Prepare Ye The Way!

For the Love of the Spirit

Hannah’s Prayer

This is the second part in Bible Stories began in Little Sammy, about Samuel.  Samuel was to anoint the first kings of

Samuel and Eli

Israel — Saul and David.  He is compared to Moses in importance in the continuity of the covenant as he provided the transition from government by the rule of the judges to that of the monarchy itself.

In the first part we see how Samuel’s mother, Hannah, asked God for him. Being childless to that point, she promised God that she would dedicate him to religious service if God would answer her prayer.  She gave birth to Samuel, and keeping her vow, carried the freshly weaned child to Shiloh and turned him over to the chief priest Eli.  That part was given to us in I Samuel Chapter 1.  Chapter 2 begins with the second prayer of Hannah after she turned her son over to the priesthood.

Hannah’s Prayer

My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.

For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the LORD will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest.

I had trouble at first with this passage.  It felt strangely out of context.  Hannah had just turned over her first born child at a very tender age over to religious service and here she was praying about military service and the might of the nation of Israel and kings and the triumph of goodness over evil in absolute terms of victory and defeat.

Then I realized the extreme importance of Samuel entering the world stage at this particular moment.  At the moment that Hannah turned Samuel over, there WERE no kings in Israel.  Israel at that point was strictly a Theocratic state and were ruled over by religious leaders called “Judges.”  There was no monarchy and there were no kings.  The entrance of Samuel into the international arena brought an end to all that even though it was still many years to come before he anointed the first king of Israel — Saul.

Hannah’s prayer foreshadowed all that.  Samuel was to be the next in line of God’s Chosen to further his covenant with Abraham.  In that respect, he deserves a position of divine honor along with Moses.  As will be seen as we proceed in our studies of Samuel, Samuel was against the turn of events that would lead Israel into monarchical government and it would appear from biblical accounts that God wasn’t very keen on the subject either.  But, it can be little doubted that the transition was vital to furthering the process of Israel’s asecendency.

NEXT:

Eli’s Sons

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Bible Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Praise, Gratitude, and Love: Part 2

(continued from Praise, Gratitude, and Love: Part 1)

Praise, Gratitude, and Love: Part 2

Grateful

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.  (Ps 100: 4-5, NIV)

My gratitude at the divine relief I received that day was instantaneous.  My spirit overflowed with the Spirit of Jesus and I was transported into ecstasy.  I did not feel so much as though a great weight had been lifted, as I did that a consuming blackness had been taken.  It was a physical release.  The total mental surrender was shortly to come.

Now, when I first thought to write this article I sat down and made a long list of all the things for which I now feel grateful and for which I now give daily praise to the Spirit of God.  A laundry list is not now required.  There a few things I want to mention here, but it is enough to say at this point that ALL good things can be grouped into one package.

Of the items the two most important are,

  1. Life, and the
  2. Love of the Holy Spirit.

Both of these things are offered to me.  Except for the act of being born, I am free to accept or reject either one.  As for my life after birth, I am free to continue living if I do nothing to shorten it beyond my normal and biological life-span.  I am free to end my own life through an act of suicide, health destructive lifestyles, or (and most importantly) the rejection of the second offered gift.  It is ONLY through the acceptance of the love of God, that I can accept the life that comes as a byproduct.

Praise

Oh Lord, Our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.  From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet; all flocks and herds and beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:1-9

What is it to praise the triune God?  It is to praise him as you love him; with all your heart and all you mind and all your soul.  It is to welcome the Holy Spirit into your heart with arms wide open and let that loving Spirit sing from the depths of your own soul all the glory that is due to the One who is responsible for your life and salvation.

We praise him with humility.  We praise him with sincerity.  All the goodness of the earth and the heavens belong to him and it is he that bestows it all upon his creation; all of humanity.  For all that comes from his riches that he gives to the righteous, we praise him.

We praise him with arms uplifted and hearts wide open.  We praise him with our gifts and sacrifices.

We praise him with music and with our voices.  We praise him with our witness of his great love.

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.  Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

PRAISE THE LORD!

Psalm 150

This is what it is to praise God.  These are some of the many ways to praise him.

Why do we praise him?  What it is it about the Holy Spirit of God through his son Jesus that inspires us to praise him so?

It is

Love!

For all the gifts and blessings from God that we experience in this life, none are possible if there is not first love.  There is no way that a being of such power as God could have any mercy toward such a sinful and potentially evil race as humanity if he did not love us.  I am not talking about the kind of love humans hold for their personal possessions or pets.  I am talking about the kind of love that humans feel for their own offspring.  And even the greatest unconditional kind of love that comes from the best parents towards their children does not come close.

I have children of my own and I do not believe that there is anything they could do or say that would cause me to stop loving them.  But is my love so great that I would sacrifice one of my own children to rescue any other of my children?  Is my faith as great as Abraham’s?

Abraham was told by God that through his son Issac a great nation would be founded and then commanded Abraham to sacrifice Issac as a burnt offering.  Even though Abraham loved his only son greatly and even though Issac was still just a boy and was not even close to fathering offspring that would beget a nation, Abraham, without question, set out to fulfill the commandment to sacrifice his own son.  Upon the mountain, Issac said to his father, “Father, here is the wood and here is the fire.  Where is the lamb for the sacrifice?’  Abraham replied, “The Lord will provide.”  He then tied Isaac to the altar and raised the knife for the sacrifice.  It was only at that point that the Lord stayed his hand. (Gn 22: 1-18).

The Lord did indeed provide.  On that day of Abraham and Issac, he provided a ram caught in the thicket near the altar.  Centuries later he provided his own son nailed to a cross on another hill called Golgotha.  Once and for all the matter was settled.

God in his infinite faithfulness and unconditional love sacrificed his own son so that anyone, who through faith believed in the divinity and resurrection of Jesus, could be united in the spirit with him — the Father.  Regardless of the quality of our own love prior to the moment of the acceptance of his love, his love is extended to all of humanity.  He gives to all his children his faithful and unconditional love.  Even though we may not even love ourselves it is available.  Once it is accepted it becomes inevitable that we will return it.  We return it as love to the one from whom it came and as love to all the rest of humanity.

It is the final commandment to love one another as we now find that the Father, through his Son, loves us.  The magnitude of his love provides the blessings and the gifts for which we praise him.

May you receive the love of the Holy Spirit.  May you receive the salvation offered by Holy God through his Holy Son, Jesus the Christ.

Maranatha!

October 20, 2011 Posted by | Love, Praise | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment