March 27, 2016

1 Samuel 1:27-28 “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he shall be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah is a magnificent example of faith. However, today she would be imprisoned for child abandonment! Hannah knew that the Lord was totally reliable, but today many act as though He didn’t exist, whatever they say with their mouths. She is an extreme example of integrity, because she followed through with the promise she had made to the Lord, since He had followed through in meeting her need. That is clear evidence that He was very real to her, whatever her “theology” might have been. Today, in addition to those who honor God only with their mouths (Isaiah 29:13) we have some who are very earnest in their Christianity, but they are more concerned with whether people dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s than with practical, rubber-meets-the-road faith. We need to remember that people back then had very little of the Bible to go on, if they were even literate, so their experience of God was very personal and practical. Biblical knowledge is valuable indeed, (2 Timothy 3:16) but even memorizing the Bible is no substitute for living out the faith you have. (James 1:22) Hannah trusted God and acted on that, and the result was one of the pivotal figures in world history, the prophet who anointed Israel’s first two kings. God honors faith.

With my high level of familiarity with Scripture I tend to be surprised at Christians who don’t know the Bible very well. That has a real influence on my preaching, because I tend to assume too much background for people to be able to understand what I am saying. I need to be looking for Hannahs, people who will act on the faith they have, however little, or much, theological underpinning they might have for it. I need to be willing to teach from zero, so to speak, and not demand that people start from a certain level. I don’t make that demand intentionally, but it happens all too often in practical terms. I would love to have a church full of Hannahs, but I don’t know that I’d be the best pastor for them! I need to let the Lord continue to grow me as His agent to all whom I meet, dealing with them where they are and as they are so that they may be brought closer to Him in genuine growth toward spiritual maturity, for their blessing and His glory.

Father, thank You for this Word this morning. It was quite painful recently when someone I love said he wouldn’t be attending here any more because I don’t feed him spiritually. I feel sure there are are other factors, and I ask for clear guidance as to how I am to relate to him going forward. May all those under my care be nurtured as they need it and not dumped by the wayside, so that all may grow together to be the mature children that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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