Hannah’s Prayer Path

I Samuel 2:18-21

You may have heard the statement, “You can never outgive God.” But how many of us really believe it? We all know about Hannah desperately begging God for a child and God granting her request. And most of us have read far enough along to know that Hannah made a coat for Samuel every year, which she took to him at the yearly sacrifice time. Imagine the joy of sewing that precious coat. But the story doesn’t end there! Verse 21 gives us more: “Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD.” What was the blessing? The Lord visited Hannah. What greater blessing could she have than a visit from the Lord! This word “visit” is paquad in the Hebrew, which means to look after or care for. The Lord looked after Hannah and cared for her. He gave her three sons and two daughters! How God loves to bless His children. Hannah is such an incredible example for us. Let’s review:

Hannah’s Prayer Path:

  1. Finding her point of desperation and admitting her spiritual barrenness.
  2. Pouring out bitterness of soul and in return allowing the fullness of God to fill her to overflowing.
  3. Believing in the God of the impossible: whether she was delivered FROM the trial before entering it, delivered OUT OF the middle of the trial, or delivered THROUGH the trial. (Some terminology credit to Beth Moore here. (smile) )
  4. Praising God for salvation, security, sanctification, strength, sustenance, service, superiority, supremacy, settlement, sentinel and sovereignty.

     

And then, she was visited by the Lord.

Many Christians have a true heart’s desire to be visited by Him. But we certainly don’t want to follow the above path to get there. Why, that path has too many rocks and stones that could hurt our feet! And those slippery spots might just make us fall down. Who knows what could come out onto the path and further harm us?

We fail to realize that our focus should not be on the path itself but on the One we are following through the path.

Lord Jesus:

I thank you so much for the opportunity to use my words to point others to You. I pray that You would place in the hearts of those reading this blog an undeniable urge to spend more time in prayer with You after reading this study. Thank you for the opportunity to obey in whatever capacity You lead. May we continue in service until Your kingdom come. Amen.

Waiting… and “Action!”

I Samuel 2:11-18

Wait up! Wait for me. Wait a minute….Wait, wait, wait. We hear the word “wait” and automatically think of a temporary hold. We see a sign that says “waiting room” and immediately picture people sitting in lethargy, yawning extensively.

In our passage today, continuing in the story of Hannah, we arrive at the doorstep of Eli’s wicked sons. Because the focus of this lesson is not on them, suffice it to say that they were very wicked in God’s sight. Seven verses are allocated to describe their wickedness. My belief is that the purpose of this description was for that one little word at the beginning of verse 18, “But.” Contrasted to Eli’s terrible sons was Samuel. Anytime you see the word “but,” then you should immediately think of the exception to the rule. “But Samuel ministered before the Lord.” What does this mean? The word “minister” in this verse means to serve or wait upon. Do you think Samuel was lounging around the tabernacle, watching the sundial and reading National Stoneographic? Absolutely not! He was in service!

Wikipedia identifies the duties of “waiting staff,” as: 1. preparing tables for a meal, 2. taking customers’ orders, 3. serving drinks and food, and 4.cleaning up before, after and during servings in a restaurant. All four words used for the duties are ACTION words. Preparing. Taking orders. Serving. Continually looking for opportunities. Sounds like what Samuel did. And sounds like what we should be doing while we eagerly watch for our Lord, anticipating His arrival with exuberance, though we may feel that we are waiting for something more from Him.

I never just wait. As a mother of six children, one with a rare degenerative disease, there is rarely time to just sit and do nothing. I attempt to stay out of doctors’ office, clinics, testing centers, and hospitals as much as possible. God’s plan for our family requires those environments to be a part of our lives to some degree; however, I decided long ago that whenever we are in a waiting room, it will be a party! We take coloring pages, crayons, books, puzzles, and balloons and every child lights up when our family is just “waiting.” Suddenly mothers are smiling and sick children are laughing. Stressed-out nurses and frowning receptionists are transformed into happy-to-be-in-this-field employees. Waiting can be enjoyable and profitable!

Maybe you are waiting on a medical diagnosis so that you know what the next step is:

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Maybe you are waiting on just the right job opportunity:

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Maybe you are waiting for something so deep that you have not dared to share it with anyone:

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

Waiting is an action.

So what are you waiting for?

 

The Princess and the Pauper: From Spiritual Rags to Riches

I Samuel 2:6-10

In chapter 2 of I Samuel, Hannah is praising God in prayer and thanksgiving. Her reflection of God’s power and provision is full of depth! In the last entry, we discussed that verse 8 essentially describes the wonderful power of God to take the worst and exalt it to the best. Hannah describes this process as going from being a beggar in the “dunghill” (KJV) to being a princess in the palace. This place where the beggar lived was essentially the city dumping ground. For ashes, for refuse, for human waste. Not a very pretty site, huh? I’ve often felt sorry for our trash men; at one time, we had three children in diapers. (We’re down to two now.) The smell of 100 degree rotting diapers is not pleasant to say the least! On some summer trash collection days I felt we should put up a warning sign at least one block in advance so the collection force could put on their special duty uniforms. Spiritually speaking, as Christians, this is exactly what Christ did for us. He took us out of our own filthy mess and placed us in the palace of the King. Romans 8:17, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” We are His children and the King of glory calls us His heirs! So put on your crown and begin to act like royalty, with dignity and respect for what Christ did for us.

Continuing on in verses 9-11, we see Hannah praising God for His protection. To summarize Hannah’s reasons to praise the Lord, let’s review:

  1. Salvation (v. 1)- Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

     

  2. Sanctification (v. 2)- John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

     

  3. Sovereignty (v.3)- Psalm 89:15, 16 “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.   In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in THY RIGHTEOUSNESS shall they be exalted.” (Emphasis mine.)

     

  4. Strength (v.4) Psalm 62:5-8 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.   In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.”

     

  5. Starbucks (v.5) (Ok, Sustenance, but this is the 21st century, right?) Psalm 146- This psalm is one of my favorites. Please, look it up; use blueletterbible.org if you’d like.

     

  6. Service (A place to serve) v.5 Psalm 100:2 “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”

     

And now for the remaining “S’s”:

  1. Superiority (v.6) It’s all HIS! To “bring up” is alah, which means to excel or be superior to. He is the Superior One.

     

  2. Supremacy( v.7) Webster’s definition is : controlling power over others. Look at the last blog entry for further explanation, but God takes the worst and uses it for the best.

     

  3. Settlement(v.8) We have an inheritance!

     

  4. Sentinel (v.9) The Lord is our guard. I Sam. 17:47 “…the battle is the Lord’s.” (Oh wow, a whole other blog entry!)

     

  5. Security (v.10) We can be assured that God will exalt the horn of his anointed. What does this mean?

     

Twice in Hannah’s second prayer in chapter 2, she refers to the “horn.”  In Biblical times, an animal’s horn was used for at least three different purposes: 1. To hold water. 2. To communicate with others. 3. To make music.  In Biblical references to the word “horn,” our spiritual application can be: 1. Our relationship with God should be our reason for living; it should provide the water for our thirsty souls. And boy do we need it daily!  2. Prayer is our consistent communication with God; our “horn” should not be silent! 3. Praise to the Lord is His delight; He loves it when we give Him praise! Hannah praised God for the opportunity to return her son to Him.   She praised Him in spite of the reality of her situation. After all, she was leaving her little boy in a strange place with strange people!  She praised Him for Who He is and all that He had done in her life. She was holding to the security she praised God for in verse 10.

It’s day number forty million of gray skies and drizzling rain here in Columbus, OH, the land of better weather, with forty more million days of gray skies ahead.(ok, I exaggerate.) The challenge for today: Praise Him! Make a list of ten things for which to praise Him. Take the above reasons for which Hannah praised the Lord and personalize them. He will be near to you; it’s in His Word. Psalm 148:14 “He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; [even] of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD. ”

 


Just a mom with a heart for God