Category: 1 Samuel

For Whose Glory?

david and goliathMy reading today is from the very well known story of David and Goliath. This story puts the weak against the strong, the small against the large, the ultimate underdog against the ultimate warrior. We all have probably heard the story, we remember that good triumphs over evil, the underdog wins the battle and therefore, God’s prevailing witness of the weak and small being valued over the strong or even firstborn. God’s rules seem to always look a little different than ours.

But what I found interesting today came from David’s words, the word that he spoke to Goliath, and to the rest of the Philistines and Israelite who were listening to him. Goliath began the exchange by claiming that he would kill any man, he defied the armies of Israel, it was all about Goliath. I know quite a few people who believe that it is all about them. But David’s response is different. David comes to this battle “in the name of the Lord Almighty,” stating that the Lord will deliver Goliath into his hands. You see, it is not David who is going to win this battle, it is God and David proclaims that message before he even begins. But who does he claims this for? Who is he trying to witness to by saying these things? It is not Goliath as we all know that he is not around for very long anyway. This message is for the Israelites, in their unbelief. It is for the Philistines who did not believe, or ignorance of God. This victory is for the glory of God!

Oh how I can think of so many times that I had to face an enemy of mine. Maybe I was able to defeat them, but I surely didn’t give God the credit. This is what God is convicting me of today. God is telling me, and maybe you too, that we can have the victory over evils in this world, but we should never take the credit for the battles. These victories are for the glory of God. And there is good reason for this as these battles are witnesses to those around us. They witness to who our God is and what he can do. I can think of a couple of good people fighting battles with cancer, who are claiming the victory in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They are witnessing to the great power of our God as they fight these battles.

People are watching, and they are seeing what our God can do. Be a witness in your lives, in all you do, point to the living God who provides all our needs and all of our victories! To God be the glory, Amen.

glorify3Hannah had just given birth to Samuel and had him dedicated in the same temple where she was praying when she was told by the priest of her favor with God. Now, after dedicating him and leaving him in the temple with the priest Eli, Hannah pffers a prayer to God. It’s not that she offered the prayer that has me intrigued, but the content of her prayer. So many things she mentions in this prayer foreshadow other this to come and other great teachings that we will receive in the New Testament.

Like many wonderfully articulated prayers from the Bible, Hannah begins with absolute praise for the God who has made all of this possible. “My heart rejoices in the Lord,” and “There is no one holy like the Lord.” But here is where she begins to speak like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She speaks in terms of the weak becoming strong and the strong being humbled, the well fed will starve and the hungry will be filled, and ones who can have no children, do, while others with children suddenly cannot any longer. Hannah even prophecies to the work of Christ in verse 6; “The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.” This could be looking ahead to Jesus’ raising Lazerus from the dead or even God raising Jesus from the dead after the crucifixion and Christ’s entering the grave. Either way, this is a powerful prayer full of thanksgiving and proclamation of God’s wonderful deeds.

Sure Hannah made this prayer during a joyful time in her life, but I believe she would have prayed this even in the hard times, as she was faithful to God. Can we say the same? Can we offer a prayer like this one for all of the good things God has done for us? I hope so. As we continue this journey through Lent, let us truly offer ourselves in prayer for those around us, never forgetting the awesome power of our God!

Deeply Troubled?

Anchor Holds copyWhat do you do when you are deeply troubled? Who do you turn to in your time of need? Do you have a set of friends or family that can help you through anything that comes your way? I mean anything? Many times we have certain people we turn to for certain things. If we are having problems in our relationships, we find friends that know our story, know our history, even know our particular relationship. They are the ones we turn to for guidance and advice. If we are struggling with finances, we will have another person or group which we ask for help. Many times they are not the same people.

First Samuel begins with Hannah, one of two wives to Elkanah. Hannah was struggling. She could not have a child while the other wife had no such problem. She was picked on mercilessly by the other wife every time they went to worship, so much so that she could not eat. This went on for quite some time, until Hannah couldn’t take it anymore. Who could she turn to? Who was her help in this time of need? She turned to the Lord, in prayer. She prayer so fervently that the priest who was in the temple saw her and thought she might be drunk. When he saw that she wasn’t, he told her “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him.” God did! She had a son and named him Samuel, meaning “because I asked the Lord for him.”
Have we ever found ourselves in times like this? I know I have. I encourage you to take you struggles to the Lord, in prayer. Present yourself to God with a loving and repentant heart and he will hear your prayer. Trust in His goodness, trust in His mercy. God will answer.