Friday, February 17, 2017

Hannah's Problem - God's Provision

Thinking. Reading. Praying. Planning. Looking at biblical examples. Asking God how and if they fit into the circumstances I am facing now as a person. Looking at my theological framework. Reading. Praying. Wondering what I can do for people. Wondering what to even to say to some people. Time. Money. Support. Miraculous intervention. All of the above.

My mind keeps returning to Hannah (an old testament Israelite)...

"There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat." - 1 Samuel 1:1-7 ESV

This issue went on for years... years!

Her husband loved her and did what he could to help. I look at the account and see his portion in her life. It was needed. It was real. He couldn't solve her problems but he did what he could to bring her to God's provision.

"And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?" After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head." 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." - 1 Samuel 1:8-18 ESV

There is so much here.

Do you think that God doesn't know that leaders make stupid judgemental assumptions sometimes? God uses the partial blindness of people. Notice how Hannah found peace somehow. She prayed. That was part of it but she also interacted with Eli. God used both. God used all of it.

I sometimes look at situations and begin to judge. I see impractical decisions and even what looks to me at first glance like hyper-spiritual logic and start to judge but then I have to check myself. The situation is what it is. What are we going to do now? Prevention is great but any thoughts, or comments, of that nature are not going to be helpful.

It is a long story and I'll just say for those of you who don't know how it ends... God opens Hannah's womb and Samuel is born. He is the one these books are the Bible are named after. He becomes an important figure in Israel.

God comes through for Hannah.

My mind races and I think of a dozen people in need right now. Tears fill my eyes. If each of them cries out to God He Is going to help them. He Is going to come through for them. I don't know how He will. I don't even know my place in it.

I wonder what Eli thought when he saw little Samuel in the temple. Was he reminded of his idiotic behavior towards Hannah and think, 'I am such an idiot.'... maybe... but then standing next to her is that little miracle boy.

That idiot served a great God. God Is great in spite of his mistakes. Eli did it imperfectly and so do I. So I weep. I read. I pray. I ponder. I ask. I help where I can. Money. Time. Support. Prayer. I even rarely tell people what I think... very rarely... because this life has baffling problems that only God can solve.

This morning, as I look at my theological framework and compare it to scripture it has soundness. It is based on grace. Jesus is central. The work of salvation is finished. God loves us. In areas I have slipped I get realigned.

God will give us words when we need them. We pray looking like drunken fools and God answers in miraculous ways.


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