"Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared" - Psalm 76:1 (NIV).
There was once a woman called Hannah who had a wish that was long in coming. She wished for a child but then she struggled (1 Samuel 1). After travailing in prayer her desire came true. "So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him" (1 Samuel 1:20).
Then something quite unexpected happened. Long before she concieved Hannah had made a vow, praying: "Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head" (vv 11).
So after the birth of Samuel; "When her husband Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the Lord and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always" (1 Samuel 1:21-22). Her husband did not object. "Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the Lord make good his word" (vv 23).
Two things of note here. Hannah made a promise to the Lord which she kept. Everyone one knows it is one thing to make a promise before you receive the treasure. If this was a test Hannah gladly passed. For soon after Samuel was born she did not waiver. She did not look for excuses.
Through Hannah's life we are inspired to persevere in prayer as she did. And if it means making a promise, may the Lord help us, fulfil our vows, for His glory.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray that you help me always keep my promises to you and that all glory goes to you, this I pray in Jesus's name.
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!