1 Samuel 1:13-18
Hannah wanted a son. She was unable to conceive. In the natural world there was nothing that could be done. Only breakthrough from God could give Hannah the desire of her heart. Hannah went to the temple and poured her heart out to God. She made a vow before the Lord, that if God gave her a son, she would give him back to serve the Lord all of his days. She was in such an emotional state that Eli, the priest, saw that her lips were moving and thought she was drunk. When Hannah explained that she was pleading with the Lord to give her a son, Eli said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thy petition that thou has asked of Him.” This was all that Hannah needed. She received the word of the Lord that Eli gave. She went her way, ate (she apparently was fasting) and it says she was no longer sad. She broke through into faith. In time, she conceived Samuel, a powerful man of God who anoints both Saul and David to lead Israel.
We should pray until we receive a word of breakthrough for our situation. Jesus tells a parable of a woman who constantly bangs on the door of a judge, asking for justice. He says that even if the judge is crooked, he will eventually grant her request because of her persistence. We are God’s children. How much more will God grant our requests! It’s equally important to receive a message of breakthrough when it comes. Let the word of the Lord inspire confidence. It doesn’t matter if there is visible evidence. In Psalms it says “He sent His word, and it healed them and delivered them from their destructions.” Receive your breakthrough word today!
1 Cor. 6:19-20, Romans 12:1
God created humanity with individual will. Each person has wants and desires, and is naturally focused on achieving their will. Every child naturally wants to get his or her way. Since the Garden of Eden, our will has been mixed with a nature of sin and became naturally selfish. When Jesus came and died on the cross, He broke the power of sin and death. The symbol of baptism represents the death and new life that is gained through accepting Jesus Christ. Death to the old man and the sin nature, and raised to new life in Jesus Christ. This new life in Jesus is not our own. It has been bought with blood. We are living under a new will, the will of God. This is a new concept and lifestyle.
Living as a servant of the Lord goes against culture and conventional thought. In a world that celebrates sports figures and entrepreneurs who can achieve their will or even impose their will on others, the Christian is to die to self and become alive to the will of God. “Our way” becomes an idol when it is surpasses our desire for God’s will in our heart and mind. When we prefer our own way, we declare ourselves God of our own life. Our hubris says “I know better than God, and my way is The Way.” It is easy to slip into this lifestyle. It is the status quo. As Christians we are not just to simply subjugate our will to the Father, but to transform our heart and mind. As we draw closer to God, our will aligns with His will. God molds and shapes our desires into His desires. As the Spirit of God touches our life, conflict between our own will and God’s will dissolves, and we become true servants of the Lord. It is a transformation that brings true peace. Today may your mind be renewed; may you be transformed by the Word of God and may all selfish desires be washed away and replaced by desires birthed out of the love and grace of God.
1 Samuel 7:1-13
After God gave the Israelites victory over the Philistines, Samuel does something particularly intentional. He took a stone and set it up and he named it Ebenezer – The Lord has helped us. Today, one of the definitions in Merriam-Webster for Ebenezer is “a commemoration of divine assistance.” The example of its use is from the hymn ‘Come Thou Fount’ – ‘here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by Thy help I’m come.’ Samuel was making a commemoration, a memorial of God’s intervention. Throughout the Old Testament, stones are raised commemorating divine encounters. Through the years, these stones and altars would constantly remind the people of what God had done. The Israelites would point these stones out to their children, and tell them the story of how God visited Jacob in a dream, of how God withdrew the waters so that Joshua and the Israelites could cross, and how God gave Samuel and the Israelites victory over the Philistines.
These Ebenezer stones served as reminders of the goodness of God. Natural, meaningless items became infused with spiritual significance. They reminded the people of what God had done. This in turn provoked the people to give thanks to God. As we remember the times of breakthrough, of answered prayer, and the moments of God’s grace being fulfilled in our lives, we are reminded of God’s character. As we think and meditate on His acts, God’s nature is more fully revealed.
It is important in our own lives to take time to remember and give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives, and in the lives of those around us. As we keep reminders in front of our eyes, our understanding of God’s kindness, goodness, mercy and love are renewed. Our review of these events serve to renew and revise our own view of God, and they become a touchstone in times of doubt. They prove God’s perfect character. May God continually bless you, and may you raise a memorial of the testimony of Jesus Christ in your own life.