Trusting God for Our Future – 1 Samuel 16

Do you have an important decision to make about your future?   It could be related to your job, your health, your family, whether to move, where to go to school, who to marry or your children.   God is always two or three steps ahead of us preparing and providing for our future.

In our passage today, God is (yet again) providing for the welfare of the people, just as God had previously provided deliverance from Egypt; bread, quail, water, and the law in the wilderness; a land during the settlement; and guidance and leadership during the period of the Judges.

At the start of 1 Samuel 16, God says to Samuel: “I have provided for myself a king among [Jesse’s] sons.” The Hebrew word that is translated as “provided” literally means “to see” or “I have seen to it.”  This Hebrew term provides the key to this story. It signals that God has “seen” the people’s need even before they are aware of it. As God had done in the past, God was again venturing out ahead of the people, writing their story before it had come to be.

God’s guidance is usually not obvious at the moment as it is looking back.  We may not sense what God is doing in our lives or how God is leading us. Even the great prophet Samuel did not know what God was doing at that moment. This story, with so much of the Old Testament, affirms that God’s “providence” operates beyond the scale of what we can see.  Note also that God’s eye here is on the whole as well as the individual.

1 Samuel 16 is a much-loved story.   Samuel is still grieving Saul’s downfall; He also unsure what the future holds since he is old, his sons have been rejected as leaders and now Saul is spinning out of control.  God tells him to stop grieving and get moving.  It’s interesting that grief like this has an expiration date.  God gives Samuel two reasons why his grieving period should come to an end:  because God has rejected Saul and is not changing his mind.  Samuel’s grief will not change anything in regard to Saul. Sometimes our grief persists simply because we will not face the reality of a situation. When God closes the door, it’s closed. And secondly Samuel no longer needs to grieve because God has chosen a new king. Instead of grieving over what was, Samuel needs to be encouraged about what will be.

When Samuel gets to Bethlehem, the family of Jesse is gathered.  Of course, there is only one problem with this idea of an anointing ceremony: who is Samuel supposed to anoint? Jesse has come with seven of his boys. Which of them is the king?

But we read that when Jesse’s family first arrives, Samuel seems convinced that God’s choice is as clear as day. It has to be Eliab, the firstborn. The guy just looks like a king. I like the way one commentator expresses this:

“One can understand Samuel’s thinking. Eliab was doubtless an impressive hunk of manhood. Around 6’ 2’’ perhaps, about 225 pounds, met people well, all man but with social grace, excellent taste in after-shave lotion, and so on. Perhaps he’d starred as wide receiver for Bethlehem High School football. Probably made the All-Judean All-Star team. Samuel was not alone in his estimate of Eliab. Many thought “Future” was Eliab’s middle name.”

When the eldest son Eliab, who was tall and fair, passed before Samuel, the prophet thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But as we see here, God is quick to correct Samuel’s thinking.  God’s response has echoed down through the ages:

Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Jesse then paraded six more sons in front of Samuel, but each time God said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”

There was one more son, but he was the youngest and of such little account that Jesse had left him out in the field tending sheep.   In the most important gathering that this family would ever know, the most significant event in this family’s life, and David is not even given an invitation. He was such an afterthought; he is not even mentioned by name! He is called, “the youngest”

We might feel like no one in the world understands our struggles. But God sees your heart.

We might carry with us hurts and fears and scars and regrets that feel like a ball and chain around our necks. But God sees your heart.

He sees and he is working on your behalf.

When David was brought forth, the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.”

Also I hope that the study of David’s life in the next few weeks will be profitable to us all, but I hope it will be especially profitable to those who are teenagers and young adults. David was anointed as king by the prophet Samuel while he was still a teenager.  He was probably in his late teens when he slew the giant Goliath (our passage next week!)  He may have wrote Psalm 23 and perhaps other psalms while he was still a teenager, watching his father’s sheep. The trials David went through at the hand of Saul occurred while David was in his twenties.  His life contains much instruction for those on the young side of life.

That’s especially important in our day when there is a common belief that teenagers are supposed to rebel. We expect it and it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But it’s not a biblical norm. In Scripture, there are many examples, David being foremost, of young people with a heart for God. Sure, David lacked the wisdom of experience. He needed trials to refine and mature him. There were “sins of his youth” that he later would regret (Ps. 25:7). But God began to use David in a significant way while he was still in his teens. He can still do that.   It is my prayer that God would use the life of David in the upcoming messages to lay hold of many of our young people as well as adults, to help us all to develop a heart after God’s heart.

Everything is different in light of the fact that God sees our hearts.

We might imagine ourselves to be fairly good people, and because we are good citizens and have not killed anyone or robbed a bank, we pat ourselves on the back. But God sees your heart.

We might pacify ourselves with some kind of religious assurance because we don’t look like a “sinner” and do all the things “saints” are supposed to do. But God sees your heart.

We might commend ourselves when our anger does not spill over, when our lust does not act out, when our greed is never tangibly satisfied. But God sees your heart.

So how can any of us have this kind of confidence before God, in light of what we know about our hearts?

The Son of God, the Son of David, the Savior can save us from our hearts. He can give us confidence before God because he died to cleanse our hearts. What does God say to us in light of Jesus and His cross? He says:

“Let not your hearts be troubled…” (John 14:1) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience… (Hebrews 10:22) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6) [God] will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7). …That he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father. (I Thessalonians 3:13) …[That he may] comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (II Thessalonians 2:17).

Because of Jesus, everything is different in regard to our hearts and our future.

When Samuel is given the ‘green light’ to anoint this young man, we discover that the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him.  13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.

When the Spirit of God came upon David, it was a symbol that he was equipped and empowered by God to become the future leader of Israel.

Anointing is a biblical term and practice we may not be familiar with.  In the Old Testament it was for prophets, priests and kings.  Anointing meant to set apart for a special task.   Did you know that all believers, all Christ followers are also anointed and set apart for a special task?

21 Now it is God who makes us stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,  22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NIV)

The greatest gift in all the world is the gift of God’s Spirit. When we approach God through Christ, God places His own Spirit in us, in the very core of our being. We become indwelt by God’s Spirit. It is God’s Spirit who convicts and saves and gives us assurance of salvation. He guides, teaches, protects, and provides the necessities of life for us, meeting all our needs.

What more could a person ask? It is the Spirit of God who empowers us to conquer all the trials and temptations of life, who enables us to live a victorious and triumphant life day by day.   I hope and pray that we all seek to live in this way: seen and known by God, saved and cleansed, anointed and empowered.

 

Darrell

www.Upwards.Church

 

Sources:

Bruce Birch, “The First and Second Books of Samuel: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections,” in The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes (Nashville: Abingdon, 1998), 2:1097-1100

 

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Trusting God in Obedience – 1 Samuel 15

Our passage today is one of the most difficult in the entire bible to teach.  It is used by Atheists to accuse God of genocide.  It raises questions about the goodness and justice of God.  It is shocking that God would ask for the total destruction of a group of people including women, children and animals.  What is going on here?   As I dug in I got some answers and prayed to God for a modern day example to help us wrap our mind around this complex story.  War is ugly.  When nations fight against nations it produces civilian casualties.   God’s judgment is not pleasant either. The story of the Amalekites as enemies of God’s people in the Old Testament is longstanding and interesting.   It reminds me of our own national struggle in World War 2 against our (then) enemies the Japanese.   The Japanese attacked us first at Pearl Harbor taking 2403 lives.   The ensuing fight back over the next few years would be very costly in lives, money and materials.  After losing over 41,000 military personnel and over 145,000 wounded in the war against Japan an agonizing and controversial decision was made.  In agreement with our allies we decided to take enemy civilian lives in order to save American lives and drop the atomic bomb on Japan.  If you can relate, make sense or even agree to the need for that difficult decision in World War 2, then you can relate to the story in 1 Samuel 15.

Here’s the back story: the Amalekites attacked Israel first as they were coming out of Egypt (Ex. 17:8-16). It was a surprise attack on the back of the column of people targeting the old, women, children, weak and those lagging at the back (Deuteronomy 25:17-19).  Moses and Joshua had to pray and fight with all their might just to escape.  God was not happy and promised that the Amalekites would be dealt with later for attacking his people and “raising their fists against God’s throne.”   The Amalekites would again attack God’s people in Numbers 14:45, “beating them down all the way down to Hormah.”   Later in the book of Judges, God’s people would go through the cycles where enemies would attack them, they would cry out to God and He would provide a judge to deliver them.   Three times in the book of Judges it was the Amalekites who were oppressing God’s people (Judges 3:13, Judges 6:3, Judges 10:12).  Even in the days of Saul the Amalekites were still plundering God’s people. Can you see what a menace the Amalekites were?

Now when it’s time to drop the atomic bomb on their bitter arch enemies who killed and oppressed thousands of God’s people over the last 400 years Israel’s first king Saul doesn’t pull the trigger.   He disobeys a direct order from his Commander and Chief.  He thinks somehow he knows better how to handle this situation.   He is confronted in our passage, faces court marshal and is relieved of duty.   Now how does this relate to us today?   How many times do we think we know better than God?  Do we ignore the clear directions of God to do what we want?   Some commentators and teachers are really hard on Saul.  I can relate, his decisions make perfect sense in human reasoning.   It’s amazing how much like Saul we can be.

Saul presented the ideal visual image of a king, but the tendencies of his character often went contrary to God’s commands for a king. Saul was God’s chosen leader, but this did not mean he was capable of being king on his own.

During his reign, Saul had his greatest successes when he obeyed God. His greatest failures resulted from acting on his own. Saul had the raw materials to be a good leader—appearance, courage, and action. Even his weaknesses could have been used by God if Saul had recognized them and left them in God’s hands. His own choices cut him off from God and eventually alienated him from his own people.

This is a pivotal chapter in the story of Saul. The Lord gave him another opportunity to prove himself, but he failed again, lied about it, and was judged. Saul had a habit of substituting saying for doing and of making excuses instead of confessing his sins. No matter what happened, it was always somebody else’s fault. He was more concerned about looking good before the people than being good before God. What can we learn from his mistakes?

Disobedience Grieves God

As a parent I understand how disobedience is grieving. It feels like I am rejected personally when my children ignore me or willfully disobey.  Do you feel that too?

I knew when Niki and I were contemplating having children that they would have to potential to break our hearts.  We also knew they had potential to bring us much joy.   God feels the same way!   He swells with joy and satisfaction when we listen and follow His instructions.  “That’s my boy!”  “That’s my girl!”   And He grieves when we disobey.

Look at God’s heart here in this passage:  11 “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night.  1 Samuel 15: 9-11 (NIV)

Samuel was upset too and it cost him a terrible sleepless night of anguish.  Our disobedience has lasting impact to those around us!

 As the story continues Saul lies to Samuel (1 Sam. 15:12-15). In the eyes of the soldiers and the Jewish people, Saul had won a great victory over a long-time enemy, but in God’s eyes he was a failure. Yet the king was so impressed with himself that he went to Carmel and erected a stone monument in his honor!  Was he trying to avoid meeting Samuel? Perhaps, but his efforts were futile.

Saul’s greeting was sheer hypocrisy.  13When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD’s instructions.”  

First he lied to himself in thinking he could get away with the deception, and then he lied to Samuel who already knew the truth. He even tried to lie to God by saying he would use the spared animals for sacrifices!

14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”  15  Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.” 1 Samuel 15:13-15

Saul blamed the soldiers for sparing the spoils, but surely as their commander-in-chief. he had the last word. “They” spared the best, but “we” utterly destroyed the rest! With Saul, it was always somebody else’s fault.

Partial Obedience is Disobedience

We act just like Saul when we offer God our leftovers.  “Work is keeping me really busy! I don’t have time to serve God.”  “I can’t afford to give, my bills are too high.”  We give God what’s left after all the bills are paid.  We give the church the nursery furniture that we are finished with.  We offer excuses and blame instead of giving God our best and first.

Lastly we see that Disobedience Has Consequences

For Saul he lost the Kingship.  He also lost the respect of Samuel and the people.   I was fascinated to find out that it was an Amalekite that took Saul’s life.  Years later in the book of Esther, it’s an Amalekite (a descendant of King Agag) named Haman that seeks to destroy the entire Jewish race through a royal decree.

Saul’s disobedience to God cost him his position, his dynasty, his character, and his throne and crown. He had also lost a godly friend. When David appears on the scene, Saul will lose his self-control and his good sense, and eventually he will lose his last battle and his life.

What will your disobedience to God cost you?  Each of us is one decision away from losing our job, our reputation, our marriage or worse.

Let these last two verses be a reminder to us all:

Do you think all God wants are empty rituals just for show?
He wants you to listen to him!
Not doing what God tells you
 is far worse than fooling around in the occult.

1 Samuel 15: 22-23 (MSG)

 Darrell

www.Upwards.Church

Sources: 
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia: Casualties
Life Application Study Bible, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 433-435.
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – History, (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 244-247.
 

 

 

 

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Trusting God’s Leadership – 1 Samuel 8

Have you ever been in this conversation?  “Can I go here or do this?”  “No.”   “PLEASE! Everyone else is doing it!”   “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?”  Frown, “no, but…”    I have been on both sides of this argument, as a child and now as a parent.  Why do we desire to be like everyone else or do what everyone else is doing?     There’s a strong pull to conform.  My parents would try to explain that I was not to do what everyone else was doing; I had parents that cared and desired to keep me safe, and more importantly a God that had higher standards.     In our passage today we see the same conversation taking place between God’s people and Samuel.    They wanted a king, just like everyone else around them.   What could be wrong in wanting to be like everyone else?

For thirty-plus years, the Israelites had followed the leadership of Samuel. But now Samuel had aged and would soon be passing from this world. As a result, the Israelites craved to establish a monarchy, the rule of a king just “like all the nations.” Ever since the days of Moses, they had lived under a theocracy, the rule and reign of God Himself. Under Moses’ leadership, the Israelites had made a covenant, an agreement with the Lord. The terms of the agreement stipulated that the Lord was to be the Savior and Deliverer, the Protector and Provider of Israel. And all the Israelites had to do was obey the Lord, keep His commandments. But now, after centuries of looking around at other nations and observing them, the Israelites began to covet the form of government adopted by them. They desired a king just “like all the nations.” They wanted to break their covenant with God and make an agreement with a man. They wanted this man to be just like the kings of most other nations: an attractive man, a charismatic leader, a man who would agree to rule over them and become their savior and deliverer, protector and provider.

How often do we choose to reject God’s leadership to follow a man, a cultural system, the world’s ideas or even our own ideas?

It wasn’t Israel’s request for a king that was their greatest problem; it was their insisting that God give them a king immediately.

Saying “now” to God can be just as wrong as saying “no” to God.

There is a big difference between asking God for help and demanding how He must help.
For example, how many people ask God to help them win the lottery?   What about the consequences if God said yes?  People who win the lottery are miserable and call it a curse!

Or how about relationships? Perhaps you are attracted to someone and you are asking God, please let it work out. What if God says yes, and it turns out to be a bad relationship? And you miss out on a better relationship God had in mind for you?

What if God says yes to your wrong request? It could be the worst judgement God could give is saying yes to a wrong request.

What if God says no because you must face the consequences?

The people rejected God to trust someone else.  We do the same thing today, thinking a person can meet our needs better than God.   John Calvin writes in The Institutes, “that man’s mind is a perpetual factory of idols.”

A king is not necessarily the solution to all their problems. In fact, in his view, a king is just the beginning of a completely new set of problems!

Samuel proceeds to explain the reality of having a king. At least ten times in these verses he mentions, “He will take.” What a difference between a man king and God as king. Man takes but God gives. “The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep.” “God so loved the world that He gave.” Samuel warns the people what the kings would take from them. He is trying to show them there is a high price to getting their own way.

    • He will take your sons into the army.
    • He will take your sons to run in front of his chariots.
  • He will take others to plow his ground and reap his harvest
  • He will take others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
  •  He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
  • He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.
  •  He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.
  • He will take your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.
  • He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

That’s a lot of taking!

With the northern and southern kingdoms, Israel ended up having 41 kings over 450 years. Only eleven of them followed the Lord and seven of these eleven forgot the Lord toward the end of their reigns. The spiritual rebellion of the kings paved the way for their captivity and defeat. There is a high price in getting your own way!

It’s clear in the Pentateuch (1st 5 books of the Bible) that Israel would one day have a king. God promised Abraham, Sarah, and Jacob that kings would be among their descendants (Gen. 17:6, 16; 35:11), and Jacob had named Judah as the kingly tribe (49:10). Moses prepared the nation for a king when he spoke to the new generation preparing to enter the Promised Land (Deut. 17:14-20).

The Lord had an ultimate king in mind for them, it was Jesus. He was the complete fulfillment of the verses above, He would not take many wives, not take much gold and silver, He would follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow brothers and sisters.

Jesus would take the form of servant, emptying himself of His glory and be born in a mangerFoxes have dens and birds have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. He would take the sins of the world upon himself.  He would take the wounds we deserved so that we would be healed.

When Pontius Pilate asked the people, “what shall I do with your king?”  They replied, “Take him away! Crucify him!”

The people rejected their king.  What about us?

Who is King in your life?

  • Is it you?
  • Is it money?
  • Is it power?
  • Is it entertainment?
  • It is your family?
  • It is your job?

May we see that Jesus is our king.  He’s our leader.

Darrell

www.Upwards.Church

 

Sources:

Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – History, (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 225-227.
The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – 1 Samuel, (Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “A. The Demand of Israel for a King: Choosing the Ways of the World and Rejecting God, 8:1-22”.
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Trusting God in Prayer – 1 Samuel 1

Desperation; nothing fuels our prayer life like when we’re desperate. When God’s people are helpless, hopeless, and ready to give up then God is ready to work in our lives. What if the desperation we find ourselves in is actually God’s plan for us? As a loving Father, God is always at work for our best and His glory. Desperate times are God’s training ground for growth. We learn to trust God in new ways during these times. We learn the benefits of humble dependence. We learn to trust God not only in desperation but also in ordinary needs.  Since faith in God brings Him glory and is for our good, we know that anything that grows our faith is a loving gift from a loving God. This is seen clearly in the story of Hannah in her beautiful, desperate prayer for God to provide her a child (Samuel, the last and greatest judge in Israel) who she in turn would dedicate to the Lord.   Here’s what we learn from Hannah’s prayers of desperation:

Pray to Change Things (1 Sam. 1:10-11)

It seemed God was against Hannah. God had prevented Hannah from bearing children (v. 6). In her barrenness, Hannah found no consolation from those around her. Her family (like many families) was a huge mess.  For years, Hannah felt the stinging mockery of her rival Peninnah (vv. 6-7), and her husband Elkanah’s attempts to comfort her with well-intended sympathy fell flat (v. 8).

The conflict would not go away. Some problems seem like they never go away. Elkanah violated God’s design in marriage by having more than one wife. Now he is reaping the consequences of his actions, but so is Hannah.  Husbands need to realize that their decisions affect their wives and children too.  Deeply distressed, she began to pray to the Lord through bitter tears that caught the ear of her compassionate heavenly Father.

While Peninnah and Elkanah looked at Hannah’s outward circumstances, God was moving ahead with his plan. 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.

Hannah made a vow to God that if He would provide her a son, she would give him back to God. (vs. 11) She was not bribing God but was demonstrating an act of humble faith, recognizing that only God could overcome her barrenness. In the same way, we are all spiritually barren when it comes to salvation.

Pray Through Opposition (1 Sam. 1:12-16)

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.

Eli’s Criticism (vv. 12-14) – Eli the priest observed Hannah and assumed that she was drunk! (v. 13). Eli didn’t recognize anguished prayer when he saw it. In the same way, the disciples were accused of drunkenness after the Holy Spirit fell upon them at Pentecost (Acts 2:13). Many will not recognize or understand why someone would deal with their heartache through prayer.

Hannah could have been very angry and hateful and used grievous words. She could have retaliated and lashed out at Eli about his wicked sons. The fact that she is at the temple made her vulnerable to these sons (2:22-23). Hannah doesn’t mention these sons to Eli. Why? What has she been doing? The answer is praying. Prayer helps us to respond the right way to people who may come across the wrong way.

Hannah is a broken woman, broken and humbled by her heartache and trials. Her reputation has already taken a beating being a barren woman. This was considered a judgment of God. She has already been taunted for years by Peninnah so what is one more accusation. She has already been misunderstood by her husband in a sense, and now by the priest. God was breaking her down to build her up

God is in the business of using broken things and broken people. Before a thing can be made, sometimes it must be broken.  Before a house is built, a tree must be broken down.  Before a foundation is laid, the rocks must be blasted from the quarry.  Before the ripe grain can cover the fields, the soil must be broken and beaten small.

Hannah’s Confession (vv. 15-18) – Hannah’s response to Eli’s accusation reveals much concerning her heart before the Lord. She described herself as “deeply troubled” (v. 15), pouring out her soul before the Lord and praying from deep anguish and grief (v. 16).

This is the antidote for discouragement: Tell God how we really feel and leave our problems with him. Then rely upon the support of good friends and counselors.

Pray and Give Back to God (1 Samuel 20-28)

Hannah discovered that the greatest joy in having a child is to give that child fully and freely back to God. She entered motherhood prepared to do what all mothers must eventually do—let go of their children

God’s Response (v. 20) From His goodness and mercy, God answered Hannah’s prayer and provided her with a son. Hannah had no spiritual credentials other than her humility, and yet this obscure woman from the hills of Ephraim found an audience with God.

Hannah’s Response (vs. 26-28) She in turn made good on her vow and gave her son back to the Lord. Hannah was vindicated by the grace of God.

The time has come to keep a promise. God has given Hannah peace about the timing. The baby boy she suckled is about to leave her side. No longer will her son’s big wide eyes that glow with wonder, excitement, and joy look up into Hannah’s face on a daily basis. No longer will she feel those little arms around her neck and hear those tender words, “I love you Mommy” like she used too. No longer will the walls of her home echo with the cries of a little boy who has a boo boo or with the laughter of a child playing. One less setting will be at Hannah’s table now. All she has is her memories and periodic visits to the Temple. Will she miss her Samuel? Yes! But God has given her grace and peace and even joy in the surrender of her son to the Lord. Her eyes are on the Lord! Her love for God is greater than her love for Samuel. If a loved one is lost in death or divorce, then we can learn to respond the way Hannah did.

Hannah’s story teaches us about our humility and dependence on God as well as God’s faithfulness to us. God can be trusted in every circumstance because He works all things for our good (Rom. 8:28). We are all spiritually barren, unable to save ourselves and in a state of desperation. However, God is faithful. He provided His Son, Jesus, for all who admit their utter helplessness and cry out to Him in faith.

By faith Hannah sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Hannah has truly taken her burden to the Lord and left it there. God has given her total faith, trust, and confidence in Him. She is at peace and rest. Jesus promised this rest to us (Matthew 11:28).

www.Upwards.Church

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