April 8, 2014
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 8 April 2014
How you ever longed for God’s blessing in your life? Your answer is certainly affirmative. First Samuel 1 begins with Hannah’s longing for a son. The account of her disappointment and distress is in contrast to the festive atmosphere of the religious celebration. Hannah entered the Tabernacle to outpour her soul to God. Although Hannah had nearly everything a wife (in 1100 BC) could desire (1:1-3, 5, 8), she did not have any children.
Whatever blessing you desire for God to bring into your life, it would be wise to read First Samuel 1 and appreciate Hannah’s circumstances and how the Lord responded. Our own inability often becomes the basis for God to demonstrate his mighty power. Helplessness and hopelessness do not prevent the mighty power of God; rather, our own incapacity often becomes the basis for God to outpour his blessing. We are wise to know the circumstances in which God often delights to demonstrate his power.
Hannah’s disappointment and distress was certainly not delightful — nor are difficulties for God’s people in the present — but it is crucial not to let distress become overwhelming and unbearable because our inability is often the prelude to a mighty work of God in our lives. The circumstance of being without ability or hope can be favorable because it indicates the possibility of God’s intervention in a manner more significant than can be imagined.
Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel (Phil 1:12).
Whereas difficulties sometimes cause God’s people to protest wrongly and sinfully against the Lord, the response of Hannah was humble and dependent prayer to God (1 Sam 1:9-20). Hannah is a remarkable example to believers that life’s difficulties should not cause us to abandon faith in God or to question his actions, but rather to allow our distress to bring us closer to God. Hannah was “greatly distressed” and cried to God to alleviate her distress (cf. Ps 6:8). Hannah prayed to the “LORD of hosts,” which indicates her entire trust in God’s sovereignty (rather than anyone or anything else). We are blessed when are only hope is the Lord. Hannah demonstrated the proper relation to the Lord as one of complete subjection.
Hannah’s prayer is noteworthy for her liberty. There is nothing external or formal regarding her prayer. Hannah certainly knew the freedom to outpour her soul to God.
I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD; I make supplication with my voice to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path (Ps 142:1-3a).
Hannah teaches believers how to have communion with God. Outpouring one’s soul to God will not make Him uncomfortable, but believers should recognize the reality that God allows his people to outpour their distresses to Him, and with tears and intense sobbing if necessary. Indeed, spiritual victory was realized through the voice of her weeping.
Depart from me, all you who do iniquity, for the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping (Ps 6:8).
Note the vow of Hannah in response to God’s answer to her prayers (1 Sam 1:11). Hannah was determined to give to the Lord what He had given in answer to her prayer. Hannah is an example that God’s gifts should be given to Him. Certainly, she is an example of praying not merely for herself, but with an entire commitment to God for everything in life. What Hannah desired most from the Lord, she was willing to give to Him.
God’s blessing provides the capability of returning to Him what we receive by his grace, and then to be used for his glory. Certainly, it is more important that God’s gifts be his than ours. Do we regard God’s blessings as believers and his grace towards our nation to be opportunities to glorify Him? As believers, we give what we cannot keep to retain what can never be taken from us!
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Your Missionary to Our Capitol Community,
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.