Thursday, September 19, 2013

Faith That Conceives

"As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.

And Eli said to her, 'How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.'

But Hannah answered, 'No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.'

Then Eli answered, 'Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.'

And she said, 'Let your servant find favor in your eyes.' Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.

And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, 'I have asked for him from the LORD.'

The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, 'As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD and dwell there forever.'

Elkanah her husband said to her, 'Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the LORD establish his word.'

So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli.

And she said, 'Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.'

And he worshiped the LORD there." 1 Samuel 1:12-28 ESV

There are three people represented in this passage... Hannah, Elkanah her husband and Eli. I can relate to all three of them. It would not be hard to walk around in the shoes of these people for a while and relate to their lives.

As I look at them I imagine a preacher giving a neat thorough three point sermon on their lives... Hannah's faith... Elkanah's consistency... Eli as a kind of clueless person used by God...  verse by verse and point by point it would all come out... then at the end the impassioned plea calling us to faith for one reason or another because we were brought down a logical road that brought us to a conclusion. I get it. I've been that guy also. That's great... just reading the passages I have composed pieces of sermons in my head that may end up as seed thought for messages spoken in the future but in me is a longing for more... I must have something from God.

I want the miracle. I ask for the thing that won't happen by sight. I yearn for it. There must be a connection... a conception... I want new life.

My lips move but no words come out of my mouth... like Hannah did. I live in my spiritual routine but I'm ready to make grace adjustments... like Elkanah did. I stand in wonder looking on a bit befuddled at what the God of all grace does like Eli might.

God sees faith. God remembers faith.

"And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice." 1 Samuel 2:19 ESV

One day we will make little sets of clothes for our miracle. That is one of the beautiful things about dealing with God. Then it will grow and we will make some more and so on and so on.

So this is a place where I would normally put an 'impassioned plea' for the reader. How about a suggestion today instead... read your Bible and send a prayer up to God. Make an 'impassioned plea' of your own. Send a prayer up like Hannah did.

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