Category Archives: Seeking God

A Humble Servant of YHWH and Fellow Man

Reading about Samuel as a prophet, he truly comes across as a humble man. He is not a king with great wealth and power. He is, however, a righteous man, a prophet, a servant of both YHWH and man. He traveled routinely to judge for the people without any evidence of getting rich from it. Let us take a lesson from him and strive to serve both YHWH and man and let us do so by first following YHWH and then letting him show us what we are to do in serving man.

1 Samuel 7:15-17

Samuel’s Ministry

      15Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16He used to go annually on circuit to Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. 17Then his return was to Ramah, for his house was there, and there he judged Israel; and he built there an altar to the LORD.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Seeking Victory Over An Oppressor

Samuel records an important event in the history of the Israelites in chapter 7, one which we can still learn from and apply to our lives today. The Israelites were subject to the wickedness of the Philistines, who did not serve YHWH. By my observation, in some ways this is not very different from our environment today. We may not be pressed upon by another nation in the USA, but we are surely corrupted and pressed upon within our nation by many in power and influence who are against YHWH, even when they claim to follow him. We witness as people claim what is bad to be good and the other way around. They practically worship the environment, but not the one who created it. They worship at the altar of self and convenience and sacrifice their children through abortion and demand that it must be free and unlimited. They demand everyone accept transgender and homosexual disorders rather than help people overcome it or even allow some to express openly a disagreement with it based on YHWH’s word.

How might we get free of this ongoing struggle? Well, we see in 1 Samuel 7 we should seek the LORD, reject idols and other things which we put in priority for our lives ahead of him (e.g. could be money, job, even spouse or kids, church, public opinion).   Come together with prayer and fasting. Admit our sins and ask forgiveness. Change our sinful ways and turn to YHWH’s ways. And yes, we have to rise up and take action when confronted by those who stand against YHWH. In our society that means continuing to teach and evangelize according to the Bible, not public opinion or what many churches teach. We must not let fear of rejection or animosity stop us. We must get involved in local, state and federal government and vote and influence others to vote based on righteousness of YHWH rather than what the news media or social media say.

1 Samuel 7:1-14

Deliverance from the Philistines

      1And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the LORD and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. 2From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

      3Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the LORD alone.

      5Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the LORD for you.” 6They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.

      7Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered to Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the LORD; and Samuel cried to the LORD for Israel and the LORD answered him. 10Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel. 11The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as below Beth-car.

      12Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let There Be No Darkness In Us

John brings a strong message in his opening to 1 John. He does not sugar coat it. God is light. There is no darkness. If we walk in darkness, we are not with him… period… no clarifications or exceptions. If, on the other hand, we walk according to his ways, then we not only have fellowship with him, but with each other.

John drives home a second point as well. Let us not say or pretend we have no sin. We do. But let us thankfully acknowledge that he cleanses us from unrighteousness from that sin. However, this does not happen just because we claim Yeshua and keep on sinning, keep on doing things our own way instead of his. That is walking in darkness. It is important for us to admit our sin and ask forgiveness and turn from it and stop walking in darkness. There is also an indication here that makes the case that we don’t need to continue animal sacrifices for forgiveness of sin as Yeshua’s blood cleanses us of all sin. (However, let us not forget that sin offering was only one of several types of sacrifices laid out in the Torah for YHWH’s people. It is an interesting study to consider the others, but not for today.)

 1 John 1:5-10

God Is Light

      5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Understanding The Law – What Does It Mean Today?

Today’s teaching is longer than most, but it is important. I encourage you to read it all the way through and truly reflect on it in prayer. It may challenge some of what you have accepted. Test it against the scripture. Ask YHWH to lead you.

There is much confusion about what the law means to Christians today. Many teachers of Christianity say that the law (and essentially all the instructions of the Old Testament) no longer apply now that Yeshua has come, died for us, and been resurrected. They proclaim that we are covered in grace and no longer in “bondage” to the law. In order to support this case, people point to passages from Acts and the letters of Paul, but ignore or disregard the Old Testament, the earthly ministry of Yeshua, and many other writings of Paul where he is clearly teaching that we should uphold the law. Further, they must ignore that Paul encourages others to follow his example, which is modeled after the example of Yeshua and includes adherence to the law. It can be confusing for sure and at times Paul seems on the surface to contradict himself.

If we do a quick check, we realize quickly that those teaching against the law are actually inconsistent. They are saying the law is null and void but still teaching that we should follow parts of the law and discard others. Do not murder? Do not covet? Do not have idols? Do not commit adultery? These are all part of the law of YHWH. So, too, is tithing… recognizing the law goes beyond the 10 commandments. We already pick and choose which elements to follow and which we will not. We should take greater care to challenge and understand what scripture says about which we should still be following vs. trusting the traditions of men taught widely in churches without testing against holy scripture.

People were similarly confused in in the early church. So much so that Peter even warned us about it .

[2 Peter 3:15-18]

15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.

17 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.

We should not simply dismiss the seeming contradictions and pick the scripture that feel most comfortable to follow. Instead, each of us should evaluate and seek to understand this complex and foundational issue. But whom should we trust? The Christian majority? Scholars and teachers?  A particular respected or popular teacher? or the word of God in the Bible, which would include the example Yeshua set in His earthly ministry?

The answer, I hope is fairly straightforward… we should trust in the word of God, in Yeshua, rather than the doctrine of men. It is fine to listen to the teachings of scholars and pastors, but we must test everything ourselves against scripture. This can take time and be hard, but that is no excuse just to take someone else’s word for it. That demonstrates a lack of diligence or lack of recognition in the importance of following Yeshua and certainly does not show a love for God and that He is a priority in our lives. (Yes, you should test what I teach as well, comparing it to the scriptures. Do not take my word for it, but rather seek to understand the methodology and truth revealed from studying scripture.)

First, let’s deal with the belief that the majority can not be wrong. If you claim to be Christian, then you already accept that premise to be false. The majority of the world rejects Yeshua as God and savior. Well then… perhaps it is the majority of God’s people, backed by scholars and teachers, that can not be wrong? Again, that would be contradictory to the foundation of Christianity itself. The most respected teachers and scholars of the law, with centuries of tradition on their side, were the Pharisees and Sadducees at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. They persecuted and killed Yeshua, denying that He was God. Thus, as Christians we once again already believe that the religious majority of God’s people along with the  scholars and teachers (complete with centuries of tradition) were wrong. Perhaps then we believe that the Christian majority after the death of Christ can not be wrong? Once again, we can look to the Protestant Reformation as an example of true believers fighting against the wrong teaching and doctrine of the church. We have much to be thankful for that now we have God’s word available for all of us to read plainly in our own language instead of hidden away behind closed doors, written in Latin, and kept from the people. How can we possibly hope to know and follow God’s instruction fully if we are not allowed access to His word except a few minutes a week and that even only told to us through another person based on what they choose to share? In fact, God commanded us to study and know His word and to use it as test to identify false teachers. This is a command we can only do properly if we have access to His word.

[Deuteronomy 13:1-5] 13 [a]“Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before— do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or visionaries who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the Lord your God, who redeemed you from slavery and brought you out of the land of Egypt. Since they try to lead you astray from the way the Lord your God commanded you to live, you must put them to death. In this way you will purge the evil from among you.

No teacher in all the history of God’s people is infallible with the notable exception of Yeshua. Yeshua, in fact, as recorded in the book of John was the very word of God made flesh.

[John 1:1-18] In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created,[aand his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.[b]

God sent a man, John the Baptist,[c] to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became human[d] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.[e] And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.[f] 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God,[g] is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

Yeshua is in fact eternal and is the word of God made flesh to dwell among us. So we should pay special attention to what He teaches about the law, and how he acts with regards to the law. In this we will find truth in regards to the law.  Let us then explore what God’s word says about the law. Is it bondage? Has it changed with the death and resurrection of Yeshua?

In fact, Yeshua is incredibly clear… He specifically warns us not to misunderstand why He came and to obey God’s law (not to ignore them) and teach them to others. He clearly indicates that some of the law has been accomplished or fulfilled in Him, and some has not. It is important for us to study and learn which is which and not just assume everything the mainstream Christian churches teach today is accurate and consistent with the Biblical text or the example of Yeshua.

[Matthew 5:17-19] 17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Yeshua further clarifies the subject of the law by clearly stating it is not bondage but rather God’s instructions on how to love God and love one another.

[Matthew 22:35-40] 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[e] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[f] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on loving God and loving one another. That does not sound like bondage at all! Why would God come as Jesus to die to set us free from the law… from loving God and loving others? This makes no sense. (You can read more about what God’s word says about the law throughout the Old Testament, such as Psalm 119.)

Yeshua went on to instruct his disciples in the great commission to teach others to observe ALL that He commanded them. This includes the teachings of the Old Testament including the law, which Yeshua taught and observed without fail.  Please note that this is after Yeshua died and was risen! Yeshua did not cancel the law, but rather confirmed its importance.

[Matthew 28:19-20]  19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Clearly, we must reconsider the misconception that Yeshua came to “set us free from the law”.

This is confirmed in several other scriptures in Old and New Testament. I have included but a few.

[Deuteronomy 11:26-28] 26 “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! 27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. 28 But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.

[Psalm 19:7-13] The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. 10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. 11 They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.

12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

[1 John 2:3-6] And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

[1John 5:2-3]  We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

[James 1:25] 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Paul encourages those in Corinth to follow His example, which was modeled after Yeshua. Both Yeshua and Paul followed the law. Would it then make sense that Paul teaches to disregard the law? In fact, Paul teaches explicitly the importance of following the law! Keep in mind that when he writes 2 Timothy 3:16-17 there is not yet a New Testament. He must, therefore, be referring to the Old Testament.  Is he contradicting himself with regards to how he teaches about God’s law? A detailed study of context in Paul’s letter is necessary to understand properly what Paul is teaching.

[1 Corinthians 11:1And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

[Romans 3:31] 31 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.

[Romans 7:7] Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”[c]

[Romans 7:12] 12 But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.

[2 Timothy 3:16-17] 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

One of the most referenced scriptures by those who say we are no longer under the Mosaic law is Romans 6:14. However, careful study of context shows that Paul is not referring to Mosaic law, but rather what he refers to as the law of sin and death, as clarified in Romans 8:1-2.

[Romans 6:14] 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

[Romans 8:1-2] Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life [a]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

To study more deeply about what Paul really taught about the law, we encourage you to visit 119Ministries.com and watch their video series on the “Pauline Paradox”.

Yeshua did not come to set us free from the law. The law is perfect. The laws sets us free. The law is God’s instruction on how to love Him and one another. Why would He want to set us free from this?

Yeshua came to set us free from the curse we receive when we fail to live up to God’s law perfectly. All of us fall short of perfectly executing God’s law. Jesus came to take our punishment so that we could be redeemed… be forgiven.

[John 3:16-21] 16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.[h]

So we know that we do not need to follow the law to be saved… to find salvation. Salvation comes through Yeshua alone by grace, through faith and not by works. So Yeshua now holds in our place the judgment and condemnation for our failures to properly follow the law. He has paid the price on our behalf.

To learn more  about why Yeshua came to live among us, died, was buried and rose again… please read our teaching about The Message of The Cross.

So why then should we still follow the law?

We follow the law not to achieve salvation, but because we are saved! We follow the law because God commanded it and because it was His instruction for how to love God and love one another. We follow the law to show God we love Him. The law is not then cancelled or no longer valid, but rather it serves us still as God’s guide and instruction for our lives. We do well to study carefully and ask God’s help to guide us in understanding what elements of the law have been fulfilled in Yeshua’s death and resurrection and which have not. The entire Bible is relevant and applicable to our lives today as we seek to know, love, and serve God.

To learn more:

Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening

Before starting 1 Samuel 4, I find it valuable to step back to 1 Samuel 3:19-21 for context.  It is so easy to skip over this and not stop to reflect on it.

19Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. 20All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. 21And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

In such a small set of verses, the record of Samuel leaps from a child sharing his first message from God with Eli to an established and respected prophet who is known throughout the land. Note the emphasis in his “success” is that the “LORD was with him and let none of his words fail”. It is all about he LORD. It is not about the messenger, though those who submit and obey the LORD make very useful servants.

We should all strive similarly to be his servants and be surrendered to his will that he would fill us and use us for his purposes. For Samuel, and for us as well, it all starts with an attitude like he expressed in 1Samuel 3:10… “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Hearing From Jesus Ministry

Hearing From Jesus

At Hearing From Jesus our vision is to support a global community of Christian believers who genuinely want to hear from God and change their lives to serve Him. By changing our lives to submit to Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) as Lord and obey God’s (YHWH) instruction we will experience the true joy that God intends for us and our lives will shine like a light to Christians and non-Christians, drawing them closer to Jesus as well.

God has extended a wonderful offer for salvation and forgiveness from our mistakes through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is best summarized in John 3:16-21. To study in more detail, please review our teaching, The Message of the Cross.

John 3:16-21

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.[h]

Our ministry has a variety of resources and tools to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus  Christ.

  1. We invite you to study the Bible with us daily through our devotions via email, Facebook, or on our website Latest Devotions page.
  2. Search our archives for devotionals by category on our website to help you apply scripture to specific areas in your life.
  3. Bring your prayer requests to our global Christian community for support or come to pray for others.
  4. Join us to study God’s word in greater depth. We provide links and references to helpful material.
  5. Link up with other established ministries that are truly honoring and serving God. Some are broad ministries covering the full application of gospel in our lives and some dive down into greater detail in specific areas important to us as Christians.
  6. Connect with godly resources that can help you deal with real life issues like abortion, marriage, parenting, finances and even just quality Christian entertainment (e.g. movies, apps, etc.). Our Kids Zone has many great resources for young kids.
  7. We also offer private consultation by submitting a request on our Contact Us page. What you share will not be posted on the website.  Information goes to a private email account and we will respond privately to the email address you provide.

If you want to learn more about what we believe, please visit the About Us page.  Of course, you can also learn more about what we believe by studying the Bible with us through our devotions. As no ministry or teacher is without error, we encourage you to help point out if there are areas you think we are in error at our Contact Us page. We will seek God together!

Thank you for visiting our community of those who wish to follow Jesus. Please pray for our ministry and volunteers as well!

May the grace and peace of our lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Recognizing The LORD’s Voice When He Speaks To Us

There are times when we as followers of YHWH may hear from the LORD, but it is easy to rationalize or expect that it is not the LORD calling. Samuel experienced this early in his walk with the LORD. Thankfully, Eli was able to help coach him on how to listen to the LORD. Samuel was also concerned about sharing what he heard from the LORD, and Eli helped with this also. Clearly Eli had some faults in his walk with the LORD, as we have read from the preceding chapters of 1 Samuel. However, the LORD was still able to use him to help prepare a young man to become a great prophet. Samuel was able to learn from his elder even though his elder was far from perfect, in fact had some glaring flaws.

The LORD will not speak to all of us in the same way he spoke to Samuel. However, when we feel like he is speaking to us, whether in audible voice or through the written word or through other people, let us be still and come humbly before him with an attitude to listen and invite him to speak to us more clearly. Let us ask him to help us understand his direction and his heart for whatever matter lies before us.

Notice that Samuel’s prayer was not complicated, but quite simple. It was simple and very genuine. He did not need an elaborate prayer to engage the LORD.

1 Samuel 3

The Prophetic Call to Samuel

      1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.

      2It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, 4that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. 8So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. 9And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

      10Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11The LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12“In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13“For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. 14“Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

      15So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.” 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him.”

      19Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. 20All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. 21And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

Rejoice and Be Thankful As You Praise the LORD

In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah was barren and came before the LORD asking for a son. She said she would dedicate him to the LORD’s service if he gave her one. The LORD delivered and Hannah kept her promise. What is striking about this historical account is that she did not, once she had her son, flip on her commitment to YHWH and suddenly start complaining about wanting to keep her son. She was overjoyed and thankful to the LORD. She truly had faith to feel that good handing her long-awaited son over to Eli the priest to raise him in the service of the LORD.

1 Samuel 2:1-11

Hannah’s Song of Thanksgiving

      1Then Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
My horn is exalted in the LORD,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

      2“There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

      3“Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.

      4“The bows of the mighty are shattered,
But the feeble gird on strength.

      5“Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,
But those who were hungry cease to hunger.
Even the barren gives birth to seven,
But she who has many children languishes.

      6“The LORD kills and makes alive;
He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

      7“The LORD makes poor and rich;
He brings low, He also exalts.

      8“He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S,
And He set the world on them.

      9“He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.

      10“Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”

      11Then Elkanah went to his home at Ramah. But the boy ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest.

For those of us who have trouble with Hannah giving away her son, remember that YHWH did not ask her to do so. She made that promise of her own volition. We should take care in any promises we make to YHWH. Scripture is clear, however, once we make a promise to the LORD, we should keep it. If for some reason you make a promise that is too hard to keep, then I suppose you humbly go before the LORD and ask forgiveness in not fulfilling or strength to fulfill it. In either case, it is better not to promise him something at all rather than promise and not fulfill.

Keep in mind that in Hannah’s view, the child would not exist without YHWH’s intervention to open her womb. She therefore was expressing her thankfulness to the LORD by dedicating her son to his service.  It was an act of strong faith.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Our Light Shine For Christ

Many in our society try to compartmentalize their faith. Satan has convinced people that it is ok to keep your faith not only private, but invisible. In this way our faith will not hinder our careers or other pursuits where people may persecute or harass us for our faith. This is in direct contradiction to Christ calling us to be a light to others to shine and draw them to Him. We must not keep our faith invisible or entirely private.

Matthew 5:14-16

    14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

For the most part, in the US, we don’t see the levels of life threatening persecution that are common in some majority Muslim countries in the Middle East or in atheist countries like China. Our brothers and sisters in Christ certainly need our prayers. They face true difficulty for their faith. They stand strong. If someone claims to be Christian there, you know they mean it. There are few lukewarm Christians there, because it is not worth the cost unless you really believe.

However, even here in the US we face some level of cultural backlash against openly living out our faith in business. There are law suits or rebukes that we may offend someone. We each must decide what we are willing to do for Christ. What are we willing to risk to honor and obey Him? It is better to decide ahead of time, before the persecution comes to avoid rationalizing why we can accept a little more private faith… really an invisible faith… because we want to protect our “success” or comfort.

Daniel stands as an excellent example. He was successful at his job. He was liked by the king. He not only stood to lose these things, but also he knew he faced the lion’s den. He prayed anyway. He could have closed his window perhaps or blocked it. He could have prayed when he knew no one would be around. He refused to change his prayer behavior because of outside pressure. He did not let “it’s illegal” become an excuse to stop praying to God or to hiding his relationship with God. Daniel was a man of great faith, whom I admire.

How many of us avoid praying or have almost no prayer time even with no persecution? How many of us just allow ourselves to get “too busy” for prayer? We let the daily concerns and activities of the world choke out our prayer life with YHWH.

I hope and pray I would do like Daniel, while admittedly hoping I never have to face a situation like that one. I have, however, made conscious choices to not hide my faith at work, even if that would be more easily accepted. I am increasing my prayer time and asking YHWH to help me truly enjoy and look forward to prayer time. I pray YHWH gives me courage and boldness to live for Him and I encourage you to do the same.

I invite you to pray with me for yourselves, your family, and your brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe that they would be bold for Christ and let their light shine, even if it results in persecution.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Intriguing Beginning of a Great Prophet

1 Samuel 1 records events in a family life, some which we can easily relate to and some which seem very hard to get our minds around given how different our culture and time is to that recorded in the scriptures. We see once again how badly it goes for a man to have more than one wife. There is rivalry and it is not fruitful, but rather hurtful. We see favoritism from the husband, which is also not helpful.
Perhaps what is interesting is that we know the LORD closed Hannah’s womb, but we don’t know why. We can speculate that perhaps it was his intent all the while to prepare Hannah to give her son to him, but that is speculation. The scripture does not tell us. Most of us probably think that was harsh or “unfair”. We must trust our LORD and Father, even when things go the way we don’t understand.
Hannah offers a son to the LORD and he then opens her womb. She is honorable and true to her vow to the LORD. Most of us probably have a hard time with her “giving her child away”. However, the LORD used Samuel as a great prophet, honoring her dedicating her son to him.
Let us learn to trust our Father and come to him with our supplications and with thanksgiving. Let us be careful in making vows to him, but when we do, let us fulfill them.
Elkanah and His Wives
      1Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

      3Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the LORD there. 4When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters; 5but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. 6Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. 7It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat. 8Then 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 better to you than ten sons?”

      9Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. 10She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11She made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”

      12Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.” 15But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16“Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.” 17Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” 18She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

Samuel Is Born to Hannah

      19Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the LORD.”

      21Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow. 22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD and stay there forever.” 23Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you. Remain until you have weaned him; only may the LORD confirm His word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young. 25Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli. 26She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD. 27“For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28“So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.