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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hannah: Faith and Prayer

September 13

(1 Samuel 1:1-18 NIV)  "There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. {2} He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. {3} Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. {4} Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. {5} But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. {6} And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. {7} This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. {8} Elkanah her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" {9} Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple. {10} In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. {11} And she made a vow, saying, "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." {12} As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. {13} Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk {14} and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine." {15} "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. {16} Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." {17} Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." {18} She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast."

People of great faith sometimes endure great trials. That is often what makes them into people of great faith. The fires of tribulation can be a forge that forms a faith as strong as steel. We must understand that Jesus makes life better, but He won’t always make it easier. He told us the road was narrow. He told us people would hate us and that our possessions would be at risk. He promised us that in this world we would have trouble. He warned us that we would be persecuted, even killed for believing Him. The “blessed with riches” Christianity that is so prominent today is a 20th century American invention. The truth is, the more seriously we take our faith, the larger our challenges will probably be. Believing God in the face of negative circumstances is the growth stimulant for both saving faith and sustaining faith. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

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