Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, September 14, 2015
How do you react when God allows troubles in your life? Do you react in anger and bitterness or with grace and understanding? In 1 Samuel 1, God gives us the story of Hannah, mother of Samuel, who has both blessing and woe in her life. The way she reacts to her circumstances provides a model for how we might behave in similar circumstances.
Hannah was the wife of Elkanah, a Godly man, but Hannah was barren and childless. This caused Elkanah to take a second wife, Penninah, who bore him children. Penninah continually provoked Hannah regarding her barren state, but never more than when the family went to make their annual sacrifice. On those occasions, she irritated Hannah with such malice that Hannah refused to eat, despite being given double portions of the meat.
Lovingly, Hannah’s husband reminded her that he loved her immensely and challenged her to take notice of her blessings. Although she had reason to be troubled, he reminded her that our sorrow is sinful and excessive when it diverts us from our duties to God and when it makes us unthankful for the blessings He has given so generously. Elkanah reminded her to look at the blessings God had given as well as the troubles He had allowed.
Being a Godly woman, Hannah responded in a normal way. Her husband’s gentle rebuke had a good effect on her, and she ate and drank. She did not let her sorrow harden her or become sullen from his correction. Her spirits were raised by drawing closer to God. Putting her afflictions to good use, she went to the LORD in earnest prayer, which was a normal thing to do. Scripture tells us Jesus prayed more earnestly when He was in agony (Luke 22:44), and Hannah poured out her heart in a focused, directed, and modest prayer. She did not ask for children, she asked for but one child and promised to commit him to God’s service if God would answer her prayer.
Ironically, sometimes “no good deed goes unpunished”. Hannah was so quickened and excited in her prayer that Eli the priest mistook her for a drunken woman and censured her harshly. His censure was a fault, since he had not paid attention enough to see a woman animated by prayer instead of alcohol. As such, we too are cautioned not to be rash or hasty in our censure of others, with charity commanding us to hope for the best concerning all. By being too hasty, we may label honest zeal and fruit for hypocrisy or sin.
Again displaying her gentle heart, Hannah bore the undeserved rebuke from Eli with grace and dignity. Instead of lashing out, she humbled herself and was able to vindicate herself from this false accusation without adding to her own sin or the sin of the situation. She would have had every right to upbraid Eli for the debauchery of his two sons, but she held her tongue and did not recriminate. What a feat! Although she did not know Jesus, she was able to turn the other cheek multiple times (Mathew 5:39, 18:21-22). How hard it is for most of us not to return insult for insult when unjustly accused.
In justice to herself, she spoke to him with respect and expressly denied the charge against her. In justice to him, she explained the behavior that aroused his suspicions. She took the opportunity to both clear herself and to educate her assailant. In return, and to his credit, Eli did not, as many are apt to do, take offense at having his mistake corrected and to be convinced of his own error.
Hannah shows us how the normal attributes of grace, humility, and meekness are indeed Godly ways. Instead of desiring eye for eye, she humbled herself and turned to normal, Godly ways. She was rewarded with not only an improved countenance, but the remarkable son for which she prayed. What mercy would God grant you if you trusted Him and prayed for Him to decide the outcome instead of taking things into your own hands?
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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