Saturday, August 18, 2007

God's Generosity


Valley - Israel, Hills of Galilee, Sea of Galilee
Valley - Israel, Hills of Galilee, Sea of Galilee


I wanted to share a little something from the scriptures that never fails to touch my heart whenever I'm reading through 1 Samuel. It's just one little word in chapter 7, but to understand it's significance you must know the background.

The story of Samuel begins with his mother Hannah. Unable to conceive and mocked by her husband's other wife, she was desperate to have a baby. During one of their yearly journeys to Shiloh to offer sacrifices and worship the Lord, Hannah went off for a private time of weeping and crying out to the Lord.

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a male child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. (1 Samuel 1:10-11)

The High Priest Eli, after ascertaining that Hannah was not drunk (his initial reaction to her behavior), blessed her and said,"...go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thee they petition that thou hast asked of Him." (1 Samuel 1:17)

And they (Elkanah, Hannah, his other wife Peninnah and her children) rose up in the morning early, and worshiped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house at Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah, his wife, and the Lord remembered her. (1 Samual 1:19)

The Lord, who had shut Hannah's womb (1:5) now opened it and brought about conception (1:19).

When the child was weaned (probably at least 3 in that time and culture), Hannah took Samuel on the trip to Shiloh and left him there with Eli. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there. (1 Samuel 1:27-28) And Hannah rejoiced! (1 Samuel 2:1-11)

I will step away from the initial direction of my post to make a confession. About ten years ago I was reading this story to my eldest son, and I was so convicted. Could I bow before my Lord and joyfully give Him my children? I spent much time on my knees over the next week as I wrestled with the issue of giving my children over to the Lord. I was afraid if I said they were His and He could do as He pleased that He would take them from me.

In my head, I knew all the Biblical answers, but in my heart, I feared. It was a trust issue. In the end, I was finally able to let go, knowing that God loves my children more than I ever could and knowing that He loves me more than I'll ever understand. Almost one year later our son Benjamin Samuel was stillborn. In His compassion, God had been preparing my heart for that journey.

And I will admit further that this giving away of my children unto the Lord is something that I have to revisit periodically. I have to search my soul and deepest heart to make sure that I'm not clinging to something I ought not to. Such are the beginnings of idolatry, and I want nothing ~ especially not a blessing from God ~ to come between my Lord and me. There are times when I realize that I need to let go again and confess to the Lord that I have not trusted Him enough.

Well, that went down a road I didn't expect ~ :o), but here is the sweet part. Oh, the tenderness of God!! Look at what He does.

And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpah, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house, and there he judged Israel, and there he built an altar unto the Lord. (1 Samuel 7:15-17)

See that one word, Ramah? When Samuel grew to be a man and built his house, he did it in Ramah. Ramah was the town his parents lived in. (see 1 Samuel 1:19 posted above). Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord, and the Lord gave him back to her! Is He not an awesome God? We can never out give the Lord!

I feel like I cannot end this post without pointing out 1 Samuel 2:21. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bore three sons and two daughters. . . God is a tender, compassionate and generous God!



14 comments:

Tammy said...

Jodi, I never realized that Samuel went back to his "home town" to serve the Lord. Thank you for posting this!

Maxine said...

Oh, Jodi! I never, ever noticed that about Samuel! That is so exciting for me and i've seen it happen in the lives of people I know--it's a theme very special to me. Thanks so much for writing about this.
Btw, I know you have been praying for our friend, Beka. Hannah has been an inspiration for her all through her trials of the past couple of years, so I thought of her also while reading this.
Have a blessed Lord's Day tomorrow.

deb said...

Jodi ~ how very interesting. I wish I could cling to that verse and believe that my son (the medical student) would end up close to us instead of far away for his residency and life's work. As much as I would love it, that may not be the best or the Father's will. But, oh, I love the sound of family in the same hometown! Thank you so much for sharing this scripture and post.

Julie's Jewels said...

This blessed my heart. Thank you for sharing what God shared with you.

Just Joni said...

You have a lovely blog and I want to thank you for sharing Samuel's story.

Cathy said...

That's another wonderful post from you, Jodi. I have something for you at my blog.

Mimi said...

Jodi, I love the story of Hannah and only hope that I can be like her in my faithfulness to God and willingness to know that God will protect my children...
when our children become adults it is very hard to see them suffer in any way and know that we cannot protect them from sorrow or heartache and we just have to trust God to take care of their needs

Jodi said...

Tammy ~ I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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((Maxine)) ~ Hannah has always meant a lot to me. Praying for Beka and Mark.

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Oh, Deb, wouldn't it be lovely if that was a promise of the Lord? :o) But I know He orchestrates lives far better than we can. Out of almost 22 years of marriage, JR and I have only lived close to my parents for 7 of those years (2 of those in the same town and 5 in a town one hour away). Of course, the closer Brian edges toward adulthood, the more this topic is on my mind.

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Sis. Julie ~ I'm so glad the Lord used this post to bless you.

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Joni ~ I'm so glad you visited and enjoyed this post.

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((Cathy)) ~ Thank you for your sweetness!

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((Momma)) ~ I know it hasn't always been easy. When the Lord allows your children to go through trials, it hurts to watch. Please always know that yours and Daddy's love and prayers have been a source of strength and comfort during the difficulties that come along and during the times of great blessing. We love you!

Rean Day said...

Jodi,
What a blessing to read this blog entry this morning. Hannah is very near and dear to me as DH and I look to God for guidence in our family building. Thank you so very much. You can't possibly know how very much this meant to me this morning. God's timing is absolute perfection.

With deep gratitude,
Rean Day

Jodi said...

Dearest ((Rean)) ~ I'll be praying for you and your husband as you navigate this path.

Mrs.B said...

Jodi,

When you first posted this I didn't have the adequate amount of time to read it.--I mean your devotionals are always so wonderful and I like to savor them.--So I checked the 'keep new' box in my Bloglines, and all I can say is WOW!! I sure am glad I did. Like Tammy, I had never noticed that about Samuel's home town.

God is so WONDERFUL to His children, isn't He?! (o:

Blessings my friend!
~Mrs.B

Mrs. U said...

This is WONDERFUL!!! I have never noticed the name of the town that he returned to!! Well, I noticed it, but didn't put two and two together!! I LOVE when the Lord points out something in Scripture to you that you had overlooked before. Thank you for sharing this!!

His,
Mrs. U

Beka said...

((Jodi))--
All I can say is thank you so much for this post. There is so much richness here, my heart can't take it all in at once. I will be printing this out and reading it over, many times.
Thank you.

Jodi said...

Mrs. B ~ I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I hold things to read over in my Bloglines all the time. :o) Some posts just require more thought to absorb.

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I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Mrs. U.

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((Beka)) ~ My dear friend, please know that you and your husband are on my heart and in my prayers.