Tag Archives: Hannah

HOPE IS LIFE SUSTAINING

Hope is life-sustaining. It is absolutely based on trust or faith in God. It is a life-sustaining phenomenon. Conversely, hopelessness is thus essential ingredient that makes up failure, faithlessness and or possibly untimely death. It is therefore to be seen that without hope for better result now or in the future, nothing tangible can be achieved. Strategic planning, or network analysis is based on hope, all things being equal.

This is the psychological reason a doctor treating a patient will always be reassuring the sick patient that he or she would get well; even where there appears to be no medical remedy. He continues to reassure the patient so that the patient may attune  his or her mind to the hope of getting well. Even , if all indices  point to eventual death, the assurance given would more often than not remove the burden of feeling guilty of perhaps confessed or non-confessed sins. Often times, When adequate hope is instilled in the patient, the sick person can easily take solace in Ephesians 3: 20 that says “God is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us” (NIV). Hope can be a means of resuscitating a dying person who can thereafter be able to do great exploits for God and humanity. The Almighty God is for ever faithful to those who hope and trust in him. God’s faithfulness is stressed in Lamentation 3: 32 “Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies” (NKJV)

King Hezekiah fell sick to the point of death and God sent Prophet Isaiah to the king to warn him of his imminent death. King Hezekiah with hope and trust communed with God to spare his life because he had been so used to praying and praising Him which He would not be able to do  if he should die. God heard his prayer and asked Prophet Isaiah to go back and announce extending the King’s life by fifteen years. The lesson learnt here was that King Hezekiah kept hope alive until God gave him his heart’s desire,  without doubt, it was the trust that Hezekiah had in God that caused an end to King Sennacherib’s siege when overnight 185000 of his soldiers died of what bible historians described as bubonic plague from rat infestation. In short, if it is fear of anything that is standing between a believer and unshakable hope, trust and believe in God. Just remember the Psalmist that said: “The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid.” Psalm 118: 6. A prayerful believer is a hopeful person because the result of prayers does not manifest instantly like the miracles of Jesus Christ in His healing ministry. Hannah hoped and trusted in God until God opened her womb and gave birth to Samuel.

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FAITH AND FAITHFULNESS

                   

 

God is always faithful to them that have faith in Him. However, God never denies man any of the basic necessities of life like air, water, sunshine, moonlight, rainfall , fire and more. In affirming the foregoing, there is a common saying in a community that translates into; ” The rain has neither friend nor foe, anyone that is found on its path, it falls on him or her.” There are other specific needs of man which differ from person to person. These needs can be spiritual, physical or both. The satisfaction of these needs from God depends on ones interaction in faith-based prayer and fasting through Jesus Christ the son of the Most High to God’s throne of grace. In Lamentation 3: 22-23, we read. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” 
Even though God remains faithful to man’s cause, it is man’s faith that wavers and doubts are known to set in, meaning that it is man that veers off course. Anyone that persistently doubts God will find it an uphill task to receive God’s grace. The wicked , satanic or godless people can prosper to an extent of making the world bewildered as to how and why such an undeserving person was ‘so blessed.’ The bible also explained that it is just a prelude to the damnation of such people. It is not biblical figures only that had and showed faith, the ultimate success of Abraham Lincoln in politics was a result of his unshakable faith in God. Mahatma Ghandhi of India had an unshakeable faith in the cause of gaining independence for India in 1946 and we believed God honored his

faith.The first President of America – George Washington demonstrated faith the way he commanded the U.S. Army to the point of fashioning a Republican Constitution for the United States of America. Chief Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria, was imprisoned but the unshakable faith he had in God (that he would not die in prison) saw him released when a counter-coup took place in August 1966 and immediately became the Vice -Chairman of the nation’s Federal Executive Council, he also headed the Ministry of Finance throughout a thirty-month civil war without external borrowing to fund the war expenses. Such personalities in modern times demonstrated man’s faith being honored with God’s faithfulness to all that trusted in HIM.
Faith and faithfulness are very essential to the joy and happiness always observable in the life of true Christian believers. During the times of sorrow man’s faith in God prevents winding back from being deeply involved in serving the Lord. At times of joy a faithful believer never gets overjoyed. What we see in the life of successful athletes is that a lot of them over indulged themselves in the use of alcohol, sex or drugs. The end result is usually sorrow-filled retirement period for they would be no more be in position to sustain the life-style they have created for themselves when they were earning big money. We learnt about having faith in God from bible characters like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as revealed in Hebrew 11: 1-32. This passage also alluded to other people like Enoch, Abel, Moses, (God called the most humble man that ever lived) who also doubled as the deliverer of the Hebrews from Egypt after 40 years of slavery. The bible alluded to the principles behind the faith the characters had: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it elders obtained a good 

 report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrew 11: 1-3) (KJV).
From Social Science perspective, psychology teaches having faith in oneself to such an extent that it serves like a pillar of strength. It invigorates anyone who can trust that if he or she believes something is achievable, problem being tackled is half solved. This is not to say that contemplating doing evil can be treated like planning or attempting to do good. The center piece of a born again Christian is making effort to please God and anchoring such on Christ’s righteousness. 

Trust and Obey

The popular hymnal continues to remind Christians that there is joy in trusting and obeying God. “When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word, What a glory He sheds on our way; While we do his good will, HE abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey, Trust and obey, For there is no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey” However great the problem may be, the shortest and surest way to meet man’s need is to trust and obey His holy will. Abraham, Father of faith, did trust in God in spite of having to wait for twenty-five years before God’s promise to him was fulfilled. It is therefore no surprise that he and Sarah were past the age of child-bearing before the promise got finally fulfilled. God tested his faith to see whether his trust and obedience were genuine or not. God asked him to sacrifice the child of promise to Him, Jehovah.  In today’s reckoning, one would probably use constitutional freedom of speech to ask God ‘WHY?’ or at least try to remind God whether HE could recall how long it took him, Abraham, to wait for the fulfillment of the promise. May even require reminding God that both he and his wife were past child-bearing age as if God did not know. Proverb 3: 5-6 says; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths”.

Jesus’ first miracle with his mother’s instruction to those who needed to replenish supply of wine for the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee. in John 2: 5 Mary told the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it”. the servants obeyed absolutely what Jesus asked them to do and the result was fantastic. The master of the feast commended the high quality of the miracle wine. (Trust and Obey) Miracles that Jesus performed were not magical, no incantation, no voodoo as well. It is just the word of God that achieved the concrete result, especially to those who trusted and obeyed Him. In Jeremiah 32: 17 and 26-27, it was written, “Ah, Lord Jehovah! Behold thou hast made the heavens and the earth by thy great power and by thine own outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard…Then came the word of , Behold, I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh. Is there any thing too hard for ME? (ASV)”. The passage is all about the Jews who refused to be obedient to The God of Israel and the promised  consequence. They were  carried  into slavery as God told Prophet Jeremiah.

Worries and anxiety of Hannah ended with trusting the efficacy of Prophet Eli’s pronouncement. Hannah obeyed the practices of the Jews by having private commune  with God  over what was giving her untold sorrow in the presence of Peninnah, Elkanah’s first wife. 1Samuel 1:1-18  (NKJV). Hannah trusted God and in obedience she went home rejoicing. She conceived and gave birth to Samuel in answer to her fervent prayer to God.

HOPE : AN UNSEEN REALITY

In Hebrew 11: 1, we can see how. “Hope” constitutes an unseen reality. It says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. It is an expected future manifestation based on an unshakable trust in God. Hope is thus faith-based for it to work out fine. As human beings, we are faced with challenges. Some are self-induced, while some are brought on individuals as a result of ones sins or devil’s attempt at shaking believer with a view to scaring him or her and thus be able to rubbish his or her belief in God. A believer who knows that the steadfast love of the Lord never fails, tends to unfailingly believe that he or she has an anchor in Christ Jesus. He will not allow such people to succumb to the world’s stormy blast.

Faith-based hope is an anchor that is always available to stabilize a believer from allowing his hope to waver, because God has solution to our problems for 1Corinthians 10: 13 says “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it. Furthermore, in ll Corinthians 9: 8, God’s grace is ever sufficient to meet every need or whatever is being hoped for and we need to know that God is able to meet and do more than we ask for or can imagine. Ephesians 3: 20 says; “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (KJV). There is a true life story of a woman who was close to God in her heart and service but was unable to get married for one reason or the other. She was fast approaching the age of fifty years when a widower asked her hand in marriage. Having prayed over it, she joyfully agreed to marry him with her chronic un-wavering hope that she would get married with children in a happy family setting. Her hope for a God-sent suitor came at last and yielded more than she hoped for. Her first pregnancy resulted in the birth of a triplet. First, her hope never wavered and secondly, God granted her wishes by blessing her more abundantly than she asked for or thought about.

The believer who faithfully trusts in God can always count on God’s unfailing faithfulness Lamentation 3: 32 says, “But though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies” (KJV). The bible recorded that King Hezekiah pleased God all his days, but he later faltered by showing emissaries of Berodach, King of Babylon all the wealth and top secrets of his kingdom. The people came with presents as if they really came to congratulate him for getting over his ailment during which he nearly died. The King of Babylon came to attack Israel after the death of Hezekiah. Faithful love of God for the pious King Hezekiah made God to postpone the attack until then. ll Kings 20: 12-21 (KJV). The bible depicted Hezekiah as having lived his life during his reign pleasing God and hoped for the best. He got it in spite of his indiscretion and lack of insight into espionage as carried out by the king of Babylon. He did not condone idol worshipping or serving any graven image. When a tested man of God gives God’s message, it should increase or embolden one’s faith and hope of realizing what one had been praying for. Abraham’s situation readily comes to mind with his twenty-five-year promise of having a child from his own loin.
Sarah, his wife, who wanted to help God get a child regretted it when the erstwhile house help promoted herself to claim equality with the “legal” wife. Based on human thinking, mother of Ishmael was right but man’s thought is never as perfect as God’s decision. God’s time may tarry but it will assuredly come. HE is never late in granting man’s request. His timing is never the same as ours; but surely he does not forget. When promise of God tarried it is faith that helps our hope in the Lord. Hannah’s faith and hope never wavered. Eli first took her as one that was probably having a hangover from the festivity in Jerusalem, she told him that she was only pouring out her heavy heart to God. By the auction of God on Prophet Eli, he prophesied that God would grant her the object of her prayer. She believed and that hope buoyed her up as she returned to her home. Her vow in her prayer centered around lending the child to God. In fulfilling the vow, she did not return to Shiloh per the annual pilgrimage. She went back to Shiloh only when Samuel was whined to fulfill (pay) her vow.

King Ahab of Israel, after Elijah’s encounter with all the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, had invasion problem from Ben-Hadad, King of Syria, looming over his kingdom l King 20: 1-34. (KJV) He even agreed to part with valuables as well as his family but Ben-Hadad insisted on attacking Samaria because he believed he would have no difficulty in overrunning the Kingdom. God intervened and sent a prophet to tell Ahab that HE would deliver Israel. Definitely, Ahab’s hopelessness changed to hopefulness and agreed to put his men in array for the war. God networked the downfall of the drunken and reveling King Ben-Hadad with his accomplices twice. After the second encounter, Ahab did not consult with God before putting his men in battle against Ben-Hadad the third encounter. The two victories he had were based on putting his hope on God not based on his prowess or assistance from other kings. Psalm 42: 5 actually stressed that we need to put our hope in God : “Why are you cast down , O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, For I shall yet praise Him for the help of his countenance. By the same token, Shadrack, Meshack and Abed-nego placed their hope in God to defy King Nebuchadnezzar’s decree on worshipping his golden image. They declared in Daniel 3: 16-18 “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand O King. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king,that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up. (KJV)

Unshakeable faith of some rulers in their ability to continuously coarse or subjugate their subjects has always led to their woeful end. The first king in the break-away Northern Israel was of this cast. 1 King 12: 25-33 and 13: 1-6 showed King Jeroboam at his worst when he earnestly attempted to usurp the God assigned duty to the priestly people i.e. “when the king heard what the prophet cried against the alter in Bethel, Jeroboam standing at the alter, extended his hand and ordered, ‘Seize him!’ The hand he had extended shriveled up and he could not pull it back”. He had to beg the prophet to beg God for him before his hand became functional again.

Answered Prayers Series # 3

We have seen how prayers of some biblical characters were acceptable to God. Hannah, for instance, prayed with the essential ingredient for answered prayers. It is, essentially, FAITH and more. In spite of Prophet Eli’s innocent insinuation, she showed such an overwhelming faith that the Lord blessed her divinely through the prophetic utterance of Prophet Eli. God granted her request with the birth of a baby boy named Samuel before the next annual journey to Shiloh. 1 Samuel 1: 10-17. Another important aspect of answered prayer is to endeavor to back up prayers with a vow that if God granted the prayer, one would pay ones vow. It does not necessarily need to be money. It can be in form of ones time by serving in the house of God. It can even entail refraining from sinful past life. An alcoholic can pray to be freed from drunkenness with a vow that upon being freed he would help others by example and prayers to quit alcoholism.

Hannah fulfill her vow lending young Samuel to God and backed it up with prayer of praise and worship 1 Samuel 1: 27-28 as recorded : “For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore, I also have lent him to the Lord, as long as he lives, he shall be lent to the Lord” 1 Samuel 2: 1-10. Another prerequisite of answered prayer is eschewing bitterness and not engaging in blame game. Although Hannah felt bad about her barrenness but she never blamed anyone for her predicament even in the face of severe provocation from, Peninnah, the wife with many children. Instead, she constantly focused on asking God to remember her. God opened her womb to conceive a male child that she asked for. She resorted to thanking and exalting the awesomeness of God. Hannah’s prayer for the unborn child, to my mind, laid the foundation for the anointing bestowed on Samuel’s life as a great prophet in the annals of history in Israel.