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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel! (1:21-28)

We are working our way through I Samuel — because we need to!  We are woefully weak in the Old Testament — and I intend to do something about it before I’m dead and gone.

So.  We are looking at this marvelous book of I Samuel.  We have seen some of the story of Hannah, her barrenness, and her anguished prayer for a son.  The Lord granted her request.  In this last section of chapter 1, we see that Elkanah goes up for the annual sacrifice, but Hannah stays behind, promising to take the boy and give him over to the Lord after he is weaned (v. 22).

Then Elkanah says the six scariest words any man can say to any woman:  “Do what seems best to you”!  [Just kidding].  I wonder what he means by “only may the Lord make good his word” (v. 23)?  [That question I’ll have to think more about].

The World Health Organization reports that the average weaning age is 4.2 years worldwide at present, however the weaning age has declined in modern times and the weaning age would have been higher in the past.

This is supported by the book of II Maccabees, 7:27 wherein a mother casually mentions giving milk to her son for three years which would be consistent with Samuel being about 3-5 years of age when he was dedicated at the temple and consistent with present and historical averages.

If you further read the text in 1 Samuel 2:5, AFTER Hannah leaves Samuel with Eli and when she is praising the Lord she says, “She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has many sons pines away.” Hannah is referring to herself in the first part of that sentence, so by the time she committed Samuel to the Lord as a servant of the priest (which was the official title), she had seven children (including Samuel). Technically, if she got pregnant immediately after she finished her six weeks of healing after birth which made her unclean in that day, it was 6 years and 1 month old. Not-so-ironically, research has shown that children are essentially who they are going to be and have core beliefs intact by 6 years of age. (https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/8951/how-old-was-samuel-when-hannah-took-him-to-the-temple)

At any rate, Hannah keeps her promise to the Lord [note that the bull she brings to sacrifice is three years old]. She brings the boy to Eli and reminds him that she is the one who prayed beside him for a child — “and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him” (v. 27).

Hannah then turns over her preschooler to Eli the priest, saying, “So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And Eli worshiped the Lord there. (v. 28).

What a marvelous example of keeping one’s vow before the Lord! May your life — and mine — be a life filled with giving ourselves over to the Lord!

 

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2018 in I Samuel 1

 

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Time for a Great Quote (Francis Chan on pursuing God)

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 6.04.19 AM“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.”
― Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in pursuing God

 

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Some Reflections on My Trip to Singapore and Thailand (Part 1)

As many of you know, I spent two weeks serving on an OM (Operation Mobilization)FirefoxScreenSnapz278 ship in Singapore and Thailand.  I have the greatest respect for those 400 brothers and sisters in Christ who are serving on the ship Logos Hope.

I want to use the next couple of blogs to share some of my reflections on my experience.  Your comments are always welcome.

Reflection #1:  The Dedication of the OM crew

I was very impressed with the young people aboard the ship Logos Hope.  Many of them were committed to the three-month STEP program and FirefoxScreenSnapz279were serving the ship as dish washers, kitchen staff, cleaning crew, serving in the book fair, etc.  For some, there was a period of adjustment in realizing that “serving the Lord” often involves what we might describe as menial tasks.

I heard no complaints from those whose duties were less than glamorous.  There was a spirit of cooperation and joy that said, “I’m part of something bigger than myself.”  It was refreshing to see young people from almost 50 different nations working together.

As I flew out to Singapore, I watched “Captain Phillips,” the new Tom Hanks movie, FirefoxScreenSnapz280on the way!  Some might find it odd that I would watch a movie about pirates from Somalia hijacking a cargo ship as I’m flying to join a ministry ship!  A great movie, but a reminder that our lives are in God’s hands.  The safety drills on board the Logos Hope reminded me, however, that we should do our best to be careful and not reckless in our service to Him!

Each morning I would get up about 6 AM and take my place as a table in the mess hall to be available to crew members who wanted to talk.  I had some great conversations about the Lord, the Christian life, marriage, CIU’s programs, etc.  I’m slowly learning that my dedication is often tested by the question of what I do with my time.

My challenge to you:  You may know of some young people who would greatly benefit from spending three months serving on the crew of the Logos Hope.  May I challenge you to read over their web page, pray about the young people you know, and recommend that they consider such a three-month commitment?  You might want to consider helping them financially in such an endeavor.  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in dedication

 

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TEN STEPS TO SPIRITUALITY (Step 7)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. Allan McKechnie KeynoteScreenSnapz012and I have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)

The SECOND STEP we notice is:  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL LIFE (v. 7)

The THIRD STEP we see is:  INVEST IN THIS LIFE AND THE NEXT (v. 8)

The FOURTH STEP here in this text is:  REST ON WHAT IS WORTHY OF YOUR TRUST (v. 9)

The FIFTH STEP we see in this passage is simply: WORK HARD IN YOUR LIFE OF FAITH IN THE LORD (v. 10)

The SIXTH STEP Paul gives us here is BOLDLY PROCLAIM THE TRUTH WITH YOUR WORDS AND LIFE (vv. 11-12)

The SEVENTH STEP which helps us to become spiritual is DEVOTE YOURSELF TO THE WORD OF GOD AND THE USE OF YOUR GIFT (vv. 13-14)

We read in verses 13-14 the following:  13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Devotion seems to be a rare commodity these days.  What do we mean when we say someone is “devoted”?  I think that they are determined, committed, single-minded, focused.  Paul admonishes Timothy to give his energies and attention to the TRUTH of the Scriptures, specifically to the public reading, preaching, and teaching of them.

I once served on a committee which judged high school students’ public reading of Scripture.  Their readings were excellent, emphasizing the tone and force of the various Bible passages they were each assigned.  We need to recover a thirst for hearing God’s Word read aloud to us!

Paul also exhorts Timothy to not neglect the spiritual gift which he received when the body of elders laid hands on him.  Spiritual gifts — those abilities to serve God and God’s people — are described in four places in the New Testament:  Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4.  If you are a believer in Christ, do you know what your spiritual gift is?  If so, are you neglecting it?

Questions:

1.  What are some reasons that we don’t get excited about the publicKeynoteScreenSnapz014 reading of the Scriptures?  What can you do practically to overcome that reluctance in your local church?

2.  Do you know what your spiritual gift is — and are you using it?

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in public reading

 

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