God Will Make You Sing

TEXT: 1 Samuel 1:1-16

SUBJECT: Hannah’s prayer and vow before God

First Samuel is a continuation of the story in the book of Judges. The story of 1 Samuel begins late in the tumultuous time of the judges when Eli is judge and priest and Israel is being oppressed by the Philistines.  The book opens with a woman’s anguish. Her story highlights the truth that God is bigger than any problem that we may encounter. We must, therefore only trust Him.  Don’t give up hope. God is listening. Remember that there is purpose in everything God allows in your life.

The name Hannah means “grace” (or favour). One would expect that with a name like that, Hannah would have been experiencing the blessings of peace, provision and progeny. But it was not so for Hannah. Her life was marked by reproach and misery. Her husband had a second wife named Peninnah, which in the Hebrew means “pearl” or “jewel”. The irony is that Peninnah’s behaviour towards Hannah did not display the beauty of her own name.

Hannah could not bear children for her husband. This would be extremely hard on women in those days for to have your womb closed was taken as an indication that she was cursed by God. For Hannah, she not only had to deal with the reality of not being able to have children but she was provoked constantly by Peninnah to the point where she would not eat.

However, I invite you to look at Hannah’s attitude in the midst of her pain. Like Job, she did not charge God with wrong (Job 1:22). Instead, she recognized His sovereignty – that He was the One who opens and closes the womb – and began praying to Him to open hers. In offering her prayer, Hannah was acknowledging God’s control over all her life’s circumstances. We must recognize that there is absolutely nothing that comes upon us that God does not know about. He sees all. He feels all that we are going through (Hebrews 4:15) and He is working out them all out for our good (Romans 8:28). Yes, our situations may seem desolate and we may not see a way out but God is in control. He has purpose for whatever it is that you are going through and He will not waste your pain (Romans 8:18).

Hannah understood that her only hope was in God and so she looked to Him in prayer and mourning. Yes, you may have to cry sometimes. There is no promise that things will always be easy but there is an assurance that God will deliver you out of the storms and afflictions of your life (Psalm 34:19). He will come through for you so go through it. Don’t give up! Hold on! God is on your side. His promise towards you should remind you that whatever the challenge that has entered your life did not come to break you but to establish you and move you towards your purpose. In Jeremiah 29:11, He says, “ I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Hallelujah! His intentions towards you are good. They are not to harm you in any way. You will not break under the pressure. You will not suffer in vain. You will not live in despair. He will give you hope and a future.  Hope sounds like expectation. It sounds like there is a silver lining – a light at the end of the tunnel. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning Psalm 30:5). Are you at the darkest moment in your life? Then rejoice because your morning is nigh.

It was night time for Hannah. Her agony was recognized by those around her. While Peninnah jeered and ridiculed her, her husband was there as a support. You see, despite those who may not understand your situation – the Peninnahs in your life – God will always place someone in your life who will support you. Not only will He send you support but His precious Holy Spirit will be your help in time of weakness (Romans 8:26).

When faced with life’s challenges, many make the decision to walk away from God and throw in the towel. Not Hannah. In the midst of such profound testing, she kept following after God. Year after year she kept going up to the house of the Lord for worship, even though it meant travelling with another woman who was provoking her (verse 7). Hannah’s Prayer is a thoughtful and intense one:

“O Lord Almighty” – She recognized the sovereignty and omnipotence of God. He is God Almighty. If He could not fix her situation, nobody else could.  He is mighty to save and strong to deliver (Zeph 3:17).

“Look upon upon your servant’s misery and remember me.” – Part of walking with God is putting your request before Him. Never be afraid to cry out to God and ask Him to intervene in your situation. It is not a sign of weakness but a sign of trust.

“I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life” –  Hannah was specific in her request. She wanted a man child – a son – and she will give back that son to the Lord. Hannah’s vow was not meaningless bargaining with God. No! It was a mighty expression of faith. She knows that God can open her womb and if he does, she is willing to respond to His grace (the meaning of her name) by giving back that son to Him.

In pouring out her heart before God, He heard her and He opened up her womb and she conceived and bore her husband a child (1 Samuel 1:19-20). Her morning had come. Her time of rejoicing had arrived and her pain had ended. Hannah was no longer a reproach of object of scorn for being barren. God had turned things around. He had turned her mourning into dancing and had given her beauty for ashes. God raised Hannah’s son, Samuel, to be a prolific prophet and not one of his words fell to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19).

Hannah’s song of Joy in chapter 2 showed us that her joy in God transcended her own desire to keep her son to her side but to release him in God’s hand. It was that kind of surrender that made Samuel great but more importantly that contributed to Hannah being one of the redoubtable women of faith in scripture.

God will make you sing again. He will make you laugh again. Your brokenness was not meant to destroy you. Hannah sings in the end:

My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.

There is none holy like the Lord;
there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.

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When It Does Not Make Sense

This series is intended to deepen our faith; that is, to take our faith beyond seeking “things” and to trusting God because of who He is. For many, their faith is in their faith and not in the character of God. A faith that is firmly rested in God is immovable when things do not make sense to us. Please contemplate these reflections:

DAY 1

Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Joseph spoke those profound words to his brothers at their reunion. They had sold him into slavery after holding him in a pit. Joseph experienced rejection and abandonment from his on kin and then in his new home, he experienced being lied upon and subsequent imprisonment. And after he had done good for those whose dreams he interpreted, he was forgotten. Oh what suffering!! Oh what pain!! But God had purpose in all of it. Joseph’s suffering and pain was his path to purpose – saving an entire nation and his own family.

Often, we do not understand why we go through the things we do. We get angry, anxious, frustrated or despondent. We ask God why. But God has purpose for our suffering. All those things we think are meant for evil, God intends for our good and He will get glory out of it. He will bring us out on the other side victorious. Be patient in tribulation. Do not despise suffering. Wait on God. Look for His purpose while you wait for your “breakthrough” to come. Suffering is part of THE PROCESS!!! #TrustGOD #EndureSufferingAsGoodSoldiers

DAY 2
(2 Corinthians 1:3&4): “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”.

Have you ever asked the question, “why me, Lord?” Many of us have asked the question at some point, especially when we find ourselves in trouble. That question makes, at least, two presuppositions: 1. You should not be having troubles 2. Since you are experiencing trouble, God must have a purpose for it. While the first supposition is false, the second is True. God is in control and He has a purpose for every experience in our lives. God uses those unpleasant circumstances in our lives to demonstrate Himself as comforter in our lives and to use us to strengthen and comfort others. I consider that a privilege and honour.

Recently, I spoke in church about WORRY. Many of the illustrations came from the situations I’ve been through. Many persons came afterwards to say how much they were encouraged to trust God. It amazed me that God can use my suffering to encourage others.

The next time we have a troubling experience, instead of despairing, remember that God has a purpose for your suffering – He is making your life a blessing to others.

DAY 3

“Consider it pure Joy, my brothers nd sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let patience finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Amidst the height of persecution of Jewish believers scattered among pagan peoples, comes this surprising exhortation from James that trials should be faced, by the believer, with an attitude of joy and not be seen as a punishment or inconvenience. While, we are not being joyous for trials, we are certainly being encouraged to be joyous IN trials. The believer can face trials with joy because of the benefits that come out of those trials. Trials, when approached with the right attitude (joy) produces endurance. True faith is proven by our ability to withstand testing. James says “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” The word “know” actually means that we know through experience… The many times that God has taken us through similar trials. Those are the experiences we use to remind ourselves of the benefits of trials.

And when we allow perseverance to finish its work – when we allow God to take us through the “PROCESS”, we become mature and spiritually fulfilled and lacking nothing (we will be all that God wants us to be).

I know it is difficult for us to see how we can face trials with Joy. It seems difficult to accomplish. James says if we find it difficult to understand how this can be accomplished, assistance is readily available from a giving God (If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God… James 1:5).

Let us endeavour to face every test with a new attitude. #JoyfulInTrial #PrayerfullyEndure #LetPerseverancFinishItsWork

DAY 4

1 Peter 1: 3-7… In this passage, Peter encourages the believers to give praise to God for the new birth they’ve received, the living hope they have of an imperishable future inheritance, that they are shielded by God’s power and he encourages them to praise God through “suffering grief and all kinds of trials.”

Often, when we repeat the refrain, “God is good”, it is because things are going good. But when things are not going as well, we forget that His goodness remains – for it is not dependent on our circumstances. We still have new birth, we still have a living hope, there is still an imperishable inheritance reserved for us. But we forget that when we are experiencing suffering or grief.

Peter reminds the believers who were exiles in various cities that they ought to praise God and rejoice, despite their suffering because suffering has two major results:
1. It refines and purifies one’s faith,much like how gold is refined when it goes through the fire and the dross (impurity) is removed

2. It proves the reality and genuiness of our faith. The power of our convictions about God is never truly demonstrated in the “good” times. When we are able to endure suffering and trials of ALL kinds and still not doubt or sway or question God’s goodness, then we have proved that our faith is genuine – that it is not in the things we have or our comfort but in God.
Genuine faith (which is demonstrated in the midst of suffering) is not just of value to the believer (Peter said it is more valuable than gold) but it will also bring #Praise, #Glory and #Honour to God. In other words. Our attitude in the midst of suffering demonstrates our real conviction and convinces others of the truth of our LIVING HOPE!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for new birth, a living hope, an imperishable future inheritance reserved for me. And though, now, for a little while, I may suffer grief in all kinds of trials, yet I rejoice because of ALL that he’s done and because He is making my faith pure and genuine, so that He can get glory out of my life. Have YOUR way, Lord!

DAY 5

“I consider that our present sufferings are far ourweighed by the glory that will be revealed in (as well as to and through) us.” Romans 8:18

We are called to endure suffering. It is a part of our Christian walk. Paul reminded his readers that sharing in Christ’s future glory required sharing in his sufferings in this life. He shares with them that this future glory upon which the believer waits in (guaranteed) hope, is so GREAT that present sufferings are insignificant in comparison. Also, this glory is forever, while suffering is temporary. This should help us to endure suffering as we consider that it won’t last.

One of my favourite hymns reverberates as I write:

“Oft times the days seem long, our trials hard to bear. We’re tempted to complain; to murmur and despair. But Christ will soon appear to catch his bride away. All tears forever over in God’s eternal day… It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race till we see Christ.”

It (our suffering) is worth it all. Paul knew what that meant. He demonstrated the hope he had in this future glory by rejoicing in the midst of suffering and persecution. Do you consider that Christ is worth you (and I) suffering this light affliction in this life? The next time you come up on hard time, what will be your attitude?

#think aboutfutureglory #ItWillBeWorthItAll #EndureSuffering #BravelyRunTheRace