..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What is Your Samuel?

1 Samuel 1:20
..."after Hannah conceived she bore
a son, and called his name, Samuel,
saying, "Because I have asked him
of the Lord."

The story of Hannah is a poignant one
for in some way it is our story. In
all of our hearts God has put something
that is waiting to be born, something
that we long for, because He has put
that longing there.

In Hannah's case, she wanted a son.
She wanted a son very badly and so the
inevitable and pressing process of want
rose up in her soul and she proceeded
to the house of the Lord.

There are things that we want and
things that God wants for us. Some
things are our desires, born of the
flesh, and some things are God's desire
for us, born of the Spirit. Somewhere
amidst the things that we want, there
are the golden ones that God also
wants for us. We must have the boldness
of Hannah to ask for those things
that lay deep in our hearts trusting
that God will bring us "bread and
not a stone". The more we
allow God to purify our hearts,
the more likely we will ask for
something that He is favorably
able to give us.

We must learn to ask wisely,
and to ask according
to God's own heart for us. This
is not easily discerned but it
should not put off our asking.
The more we spend time with the
Lord, the more we come to know
what He wills for us.

The desires that God puts in our hearts
define us. They are what make us who
we are. They are part of God's design
for us. They are the seeds that,
if watered with faith and trust
in God, will grow and bring us into
the plan and destiny God has for us.

These desires, these seeds, can lay
dormant for years, and can come to
life when they are meant to. Some of
these desires may be born of the
flesh, and some of the desires,
if we belong to God, are born of
His Spirit.

How shall we discern the difference?
I think that many times we do not
ask of God because we are unsure
if it is "God's will." Hannah was
willing to come to God with the
desire for a son that burned in
her heart. She could not give
herself a son, God had to do it.
Jesus said, "Ask and it shall be
given to you, Seek and you shall
find, knock and the door shall
be opened
" (Matthew 7:7).

Samuel's name means "asked of the
Lord." He was the answer to her
asking, the fulfillment of her
desire. Hannah gets what she wants,
God answers her prayer, and then
she consecrates back to God what she has
received. When we have a desire
born of the flesh, it is for ourselves,
and we are usually unwilling to
give it to God. The desire is for
our ends, even if we do not recognize
that in our asking.

God knows us and He knows our needs.
We can and should come to Him boldly
to ask for what lays in our deepest
hearts. In the asking we build
relationship with God, and
come to know both God and ourselves.

We should not be afraid of either
God's "no's" or His "yes's." We can
be so self-focused that we are not
willing to hear His "no" and so
unaware of God's goodness that we
are reticent to accept His "yes."
We can be so caught up in trying to
figure out whether something is
of flesh or of spirit that we
never actually get to asking God
about it.

Hannah was not afraid. She went to God
and asked. She poured out her soul
to God. She did not care what it
looked like, even if it made her
look foolish, or in this case,
drunken. There is the old adage,
"There is no harm in asking."
We must be open to be taught of
God, to receive from His Hand that
which He chooses to give to us,
or withhold from us. It is never
wrong to inquire of Him.

Inside of your heart is a Samuel,
perhaps there are many Samuels!
Which are sons of the covenant and
which are sons of the flesh?
That is for you to wrestle out
with God: inquire of Him,
seek His face continually.
Make haste to the temple of
the Lord to be before
Him. May your Samuel be
born to you as God wills.

What is your Samuel?

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