SUNDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER 2017
God is more than able to change whatever impossible to be possible! There is no limit for our prayer request since we have a mighty awesome powerful God! The prayer of Hannah gives us important lesson how God is able to raise the poor from the dust and set them among princes even make them inherit the throne of glory 1Sam.2:7-8. The prayer of Hannah also teaches us to always have a correct attitude in the midst of our trouble. And at last but not least, the prayer of Hannah also guides us to be very careful with the purposes of our request because God always concern with long-term objective to glorify His kingdom and not only with short-objective to fulfil our lust and ambition.
9 So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” 1Samuel 1:9-11 NKJV
DEALING WITH BITTERNESS AND ANGUISH
No one will be happy with any problem in this life, but in real life we will always face a problem which is able to bring bitterness even anguish in our heart. We may face a hard day in school, family, work. We may have difficult situation and no one supporting us. Whenever we come into that condition, the good news is we are not the only person having that problem. Hannah also had the same problem in her life!
The first problem mentioned in the Bible was her medical condition that hindered her having a baby. In addition, she also had a rival who always like to provoke her severely, like to make her miserable, irritate her, and to make the case become worst, that rival always like to do that in the house of the Lord where people supposed to experience a comfort atmosphere in God’s presence!
6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore, she wept and did not eat. 1Samuel 1:6-7 NKJV
So, what can we learn from Hannah in dealing with bitterness and anguish? FIRST, keep going to the house of the Lord whatever it may take! Even though Hannah realized that Peninnah always like to irritate her inside the house of the Lord, she had decided to be fully committed coming to the Lord’s house in regular basis! To be honest, sometimes we may find that not all people inside the church had grown up enough and having a supportive attitude toward each other. To be honest sometimes we may still find one two or even a group of people like to circulate gossip and having double face within the church. All people is welcome to the church but the biggest focus for believers should be God only so we are secure enough and will not get stumbled with another people reaction and response. Prayer is always meant to be an intimate relationship between us and God where we can keep focus on God instead of people surround us.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. Psalm 84:10 NKJV
SECOND, keep looking to the goodness and kindness of God instead of our problem. Back to the life of Hannah, actually we can read clearly how Elkanah loved Hannah very much with all of his heart. He never intimidates Hannah for her medical condition. We can read how Elkanah loved Hannah and always gave a double portion for her. He always cares for Hannah and said that he was better than ten sons 1Sam.1.5,8. God is so good for Hannah so He gave her an awesome husband who want to understand her limited condition but somehow Hannah already entangled with her bitterness so she could not realize the goodness of God through his husband. We may have a mountain and a valley experiences in our life. It is always good to remember all of it and not getting stuck with any of it. Whenever we may come into valley let’s remember how God had able to bring mountain in our life. And whenever we arrive at the mountain, let’s remember that it’s God who raise us up from the valley into the mountain! David taught us to always bless the Lord and never forget all of His blessings! Prayer is meant to bless the Lord because of all His goodness, His mercy, His wonderful and miraculous work which was, and is, and is to come to our life! Declaring God’s blessing is always a good opening to start our prayer! Even our heart can sink deep down in His goodness instead of entangled with our problem.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 5 who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:2-5 NKJV
THIRD, keep eating and drinking so our soul could be satisfied. How many people like to do just like what happened with Hannah: stop eating and drinking because maybe they think that stopping eating and drinking will decrease their burden. Stopping drinking and eating in this case is not fasting. Sometimes people like to choose to stop from everything because they don’t have any spirit to do anything! Elkanah encouraged Hannah to have a food and drink together with him and it worked! We can simply read that Hannah started to lift up her most important prayer just right after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh 1Sam.1:9. Physically, we absolutely always need a new energy to keep our life running. Spiritually, we also must have a new energy so our spirit can be revived and refreshed! When Elijah had the biggest trouble in his life, God asked Elijah to wake up and then eat and drink, not only once but twice, so Elijah could have new power to walk 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. We are not supposed to ignore the power of God’s word. Only God’s word is able to satisfy our hunger. Jesus is the bread of life John.6:48. Jesus is the true fountain John.4:14.
7 And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. 1Kings 19:7-8 NKJV
NOT TO US BUT TO YOUR NAME
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth. Psalm 115:1 NKJV
We can understand why Hannah crying for a son. At that time, it will be taken as a reproach for any wives if they can not bear a child. Hannah did not want that reproach to be always in her life. It seemed that at first Hannah keep focusing on her ambition how she could take away that reproach. Hannah was asking for a child so she can be saved from that shame and had some glory in her life. Later we can find that Hannah changed her focus of prayer. She was not going to chase her ambition again, she was not going to pursue her own glory, but she completely aware that she should bring glory to God and to herself!
Sometimes we may find that our prayer request is not for the glory of the Kingdom of God but to us and this is totally wrong! The objective of our prayer should be for His glory and not to increase our own glory. Unless we correct the purpose of our prayer, we may find that ambition will become a snare for ourselves. We may pray for better career, for richness, for the first house, for relationship, or whatever we may praying for, but the big question is remain the same, are we requesting all of that for our own glory and just fulfil our lust OR for His glory. Through prayer and the process of time, let God teach us and correct us so we can have a correct attitude whenever we ask for something. We need to completely aware that our life should always glorify God.
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV
At last Hannah realized that the purpose of having a child is not for erase her own reproach but to glorify God! Hannah made a promise through her prayer that the child she will have are going to be the Lord’s and not for her. In practical life, we should redefine our prayer request carefully. Do we ask that request just for our prestige? Do we ask it just to fulfil our ambition and attract glory for ourselves? People can chase their dream with their own strength and efforts but without God’s blessing everything will be vain and useless. But whenever we conform our request in God’s line, we may find that God’s favour is poured out in our life abundantly even God is more than able to give us abundantly, more than eyes can see or ears can hear, because God is able to prepare the best thing for those who love Him 1Cor.2:9-10. AMEN.