Sunday, January 3, 2016

1 Samuel 1 - All on the Altar

Have you ever longed for something year after year and not seen it come to you?  Have you ever so committed your petitions to God that you would offer even that one thing you have been longing for?  That's exactly where we meet Hannah in this chapter. She had been burdened by childlessness (a shameful condition) and aggravated by her husband's other wife. Day after day her condition was thrown in her face in a heartless act of confrontation. What misery!  Yet Hannah turns to the Lord for her hope. Consider what she lays on the altar:

Her Burden:  she brings before the Lord her desire for a child of her own. A son that would show her life was not utterly cursed. 

Her Misery:  the conflict between the two wife's had added to the misery of her condition. Yet she brings her misery to the Lord asking Him to look kindly upon her. 

Her Reputation:  Hannah risks her reputation by praying silently before the Lord leaving the priest to wonder if she were drunk. It didn't matter what others thought of her; she was passionate in her pleas to God. 

Her Child: if God would grant her a child she would dedicate him to the Lord's service all the days of his life. She would not be there for so many of the firsts in his life. She would not have the pleasure of raising him. She would give even her greatest desire to the Lord. 

When we are faced with conflict and despair, we are told to bring them to the Lord and leave them there. I confess O have not always left my burden in the Lord's hand. There have been times O have brought it to the altar and then picked it up again as I left. We can follow Hannah's example and completely trust God with our most intimate requests knowing that He hears our prayers. The name Samuel in fact means "heard of God". 

Hannah is also a reminder of the all that was placed on the altar for our salvation. "God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son". We are God's desire. As we place our faith in Him, we like Samuel become consecrated to the Lord all the days of our life. In serving we learn more of God's character and grow in His likeness. We show our love in return by living for God's pleasure (and He gives us great joy on return). 

If you all has not been placed on the altar, take a moment today to share your longings and your burdens with Him. He loves you so much and hears our prayers as we place our trust in Him. 

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ruth 4 - A Real Man

With the decline of the family and strong marriages, many women long to find a real man; a man who will care for them and provide for their current and future security. We all long to be thoroughly loved and provided for. That complete love is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, our kinsman-redeemer. Boaz in this chapter redeems Ruth and lifts her out of poverty, gives her the love she desires and together Boaz and Ruth have a son who would be a forefather of Jesus     .  

Boaz loved Ruth and wanted to redeem her, but there was a closer relative (unnamed) who had first rights. Boaz publicly offers the rights to the land to him, but when it is revealed that Ruth the Moabitess would be part of the package and that he would be expected to father a child to Ruth so that her husbands name would not be eliminated altogether the offer was less attractive and hence refused. Boaz then gets exactly what he wanted, to redeem the land and to marry Ruth. 

Boaz was a man of honor. He didn't take the rights from the nearer relative. He honored his responsibility to care for the family and to provide for them. I am sure that he also made an incredible father to the boy in his older years. A man who honors his wife and provides for her financially and emotionally is the full package. A real man that any girl would be blessed to find. 

It is important that as we women seek our mates for life that we look for a man with great character and continue to encourage him to take on the role of leadership of true home all the days of his life. 

It is also important to note that Boaz is a shining example of what Jesus has done for us in redeeming is from our own pit of sin and despair to offer us new hope and a promise of eternal security with Him. No mere man can offer this to us, it is only found in relationship with Jesus. You can have that live in your life if you will only trust Him. Don't miss out; do it today. 

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him.