Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hannah Received a Miracle But What About Me?

Based on 1 Samuel 1:1-20

Hannah prayed to the Lord and said: “Remember me and do not forget your servant” (1:11). She wanted a child. She poured out her heart to the Lord in the temple. She worshipped Him. She pleaded with God to give her a child. She vowed to dedicate her son to the Lord all the days of his life (1:11). This was more then the usual 25 year commitment, which was the Levitical custom at that time. The next day she rose early in the morning to worship the Lord again. Then she went back to her house. She was thinking to herself: “Is the Lord going to hear my prayer? Why doesn’t He grant me a baby? Why is God granting other women like Peninnah babies and not me? Are they doing more for the Lord then me? Will the Lord remember me? Or has He forgotten about me?” Then there is a shift in the story. The text says: “The Lord remembered her” (1:19) 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” (1:20). The Lord remembered His servant Hannah and granted her a son.

Hannah’s experience reminds me of my time at the seminary. I’m going to share with you two stories from the seminary. The first is about my wife and I’s experience with pregnancy and prayer at the seminary. My wife and I got married in December of 2004 and we decided that we wanted to have children right away. Why wait? Children are such a blessing from God! So we prayed and asked the Lord to remember us, and not forget His servants. We prayed and prayed. But for over a year and half we were unable to achieve pregnancy. We had a problem on our hands. We felt like the Lord forgot about us. But then miraculously the Lord remembered us and granted us pregnancy in August of 2006. On May 6, 2007, we were blessed with our first daughter, Miriam Grayce. The Lord remembered us. On the other hand, we were friends with another couple. They had a different experience. They achieved pregnancy, but the problem was sustaining it. So they prayed to the Lord. Daisy and I prayed for them everyday at one point, hoping that God would remember them and cause them to maintain their pregnancy. But tragically, they had a miscarriage. This was very hard for them. They even got pregnant again at one point. But then they lost their pregnancy again. Two miscarriages. Why? Why did not the Lord remember them? Why did He answer our prayers but not theirs? These questions lead us back to our text.

Why doesn't God answer prayer sometimes? And why does He answer Elkanah and Hannah’s prayer? Was it because of anything that Elkanah and Hannah did? Was it because Hannah vowed to dedicate her son to the Lord all the days of her life? Was it because of Hannah’s commitment? Let’s explore this one first. After searching the Scriptures, this isn’t the reason. In the New Testament, Jesus comes along and reveals the Lord’s true heart towards vows on the Sermon on the Mount. He says not to make vows anymore. He reveals that God never intended vows to be present among His people forever. Vows were like other Old Testament principles that were elementary until the time of Christ. Now that Christ had come His people were called to maturity. Instead of vowing to God that you are going to do something, Jesus says, “let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.” God knows the futility of man’s vows and commitments. Vows are man-centered. A simple “yes” to the Lord is God centered. So we know that Hannah’s vow was not the reason. If it were, we would all make vows to the Lord and negotiate with Him so we could get what we wanted. On to the next possibility…. Did God answer Hannah’s prayer because she was constantly praying to the Lord and worshiping Him? Was it because she was pious and faithful? Does God answer the prayers all the time of people who are faithful? This isn’t the answer either. The Scriptures say that Job was the most faithful man on the earth. But God allowed the devil to take his seven sons and three daughters from Him! Why didn’t God remember Job? Job was faithful. If anyone deserved to have peace and blessings, it was Job. But God did not grant Job the preservation of His children. So the answer to our question is not altogether known to us. We can gain some insight from Scripture. But we will never know all the answers in this life. The complete answer to this question has been hidden from us. So what shall we do? Should we speculate? Should we try and figure it out?

My word to you today is: Release yourself from trying to figure out the answer to this question and it will bring you freedom. Now I know that some of you do not like this idea. But it is necessary. There have been many theologians who have tried to come up with answers to explain God’s hidden ways in this life. And none of their answers do justice to the Scriptures. God is God. And you and I are not. God is going to be God. He is going to do things that you and I do not understand. His thoughts are higher than your thoughts. His ways are higher then your ways. His ways are beyond finding out. So He calls on you and I to focus on what He has revealed to us. When you and I release ourselves from trying to figure out the hidden ways of God it brings us freedom. It gives us freedom because it takes us from speculation to focusing on what has been revealed. What God has revealed to us is certain. What He has hidden from us is uncertain. God has revealed to us some things that I am certain about. One thing that I am certain is about is:

God’s will is going to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We know this is especially true when we recall what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was in agony. He was praying to the Father earnestly. He was in such agony that his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. Would the Father remember His Son and free Him from suffering? Jesus prayed: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus prayed that the Father would remove suffering from his life. But he knew that the Father’s will had to be done. God’s will was that Jesus Christ would be mocked. That He would be struck. That He would be beaten and scourged. That He would suffer. And that He would be crucified and experience suffocation on a cross. On the cross Jesus said: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was asking the question that Hannah asked. Father, are you going to remember me? He was asking the question that our friends at the seminary asked. Jesus was asking the question that some of you are asking right now. Why did not the Father release the Son from suffering? Why does He allow us to suffer and not answer our prayers all the time? The truth of the matter is, is that we don’t always know why in our own lives. But we do know that Jesus Christ redeemed the whole world. Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the whole world. He experienced death on a cross to bring us to the Father. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not counting man’s trespasses against them. His suffering and death was for all the suffering we experience in this life as a result of sin. For while you were weak, Christ died for you. By His wounds you are healed. And by Christ’s presence in your life you will experience love and healing even in the midst of tragedy and suffering. Christ is present in your weakness. And the Spirit helps you in your weakness.

Jesus Christ helps us even in the midst of tragedy. This was Greg Boyd’s experience after the loss of his mother. The Spirit helped him with his weakness. Greg Boyd was a former agnostic but is now an Evangelical Pastor in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the early 70s his mother was dying. He prayed and prayed as a teenager that God would not let her die. He was too young to experience the death of his mother. He thought surely the Lord would answer His prayer. His father thought surely the Lord would hear the prayers of young kids. But sadly, Greg Boyd’s mother, Arlyle, passed away. In October of 1989, Greg’s father who was an agnostic himself at that time, wrote to his son, Greg, who had become a Christian Pastor. He said, “When Arlyle was dying, we all prayed till we were blue in the face. Even you kids prayed. Maybe God doesn’t listen to the prayers of sinful adults, but He should have at least heard the cries of you kids!” The next month Greg wrote a letter in response to his dad. He wrote: “My question [concerning why God did not spare my mother’s life] still remains, but Christ has won my trust in Him by showing me His beauty – the beauty of a love, a grace, a tenderness, a gentle strength which no mere human being could ever match. He won my love and trust through the healing compassion of His eyes and the warm understanding of His embrace. He provided an understanding in the heart which the mind could never grasp.” Greg experienced Christ’s healing presence in His life during the midst of suffering and unanswered prayer. How did Greg come to such understanding? We know the answer from the same letter. In Greg’s first year of college he went through a long period of doubt concerning the truth of Christianity. The problem of suffering and unanswered prayer was at the heart of it. As he approached his car on a cold February night something occurred to him. He wrote: “Only the Gospel dares to proclaim that God enters smack-dab into the middle of the hell we create. Only the Gospel dares to proclaim that God was born a baby in a bloody, crap-filled stable…that He suffered, firsthand, the hellish depth of all that is nightmarish in human existence. Only the Gospel portrait of God makes sense of the contradictory fact that the world is at once so beautiful and so ugly.”

The world is at once so beautiful and so ugly because the kingdom of God is present today but not yet completely fulfilled. That is, through the redemption of Jesus Christ the kingdom of God has come upon you. Jesus Christ is King. And His people make up a spiritual nation, a people belonging to Him. However, while Jesus reigns, there is sin in the world. And with sin comes death and evil. Satan still roams around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. One day Jesus promises to come again to conquer Satan, death, and sin forever. So the kingdom of God is now, but not yet. It is here among you today, but it has not yet completely fulfilled. For example: You and I are forgiven of our sins, but we still sin because of our sinful natures. That is we receive the assurance we are forgiven through the gospel, but we still sin in our weakness. Another example: Jesus Christ has come, but He will come again. He came once and we have been redeemed. But our complete redemption will not come until His second coming. Another example: Jesus Christ has given you and I spiritual resurrection by the power of the Holy Spirit. But when He comes again you and I will receive resurrected bodies. In the new heavens and new earth there will be no more unanswered prayer or tragedy. Sin, death, and the devil will be completely wiped out. There will be no more darkness, but only light. There will be no more hate, but only love. There will be no more tears, but only joy. So today, you and I await with joyful hope the second coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. And until then we witness that the world is at once so beautiful, but at the same time so ugly. We witness His saving presence in our lives, but at the same time also experience times of unanswered prayer. But we do know one thing that is true today: Our God has not retired. He is active in this world, seeking and saving the lost.

While God has not fully established the new heavens and the new earth, He has not retired. He is living and active and interceding as we speak. He may be interceding and working in your lives in ways that you do not see. Because you and I are so busy, sometimes we miss all the ways He is working. Christianity is about God becoming a person in Jesus Christ. Christians are not Deists. We believe in a God who descends to us. This incarnational approach to us did not stop at the birth of Christ. It continues today every time Christian preachers throughout the world proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit descends and is currently drawing people to His kingdom. In baptism, God descends to us and gives us new life and washes away our sins. In the Lord’s Supper, Christ descends to us again and is present with His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. The Holy Spirit is being poured out into the hearts of non-believers and believers on a continual basis. The Holy Spirit is living and active pointing people to Jesus Christ throughout the world. He appears in dreams to the nations who have not yet heard the gospel. And on the mission field He is miraculously healing many.

So when you pray remember that God is all-powerful and almighty and cares about every detail of your life. And even if He does not answer your prayer the way you want, He still has given you Jesus Christ to suffer on your behalf. During times of pain and tragedy, He will be with you with His healing presence. He promises to never leave you nor forsake you. He will never forget you but always will remember you. In Jesus Christ all people are remembered and not one is forgotten. In Jesus Christ all people have had their sins atoned for, and not one has been forgotten. Remember that the kingdom of God is now, but not yet. And pray with faith which is optimism that God will actually do something. Hannah was persistent and never gave up, but continued praying to the Lord. She exhibited faith. In the gospels, Jesus did not perform miracles unless people had faith that He could do something. He may not perform a miracle the way you want Him to. But He will always miraculously be present in your life with His healing presence. And in those times we are reminded to say to the Lord: Remember me in your kingdom and teach me to pray. Pray with me: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, yours, now and forever. Amen.


Blogger oakleyses said...

tiffany and co, rolex watches, air max, cheap uggs, louis vuitton handbags, tory burch outlet, polo ralph lauren, longchamp handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, jordan shoes, louboutin shoes, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, louis vuitton outlet stores, burberry outlet, nike shoes, longchamp outlet, nike free, oakley sunglasses cheap, chanel handbags, burberry outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, air max, kate spade outlet, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, replica watches, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, ugg outlet, uggs outlet, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses, louboutin outlet, ray ban sunglasses, gucci outlet, longchamp handbags, ugg boots clearance, louboutin, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online sale, louis vuitton outlet, prada outlet, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, tiffany and co, uggs, prada handbags

Mon Oct 12, 11:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

air max, longchamp, air jordan, sac longchamp pas cher, kate spade handbags, nike air force, ralph lauren, nike roshe, coach factory outlet, michael kors pas cher, sac hermes, true religion jeans, oakley pas cher, new balance pas cher, converse pas cher, true religion jeans, coach outlet, nike free pas cher, mulberry, ray ban sunglasses, air max, nike roshe run pas cher, ray ban pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, polo lacoste, hollister, polo ralph lauren, timberland, michael kors uk, coach outlet store online, coach purses, nike free, north face, hogan outlet, north face, true religion outlet, lululemon outlet online, air max pas cher, vans pas cher, hollister, sac burberry, nike blazer, nike air max, michael kors, vanessa bruno, michael kors outlet, nike tn, sac guess, true religion outlet, louboutin

Mon Oct 12, 11:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

hollister clothing store, nike roshe run, instyler, vans, gucci, ghd, mcm handbags, air max, chi flat iron, reebok outlet, air max, converse, baseball bats, longchamp, jimmy choo outlet, mont blanc, soccer jerseys, bottega veneta, babyliss pro, abercrombie, north face outlet, valentino shoes, vans shoes, ferragamo shoes, new balance shoes, mac cosmetics, soccer shoes, ray ban, lululemon outlet, louboutin, oakley, giuseppe zanotti, abercrombie and fitch, nike trainers, birkin bag, nfl jerseys, nike huaraches, converse shoes, beats by dre, hollister, insanity workout, ralph lauren, herve leger, north face jackets, p90x, iphone cases, timberland boots, asics running shoes, wedding dresses, celine handbags

Mon Oct 12, 11:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler, sac louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton uk, swarovski crystal, toms shoes, canada goose, michael kors handbags, pandora jewelry, supra shoes, sac lancel, canada goose, thomas sabo, montre homme, moncler outlet, coach outlet store online, sac louis vuitton, juicy couture outlet, ugg boots, links of london, ugg, rolex watches, moncler, moncler, moncler, canada goose uk, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, moncler, ugg, juicy couture, marc jacobs, karen millen, ugg, canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler, michael kors outlet online, hollister, pandora charms, swarovski, canada goose, pandora jewelry, ugg pas cher, doke gabbana, barbour, louis vuitton, barbour, moncler, canada goose, wedding dresses, pandora charms

Mon Oct 12, 11:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

christian louboutin outlet, louboutin pas cher, uggs on sale, sac longchamp pas cher, prada outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet online, tiffany jewelry, jordan pas cher, nike free, prada handbags, longchamp outlet, kate spade outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike air max, longchamp pas cher, ugg boots, christian louboutin shoes, christian louboutin uk, nike roshe, replica watches, chanel handbags, ray ban sunglasses, nike free run, tiffany and co, air max, tory burch outlet, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, polo outlet, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, nike outlet, polo ralph lauren, ugg boots, nike air max, burberry pas cher, gucci handbags

Thu May 05, 01:59:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

true religion outlet, coach purses, hollister uk, michael kors outlet online, replica handbags, abercrombie and fitch uk, hollister pas cher, coach outlet, ray ban uk, oakley pas cher, michael kors outlet, new balance, north face uk, true religion outlet, kate spade, hogan outlet, lululemon canada, nike free uk, michael kors outlet online, nike tn, nike air max uk, michael kors, ralph lauren uk, nike air force, converse pas cher, coach outlet store online, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max uk, nike roshe run uk, sac vanessa bruno, north face, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet, guess pas cher, michael kors outlet, nike air max, sac hermes, burberry handbags, mulberry uk, uggs outlet, timberland pas cher, michael kors, vans pas cher, polo lacoste, true religion jeans, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, burberry outlet, ray ban pas cher

Thu May 05, 02:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

ray ban, reebok outlet, oakley, gucci, new balance shoes, hollister, mcm handbags, chi flat iron, valentino shoes, nike roshe run, mont blanc pens, converse outlet, nike trainers uk, abercrombie and fitch, p90x workout, insanity workout, asics running shoes, wedding dresses, nike huaraches, longchamp uk, nfl jerseys, instyler, hermes belt, north face outlet, baseball bats, celine handbags, beats by dre, jimmy choo outlet, converse, soccer jerseys, herve leger, ghd hair, lululemon, soccer shoes, timberland boots, bottega veneta, babyliss, nike air max, iphone cases, hollister clothing, ralph lauren, vans outlet, mac cosmetics, north face outlet, vans, hollister, ferragamo shoes, giuseppe zanotti outlet, nike air max, louboutin

Thu May 05, 02:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

links of london, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, pandora charms, louis vuitton, ugg uk, lancel, moncler outlet, supra shoes, pandora uk, marc jacobs, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, canada goose outlet, toms shoes, hollister, coach outlet, swarovski crystal, moncler uk, juicy couture outlet, canada goose, canada goose outlet, canada goose jackets, moncler, moncler outlet, ugg, karen millen uk, pandora jewelry, barbour uk, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, replica watches, doudoune moncler, canada goose uk, moncler, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, canada goose, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, thomas sabo, swarovski, canada goose, montre pas cher, ugg pas cher, barbour, moncler, louis vuitton

Thu May 05, 02:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

polo ralph lauren, nike roshe, ray ban sunglasses, uggs on sale, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, tiffany jewelry, sac longchamp pas cher, oakley sunglasses, michael kors pas cher, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp pas cher, jordan shoes, longchamp outlet, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin shoes, replica watches, burberry pas cher, longchamp outlet, louboutin pas cher, prada handbags, jordan pas cher, polo ralph lauren outlet online, kate spade outlet, nike outlet, christian louboutin uk, nike air max, air max, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, nike free, cheap oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses wholesale, louis vuitton, gucci handbags, louis vuitton, ugg boots, tiffany and co, christian louboutin outlet, nike air max, tory burch outlet, polo outlet, ray ban sunglasses, nike free run, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses

Mon Aug 01, 01:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

sac hermes, hollister uk, converse pas cher, nike roshe run uk, uggs outlet, polo lacoste, sac vanessa bruno, michael kors outlet online, north face, oakley pas cher, hogan outlet, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, nike air max uk, nike air max uk, michael kors outlet, new balance, coach outlet, timberland pas cher, coach outlet store online, ray ban uk, ralph lauren uk, replica handbags, mulberry uk, burberry outlet, michael kors outlet online, coach purses, north face uk, michael kors outlet, michael kors, burberry handbags, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike air max, michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, nike blazer pas cher, nike free uk, guess pas cher, michael kors, nike air force, true religion jeans, kate spade, nike tn, vans pas cher, true religion outlet, lululemon canada, true religion outlet, hollister pas cher, ray ban pas cher

Mon Aug 01, 01:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

soccer jerseys, nike huaraches, vans outlet, hollister, louboutin, ferragamo shoes, new balance shoes, jimmy choo outlet, nike air max, asics running shoes, insanity workout, nike roshe run, converse outlet, ray ban, lululemon, baseball bats, babyliss, p90x workout, hermes belt, nike trainers uk, ralph lauren, bottega veneta, mcm handbags, vans, nike air max, lancel, soccer shoes, timberland boots, instyler, chi flat iron, beats by dre, oakley, nfl jerseys, gucci, abercrombie and fitch, hollister clothing, herve leger, north face outlet, ghd hair, north face outlet, hollister, mont blanc pens, valentino shoes, wedding dresses, converse, longchamp uk, reebok outlet, iphone cases, celine handbags, mac cosmetics

Mon Aug 01, 01:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger oakleyses said...

coach outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, louis vuitton, thomas sabo, louis vuitton, canada goose uk, moncler outlet, moncler, swarovski, juicy couture outlet, ugg uk, pandora jewelry, moncler outlet, moncler, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, swarovski crystal, ugg pas cher, replica watches, hollister, moncler uk, ugg, canada goose, canada goose, links of london, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, doudoune moncler, supra shoes, pandora charms, pandora uk, marc jacobs, toms shoes, karen millen uk, montre pas cher, moncler, juicy couture outlet, canada goose outlet, canada goose, moncler, canada goose jackets

Mon Aug 01, 01:43:00 AM EDT  
Blogger good days said...

Services availaBle:
- Cleaning houses, BuilDings anD villas (apartments - shops - hotels)
- Plain anD polishing marBle.
- Cleaning tiles.

افضل شركة تنظيف بالمدينة المنورة
تنظيف سجاد بالرياض

شركة الاول لتنظيف خزانات بالمدينة المنورة
شركة الاول للتنظيف
شركة الاول تخزين اثاث بالرياض
شركة تنظيف شقق بالمدينة المنورة

Sat May 19, 05:47:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Inilah Khasiat Kulit Manggis Untuk Kanker Payudara said...

Nice, have the motivation for everything

Pengobatan Ampuh Jantung Lemah
Obat Jantung Bocor
Cara Cepat Menyembuhkan Kanker Tenggorokan
Pengobatan Limpa Bengkak Tanpa Operasi
Pengobatan Jantung Bengkak
Pengobatan Flek Paru-Paru Ampuh

Thu May 31, 03:19:00 AM EDT  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home