Tuesday, 9th March 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
I Samuel 1 How to Choose the Better Blessings?
From the books of I and II Samuel, we see it happened in a generation of wilfulness. These 2 Books recorded how the Israelites moved from a generation of judges to a generation of kings.
Section One: V1-8 The Choice that Belongs to the World
At the beginning of the Book, it talks about Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. Elkanah and his forefathers were chosen to serve the Lord. The men of Israelites were required to go up to the mountain (God’s chosen place of worship) three times a year, but Elkanah only went up once a year.
Furthermore, as a person who served the Lord, Elkanah should not have two wives. It was a generation of wilfulness and people did whatever they seemed fit. From what Elkanah said to Hannah (V8) we can see that he did not value the promise from God – children are the inherence given from the LORD. Elkanah’s wife Hannah did not have any children so he used his own way to have children from another wife.
The same thing happened for Abraham, when Sarah was unable to give birth, he had Ishmael through the maidservant. Children are our inheritance, but when we try to obtain the inheritance with man’s ways, not with God’s way, then blessings will turn into curses.
When we use man’s way to do things, we are telling God that we can do anything by ourselves, not relying on God. When Elkanah decided to have two wives, quarrels came to his family.
Section Two: V9-11 The Choice that Belongs to God
Hannah was a contrast to Elkanah. She knew that the children are God’s inheritance, and she knew her responsibility was to gain inheritance from God for her family. Even though she was loved by her husband and she had everything she needed, but she knew her position and duties as the wife. She cherished at God’s promises for her family. Even in a generation of wilfulness, Hannah was able to not follow the world, but set apart and seek to receive God’s promises.
If we want our church and our family to be blessed, then we must value the positions that God has given us in the church and in the family. If we want to be blessed then we must cherish our current position, not overdo or underdo what we are called to do!
Section Three: V12-28 Respond with God’s Way
Hannah knew her husband’s wilfulness and she knew she was not blessed by God, so she chose to fast and pray. She still carried on with her life, but did not stop praying. When we fast, do we also pray? We can see Hannah did not stop praying, she spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard.
What is our attitude towards our fasting and praying? Do we just want to lose weight and still enjoy the entertainment from the world during our fasting? Or do we come to God with a broken and contrite heart to be convicted of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment? Do we show people that our God is the Great and Almighty God? Our sins have stopped us to come before God, but our hearts are blind and we cannot see it, so we need to ask God for His mercy and to help us know deeper about our life.
V16, We would become anxious when the devil attacked us, and if we listened to the devil and reacted with our way, then we will be defeated, and our enemy would accused us saying that we are not worthy to receive God’s promise. Hannah was able to respond with God’s way, not with her own way, even though people may accuse her and treat her wrongly. We should learn from her, and let God be our Refuge.
V17-20, From the beginning God did not say a word to Hannah, but she was willing to listen and believe in Eli, the high priest, and responded with her action. She humbled and listened to the authority God gave her on earth, chose to believe and receive joy.
The secret is that she put her faith not on Eli this person but on God. She knew when Eli said the word, if it was not from God, then Eli will pay for the price. Therefore we should also listen to our authority because all authorities are from God.
V22, Hannah was a noble woman, she knew what the things she should do to please God are. Even when her husband was not aligning with God, she was able to make the right decisions as she listened to God. Husband and wife should both align with God, not forcing one to align and listen to the other. Husband needs to take up the position and responsibilities as the covering, but wife also needs to always align with God! When one is weak, the other should seek God even more earnestly with fasting and prayers and let God make things happen.
Pursuit & Respond
Lord Jesus, we want to respond to You in Your Way! You rule and reign in our lives and Your promises for us are all true! Please give us the heart of Hannah to pray to You, to seek You, to follow You and to pursue Your Promises!
In our lives, we face many problems, troubles, hardship, and we tend to use our own ways to respond. We forgot to seek You first, Lord, and we gave up too easily. Forgive us for not praying and fasting in Your Way, but in our wilfulness. Bind the lies, attacks and accusations from the devil, we long to live in Your Promises and Blessings!
Thank You Lord, help us to cherish Your Promises for us and to see lightly the things of this world. May the LORD bless us and keep us, may His face shine upon us and be gracious to us. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon us and give us peace. Shalom. In the name of Jesus our Lord, Amen!
V6-8，用人的方法去拿神的应许- 就好像亚伯拉罕当时从夏甲生儿子，结果夏甲就轻看了主母撒拉，最后是家里没有和平。V8 – 从以利加拿对哈拿说的话可以知道，他没有看重神给人的应许 – 就是儿女是神给他们的产业，觉得是靠自己可以有小孩。他身为利未人，却没有照着神借摩西传讲的教导而行，任意妄为 – 每年本来要3次去朝拜神，但他只上去一次，妻子不生育，他就娶另外一个女人来生。这没有带来祝福，反而是咒诅。
哈拿与她的丈夫是一个很大的对比 – 她是一个才德的妇人，知道儿女是从神而来的产业，知道自己位份的责任是为丈夫家留产业，而不只是留恋在丈夫的爱。哈拿看重神给她的应许。虽然她活在一个混乱和任意妄为的世代，但是她愿意分别为圣，不随波逐流，我们能够像她这样知道自己的位份，以神为乐吗？我们若想让我们的家庭和教会蒙福，就要看重神所给我们在家里或教会的位份，忠心尽责，也不要想做超过我们现在需要做的。
V12-15, 哈拿遇到了生活、家庭上的问题 – 她知道她的丈夫在任意妄为，所以她选择禁食祷告。在禁食祷告时，我们一样也是在像平时一样生活，但要不断祷告。V13-哈拿“心中默祷，只动嘴唇，不出声音”-她禁食的时候是祷告的，我们禁食的时候是否只是不吃东西而没有祷告？我们是否能为罪为义为审判用一个忧伤痛悔的灵来面对禁食祷告？还是在禁食祷告期间仍然开心出去玩乐？我们禁食祷告的时候是否能让人看出我们在敬畏神？不是带出忧愁的灵，而是让人感觉到神是大而可畏的。要来求神给我们指引知道如何禁食，更多省察我们的生命，让神的怜悯来到，使我们与神之间没有罪的阻挡。