CTT | Adopted as Sons and Daughters…

CTTWith the latest under cover video by the Center for Medical Progress, it remains clear that the world is desperately wicked beyond comprehension. That the world defies God and His creation and callously destroys the innocent to satisfy their own lusts. The world stands condemned under the Law… doomed… judged. When Christ returns, He will come in Power, in Might, and in Judgement. While the methods and means of depravity are new, the wickedness of man and the bondage of creation under sin and darkness is not new. While we urge our politicians and doctors to stop the murderous holocaust of unborn babies in this country, and pray for the Grace of God to put leaders in place to remove the government protection of this practice, we know that the only answer to sin, death, wickedness, judgement and eternal punishment is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Preaching the Gospel to the Lost

We are called to preach the Gospel to the lost. There are groups who preach to the homeless, to the migrants, and outside Abortion clinics. I’d like to see more groups doing it. Sadly, we see a growing sense of militancy in some of these programs that lost sight of the Gospel of Grace and Forgiveness. I’d like to see fewer of these. In our American culture, we’ve lost sight of the individual charge to preach the Gospel. We’ve allowed it to become the sole purpose of the weekly service in Church, where (again, as a culture) we’ve jettisoned the real purpose of the gathering of the Saints for “churching the unchurched” or “making unbelievers feel welcome” or “entertaining goats”. The visible church is in need of a reformation once more… away from post-modern nonsense of this current age, away from the CEO model of church leadership, away from treating the Gospel as a product to be sold in bookstores or memberships in the social club labeled the church. The weekly gathering of the saints is for the building up of the believers, equipping them for every good work, including the work of evangelism.

While street-preaching in general has been stigmatized by the anti-christs of Westboro Baptist, and counter-abortion demonstrations have been conducted under the banner of “social activism”, there is another area of ministry that bears an ugly stigma that doesn’t get as much attention these days, so I wanted to spend some time addressing it… the ministry of Adoption Services. There are a few adoption services out there, and the one that my wife and I support and volunteer for locally reaches out to birth mothers with the primary goal of preaching the Gospel to them. Yes, we want to save the baby they are unwilling or believe they are unable to keep, but we also know that lasting change for that woman can only come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Adoption is a Gospel Theme

Evangelism isn’t about getting people to agree with you about God or to join your club or even to avoid going into certain buildings on a certain day. Evangelism is about preaching Law and Gospel so that the Holy Spirit can do the work of regeneration on dead hearts, bringing them out of darkness so that they might become adopted sons and daughters of the Living God, through faith in Jesus Christ. We are adopted into Heaven, by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Let’s begin reading in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 1 (ESV)

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

I struggled to understand the negative stigma associated with adoption, until I realized the biggest appeal of abortion was that it was being presented as a false gospel, a way of erasing sin so that ‘life could go on free from consequences’. Such a demonic false gospel. The truth is that the mankind, including the unborn, bear the image of God. We also bear the sin of Adam in our flesh. Because of Adam’s sin, we are all born spiritually dead… out-of-wedlock, so to speak, without hope, destined for destruction. A point Paul makes very clearly at the start of the next chapter.

Ephesians 2 (ESV)

By Grace Through Faith

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

One in Christ

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Amen. The message of the Gospel is that by the Blood of Jesus Christ, we have been adopted into the household of God, as sons and daughters of the Most High God in Christ Jesus. When it comes to countering the murderous sin of abortion, let us not quickly forget, that Christ died so that these birth mothers might be born-again and adopted into the Kingdom of Heaven, along with their unborn baby.

Our hearts break when a birthmother gives up on her baby and is led astray by the false-gospel of abortion. But we rejoice when a child is saved from destruction, and delivered into the world. Sometimes birth-mothers just need the loving support through the tough road of a pregnancy that was unplanned and even unwanted to see God’s redemption at work in it. Some of these birth mothers keep their babies, determined to love them and care for them. Some give their babies up for adoption into Christian families… and still some find themselves being adopted into the household of Faith, along with their babies. Such is the Church, the Body of Christ. We who are of the household of faith are brothers and sisters, heirs and joint heirs with Christ into the Promise of Heaven and into the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The body of Christ doesn’t grow by the will of man; rather, it grows by the Grace of God. Evangelism is an adoption ministry. The enemy knows this, and this is why he works so hard to stigmatize adoption in the natural. In closing, I’d like to share a few testimonial videos from the local adoption agency we support.

Covenant Care Adoption Services

A Conversation with Birthmothers

 

Adoption Testimonies: Lauren, Matt & Jamie

For more information on this ministry, visit: http://www.covenantcareadoptions.com/

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) | Prayer for Spiritual Strength

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

 

Friday Sermon | Alistair Begg – Friendship Matters (2 Timothy 4:11-13)

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Today, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg.

Sermon link: Friendship Matters

The Apostle Paul faced his approaching death with confidence in God, but also with real vulnerability. In this message from the concluding verses of 2 Timothy, Alistair Begg directs our attention to the important roles that Luke, Mark, and Tychicus played in the life and ministry of Paul. By their loyalty and usefulness, these men illustrate the practical value of faithful ministry to Christ and the providence of God in ordering even missteps and failures for His glory.

Sermon Text

2 Timothy 4:11-13 (ESV)

11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.

John called Mark

Now, for a little background (some of which Alistair Begg will provide), let’s take a walk through Acts, noting where John called Mark interacted with the Apostle Paul. In chapter 12 of Acts, James killed and Peter imprisoned. God sends and Angel to free Peter from the inner jail, though Peter initially thinks it is a vision or a dream. Let’s pick up with the story in verse 11:

Acts 12:11-25 (ESV)

11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and tothe brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

The Death of Herod

20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain,they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

So we see here introduced this John whose other name was Mark in the heart of what is going on among the brethren in Jerusalem. He is witness to the miracle of Peter’s release and probably to a great deal more. The Word of God increased and multiplied. Upon leaving Jerusalem, Saul and Barnabas brought along John-Mark as they returned to Antioch.

Acts 13:1-14 (ESV) | Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia

13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.

The Holy Spirit sends Paul and Barnabas out on a missionary journey, and John-Mark goes with them to assist. We aren’t given much detail on the matter, but for whatever reason, John-Mark leaves the mission at Perga in Pamphylia to return home to Jerusalem. There could have been some majorly compelling reasons for why John-Mark chose to return to Jerusalem, or it could simply have been fear or immaturity. Whatever it was, the Holy Spirit did not include it in Scripture. Suffice it to say that it left a mark on Paul. Paul and Barnabas travel throughout the region preaching the Word of Christ. Meanwhile, the council of Jerusalem regarding the matter of Gentile Believers and the Mosaic Covenant convened. Paul and Barnabas returned to Jerusalem to testify of the Holy Spirit’s work among the Gentiles, and the council came to an agreement and drafted a letter to be sent out to those outside of Jerusalem. We pick up in Acts 15:22.

Acts 15:22-41 (ESV) | The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia,greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Barnabas chose to mentor John-Mark while Paul chose another to travel with him to do the work of the ministry. Too often, this becomes a matter of friendships being broken or family discord, but this was about the work of the ministry. Paul sought to encourage and strengthen the planted churches and John-Mark was not up for the task. Barnabas, on the other hand, felt led to pour into John-Mark’s life, to nurture him, to equip him for the ministry. Luke goes on to follow Paul’s ministry rather than that of Barnabas, but in Paul’s letter to Timothy, we see that John-Mark becomes a particularly useful brother in the faith. Despite all that has taken place, most of it not recorded, when Paul was at the end of his race, he wanted the company of friends… of whom John-Mark was mentioned by name.

May God bless you and keep you,
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Local Missions | Adoption Ministry Project Video

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The Adoption Ministry Project (AMP) for Covenant Care Services here in Augusta Georgia was a wonderful time with volunteers, adopted families, and fellowship with the body of Christ. We praise God for His gift of absolutely perfect weather. I can think of no better way to spend a Saturday. It was an all-day event (8am to 5pm) for the two homes. There were five churches represented in the volunteer force (from different Christian denominations), some we hadn’t met until the day of the event. God is so good. One of the volunteer families, put together a video of the event so that we could all see how it went at the other site and also to encourage those who couldn’t attend to consider donating to Covenant Care Services of Augusta.

[youtube  https://youtu.be/GHsHdlrSFNo]

www.adoptagusta.com

Galatians 6:9-10 (ESV)

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Local Missions | Adoption Ministry Project

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Our week here in Augusta wound up far more busy than anticipated. Our Adoption Ministry Project (AMP) for Covenant Care Services here in Augusta Georgia is this weekend. We have volunteers coming in from all over to minister to 2 adoptive families with hearts of gold for the Gospel. In addition to this outreach opportunity, I’ve been taking some extra training for my day job which involves a great deal of after-hours homework. Therefore, we’ll be postponing today’s Gospel Wednesday study in Matthew 10 for next week, when I have more time to dedicate to the Bible study. I don’t currently have anything ready for tomorrow, but I do plan on sharing a good sermon for Friday. I pray you continue in your studies of the Word this week. In the meantime, please check out the banner below for information on our local ministry project to love on two wonderful families as we try to raise funds for Covenant Care Services in the Augusta Area. The money that is raised beyond what it takes to provide the home improvements for these 2 lovely families will go to support the Augusta Area’s Birthmother Case Worker, Sarah.

Augusta Area Adoption Ministry Project | May 2, 2015

Galatians 6:9-10 (ESV)

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Discipleship: Calling, Apprenticeship, & Ministry IV

Apprentice

Repro. of painting by Emile Adan, copyrighted by Braun & Co., N.Y.

Okay, so where has this week gone? I didn’t want the week to go without taking a look at a key figure in the Bible, his calling, apprenticeship, and ministry.  Today I want to return to the Old Testament, because I’d like to start looking at David. However, in order to get there, I felt it necessary to start with Samuel the Prophet of God.

Samuel

We’ve seen how God called, trained and sent out Gideon in the time of the Judges of Israel. In moving toward the time of the kings of Israel I’m excited about getting to the Throne of David, on whose throne Jesus is promised to reign forever (Gospel!). But I don’t want to skip straight there, because a key figure throughout this time period is Samuel. Now Samuel was called by God before birth, and his calling from God comes as an answer to prayer. So today’s story will be the first we look at that might be misconstrued a bit by some as prescription for obtaining the call of God on your life. Let us start by reading the setup directly from the Bible.

1 Samuel 1 (ESV)
1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. 2 He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. 4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

9 After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.

12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 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.

Praise the Lord, for He is worthy to be praised. We serve a God who hears the prayers of our hearts, sees our distress, and answers our prayers. Now, I would like to caution you, to be very cautious in your vows. Making a vow to God is no small thing, and should not be engaged flippantly. While I do intend to present this story as an example of the Greatness, Love, Mercy, and Kindness of the Living God we serve, I’m not saying we should copy all of her steps; rather, that we pay attention to God’s response. She takes a dangerous road here in vowing a vow to God, but she remains faithful to her vow, so it works out here. Why the cautionary statement? Lets look at the strong warning in Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 (ESV) 1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. 4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.

Aside from the vow, let’s look at what the Scriptures tell us about Hannah. She has endured a great amount of ridicule from the Peninnah, the other wife of Elkanah, their husband. Because she had no children, and was barren (the Lord closed up her womb). Her husband, is aware of her sadness and predicament, and it manifests itself in their worship (observing of the sacrifices/offerings). He tries to encourage her by saying, “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” Well, Elkanah cannot do anything more for her, and cannot provide children. So she takes her supplication to the Lord God. She prayed and wept bitterly. As she termed it, she poured out her soul to the Lord, that He would grant her a son. In asking the Lord for a son, she commits the gift of God (a son) back to God for the rest of his life. The comments she makes to Eli about not having had any wine or strong drink, and to the Lord God about no razor touching his head leads me to think she was committing him to a life-long Nazarite Vow similar to that of the calling of Samson (Judges 13). I don’t think Hannah is expecting to give birth to the next judge over Israel, she is dedicating a gift of thanksgiving to God in keeping with what is already in Scripture. She is asking that God would show mercy on her, and bless her with a son, and in return (thanksgiving) she will give back to the Lord what He has given her. What starts this blessing? What reaches the Lord’s heart? Her faith. She walks away from the Temple that day, assured that the Lord had heard her prayer, and that He will provide, “Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad“.

Hebrews 11:1-2 (ESV) 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.

If we are to emulate the people of old who received their commendation… we need to look to their faith, and the object of their faith, the Lord God of Israel. God gives her a son, and she is quick to complete her vow (please… don’t start making vows, especially vows you are not able to keep. Do not give the devil an opportunity to enslave you by the words of your own mouths). Make your requests known to God, and pray as Jesus taught us to pray (Matt 6; Luke 11)… and put your faith in Him. Will all of your prayers come true? No. God’s Sovereignty remains fully intact. We do not dictate to God anything. We make our requests known to Him through prayer, and we have the right by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But God’s Will supersedes ours. Not every woman who prayed for a son received one. The Old Testament has a purpose, and that purpose is in the Promise of the Messiah. Let us continue with Samuel.

1 Samuel 1:21-28 (ESV) 21 The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

Good, she was faithful to her vow to God, and now Eli (who has 2 sons already serving as priests) has an apprentice. She has been dedicated to the House of the Lord, but is this his calling? Before we get to that, let us look at Hannah’s prayer of Thanksgiving and Prayer… because it’s awesome…

1 Samuel 2 (ESV) | Hannah’s Prayer

1 And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
2 “There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.

Here we have an apprenticeship beginning with only a partial calling. Hannah’s vow to the Lord committed Samuel to the service of the Lord as a Nazarite. God would soon Call on Samuel. Notice here that Eli isn’t exactly the most qualified (by human standards) to be Samuel’s mentor as evidenced by the next verse, “12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.” Not good. Nevertheless, we see in v26, Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.

Now, 1 Samuel 3 starts off with an interesting statement, “1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.” The Lord was about to change all of that, and He was about to make His Will known to Israel. Now, let’s look at what the Word of the Lord is to Samuel, when He finally Calls Samuel

1 Samuel 3:10-18 (ESV) 10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.” 15 Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.”

Woah… that’s rough. So here, we have the Word of the Lord coming to Samuel, at the end of his apprenticeship and his first task is to speak God’s judgement on the house of Eli. In obeying the Word of the Lord, the calling on Samuel’s life propels him into ministry as the Prophet of the Lord.

1 Samuel 3:19-20 (ESV) 19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord.

Amen. We haven’t seen the last of Samuel. As I said at the beginning, we will see God use Samuel in mighty ways. But as we move through the first kings of Israel, I hope you remember that Samuel was a gift given to a woman, who placed her faith in God, and out of her blessing (from God) she returned to Him what she had promised. And she praised God and gave thanks to God. There is nothing here for Hannah, nor for Samuel to boast in, except the Grace and Mercy of a God who hears our prayers and commends faith (Hebrews 11) in His Word and in His Promise.

I pray you have a wonderful weekend, and may the Lord bless and keep you always,
In Him,
Jorge