearly loved Father thinks often of His children.

20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the LORD.”

Oh, how precious those words are to me! "I have asked for him from the LORD."

Why do you think God allowed Hannah to go through this?

If He had not, do you think that she would have promised Samuel to God?  Do you think that she would have brought him to the temple at 3 years of age, to be brought up in the house of the Lord?  Do you think that she possibly knew what huge plans God had for that Child?  Samuel was the chosen one that ordained David. Really?  Do you think that she had even a clue?  Eli, the current priest, had 2 wicked sons. What would have happened to the priesthood if it hadn't been for Samuel? 

How truly precious is that? How amazing is that? 
Lord, if that be the result of my trial then Your will be done! Trials are a blessing. They are hard at the time, but goodness if they teach me a new truth about God, then I can't measure it's worth.
If my life is laid out for others to view as a testimony of God, there is nothing more I desire from my life!
I want to know Him and to make Him known!
I am so blessed by godly women who have gone through this type of trial, which has brought them to adoption.  They have a broken heart and lonely arms that long for a child and it brings them to adoption. A precious child, a gift from God, and a child whose life is now a testimony to our great God!   A child who would have life but had it not been for adoption would they have been introduced to Christ?

Don't take it lightly that before the foundations of the earth when God thought of that child, He had you on His mind as the parent that child needed!

Don't discount your trials!  If God has allowed sorrow in your life, make room for a Samuel!

21 Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD and stay there forever.”

What Character! Hannah had not forgotten her promise to the Lord, even though her promise came at a great price. How many times has the Lord acted on my behalf and immediately I discounted it as coincidence?  Or think, it would have happened anyway?
Oh Lord, may I never look at any circumstance in my life as coincidence! May I always be mindful of Your Lordship, in all things!

23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you. Remain until you have weaned him; only may the LORD confirm His word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli. 26 She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD.
27 For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

Oh Lord, I pray that this will be my hearts utmost plea. Lord, You have entrusted me with my children. I pray that I will Honor Your authority over their lives, All the Days of their life!

I pray this blesses you as Radically as it blesses me!


1 comment:

  1. I love the Hannah story! So glad God included it in the Bible! In my upcoming book I talk about this story. Even though it was not barrenness that drove me to pray for a daughter to adopt (for nearly a decade), Hannah's story is close to my heart. Here is what I wrote in my book about it:

    "Deep inside, I still greatly struggled with unanswered prayer. Even though it was Hannah’s barrenness in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel that caused her to grieve, I could resonate with her emotions and spirit while she poured her heart out to God—waiting year after year for His favorable reply. "

    --Blessings, Delana