Friday, 26 August 2011

Hannah - A godly woman

We mentioned in our previous post that Hannah is a lovely Bible character and as we move into chapter two of Samuel there are some lovely observations we can make...

We finished our thoughts last time by looking at Hannah's thankfulness and praise for answered prayer concerning a child, and this continues into chapter two. The first 10 verses are Hannah's praise and thanksgiving to God and these verses stand in stark contrast to the bitterness and sorrow of chapter one. I think this is important, as life can be just like that; elation and happiness one minute, when you feel indestructible and that nothing can go wrong, and then everything can go wrong and events can combine to leave us feeling helpless, worried and in despair!

What I think this sequence of events in 1 Samuel shows us is to get into a routine of bringing things before the Lord, and when we see answer to prayer or experience blessing, to immediately give thanks to God and acknowledge his goodness and guidance in our lives. Unfortunately I find I am very quick to bring something before God in time of need, but a lot less quick to give thanks when he answers prayer and I see his hand in my life!

Hannah shows a tremendous knowledge of God in her prayer, so much so that it was a challenge to me. The way she prayed bore the hallmarks of a woman that lived close to God and obviously communicated regularly with God, so that her prayers expressed a knowledge of the character and attributes of God! Surely we who have the full scriptures and have been saved by the grace of God and indwelled by the Spirit should also be able to pray in the same way? A case in point is her acknowledgement of the sovereignty of God in verses 6 and 7. She confesses that it is God that controls life and death, and God can make men poor and rich as he wills, just as he can exalt or humble a man. What a lesson this is, and what grace to accept Gods will in these matters!

v19 is lovely. Every year Hannah came up with her husband and would bring Samuel a new coat. I had never given this much thought before, but I realise now that this must surely have been very difficult for her, as it seems as if this yearly visit was the only time she got to see her soon whom she had given to the Lord. Each year the coat would have been made a little bigger, and as she made and prepared it in the home ready for the yearly journey it would have been a constant reminder of her noble sacrifice, but also the great blessing she had been given from God. I think therefore it is lovely that God saw fit to further bless Hannah and give her 3 sons and 2 daughters, as I think this godly woman would have been an excellent mother from what I can see in these chapters. She was a spiritual woman who put God first in her life, and experienced great blessing as a result. It put me in mind of the scripture:

"Them that honour me, I will honour"



Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Meditations on 1 Samuel

Hello fellow believers, the last 3 weeks have been manic and I have been involved in other things and so haven't been able to post here for some time! My apologies.

I have been beginning to read 1 Samuel and I intend to go through these books to 2nd Chronicles and see what can be learned from the times of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Already through reading the opening chapters of Samuel I have found much profit and benefit, and I commend the further study of this book to you!

Some Opening Remarks and Observations...

The book opens with a number of things:

  • A divided family

  • A godly woman

  • Worship and sacrifice

  • Men who didn't understand or who should have known better

  • Earnest prayer and a heavy heart

  • Answered prayer and a thankful heart

The first 8 chapters of Samuel record the move from Theocracy (God ruling the people) to a Monarchy (a man ruling the people for God). This was part of a general downward trend of rebellion and departure.

If we look at Hannah briefly we see here a lovely Bible character. Her name means "grace" and we can certainly see this godly characteristic borne out in her life here in the first chapter! She is in a very difficult situation, with her husbands attentions and affections divided (although he had a preferential spirit towards her) yet she exhibits long-suffering, grace and meekness. She turns her sorrow and hardship into an opportunity for earnest prayer to her God. What an example for us here! If only we would turn our struggles and trials into prayer, rather than a negative spirit or bitterness and anger.

Hannah praying earnestly

The abundance of Hannah's sorrow (v6-10) is matched by the abundance of her prayerfulness (v10-13), and also by the abundance of her sacrifice (v24-28). In actual fact when you look at the closing verses of the first chapter, we see that Hannah gave back to God all that she had been given by God (her son Samuel). It is a challenge to ourselves: do we give back to God when he answers our prayers? We should be thankful and praise God when he hears our cry and answers our prayer!

"for this child I prayed" - what a story is wrapped up in those words!

Hannah was experiencing the blessed position of being in communion and fellowship with God, something which is available to each and every one of us as believers. She had experienced sorrow and deep need, she had committed it earnestly and solemnly to God, and God had answered her prayer in a wonderful way! She was now free and generous in her praise and thanksgiving to God, having been blessed so.

Might we follow the godly example of Hannah and "take it to the Lord in prayer" so that we too might experience blessing at the hand of God and enjoy a living and real relationship with him.

Yours in Christ, Mark


1 Kings 19: Elijah and God

I was listening to a podcast the other day which was speaking about 1 Kings 19 and it reminded me of how very relevant this passage is to ou...