Sunday, May 7, 2017

May 7: 1 Samuel 1 – 2:21; Psalm 105:37-45; Proverbs 14:28-29; John 5:1-23


            1 Samuel: Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Penin,nah. Peninnah had children and tormented Hannah who didn’t have any. Every year they went to the tabernacle at Shiloh to offer sacrifices. While there Hannah prayed for a son. If the Lord gave her a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord and no razor would touch his head.
            Hannah’s prayer was from her deep anxiety and vexation. Eli the priest saw her praying without sounds but moving her lips. He thought she was drunk and accused her. She explained the depth of her prayer and he asked the Lord to grant her request.
            She was greatly relieved and went home. She had a son and named him Samuel. She didn’t go back to the tabernacle until he was weaned. Then she gave him to Eli. She then prayed a long prayer of exultation to the Lord for his strength, salvation, power over the ungodly, his power over the grave and life, exalting the poor, guarding the faithful, cutting off the wicked, judging the earth, and giving strength to his king.
            Eli’s sons were priests but didn’t know the Lord. They took the best parts of the sacrifices instead of burning them the way they should. If someone protested, they threated to take the meat by force. At the time, the boy Samuel was ministering along with Eli. Hannah took him a new robe each year when she came to offer sacrifices. Eli blessed her and asked the Lord for more children for her. The Lord gave her more children.
            Psalm: The Psalmist finishes his praise and thanksgiving to God by describing how the Lord took Israel out of Egypt. They were given gold and silver. He protected them with a cloud and fire at night. God fed them with quail and bread from heaven. He gave them water in the desert. He remembered his promise to Abraham and gave them the land and possessions of nations. He did this so that they would keep his statutes and observe his laws.
            Proverbs: A great number of people is reason for a king to glory, but without people, he is not a king.
            A person who is slow to become angry is wise but fools blow up quickly.
            John: Jesus went to a feast in Jerusalem. When he was there, a paralytic was waiting to be healed by the Sheep Gate pool. Jesus asked the man if he wanted to get well and he answered that he didn’t have anyone to help him into the pool. Jesus told him to get up, take his bed and walk. He was healed immediately.
            It was a Sabbath and the Jews stopped the man and told him it was illegal to carry his bed. The man told them his healer had told him to take up his bed and walk. They Jews wanted to know who healed him, but he didn’t know.
            Jesus later found the man in the temple and told him to sin no more or something worse would happen to him. The man told the Jews and they were persecuting Jesus because he did this on the Sabbath. Jesus told them his Father was working until now and so would he.
            After that, the Jews wanted to kill Jesus even more because he called God his Father making him equal with God. Jesus told them he didn’t do anything on his own accord but only what he saw the Father doing. He told them that they would see even greater works because the Father raise the dead and so will the Son and he will give life to whom he will.

What Stood Out

            1 Samuel: “I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation” (1 Sam 1:16).
            Psalm: “[God did this so] that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws” (Ps 105:45).
            Proverbs: “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (Prov 14:29).
            John: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will” (John 5:21).


            1 Samuel: Hannah was in a difficult social position. In those days, being a married woman without children was a huge disgrace. To make matters worse, her husband’s other wife had several children and was jealous because Elkanah loved Hannah more. So Peninnah taunted Hannah mercilessly.
We may not be in the same predicament as Hannah, however, there are many things in this world that make us anxious or vex us. How we react to these situations can be either godly or sinful. Anxiety becomes sinful when we are faced with these deep soulful problems and we don’t trust in the Lord. Our reaction can be godly when we go to the Lord in prayer in the same way Hannah did. Jesus commands us not to be anxious or worry, which is ongoing anxiety (Matt 6:25-34). Paul also commands us not to be anxious, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).
            Notice that Paul’s answer to anxiety is the same as what Hannah did. She took it to the Lord. After she did, she went away and was no longer sad (1 Sam 1:18).
            Psalm: After recapping the history of Israel from the patriarchs to taking over the Promised Land, the Psalmist explains that he did this so that Israel would obey the Lord. There is much to give thanks about from the beginning of the Psalm to the end so that it is easy to miss how the beginning (giving thanks) and the end (obedience) are tied together. When we think back over the way the Lord has blessed us, do we ever think that the reason he has done this involves our obedience to him? I think we are too often caught up in ourselves that we forget that God does things to bring glory to himself. He loves us and cares for us because demonstrating his love glorifies him. He works all things for the good of those who love him because he is working in us to make us more like Jesus (Rom 8:28-29) and that brings glory to him. When we respond in thankfulness and singing but don’t obey him, that doesn’t bring glory to him. Jesus said that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter the kingdom but only those who do the Father’s will (Matt 7:21).
            Proverbs: There are many proverbs that describe the danger of anger and the positive aspects of keeping from anger or being slow to become angry. We have a choice when it comes to anger. Many people say that it is just their temperament. But in truth, if they really believe that, then they are fools. The Bible says a lot about fools and it isn’t good. They usually suffer harm and that is also what often happens to people who let themselves become easily angered.
            John: Does Jesus only heal people who have enough faith? No, Jesus heals when and where he wants. He heals people with faith and some without faith. This healing is an example of healing a person who didn’t exhibit faith in him either before or after his healing. Note that the person was expecting to be healed by a superstition that an angel stirred the waters and the first person in the pool would be healed (John 5:4 NAS). His faith was not in Jesus or God. Afterward, Jesus warned him about his sins. He didn’t say his sins were forgiven as he did to the paralytic who had faith and was lowered though the roof (Mark 2:5). After knowing Jesus was his healer, he went and told the Jews. He apparently feared them or wanted to please them more than he was thankful for his healing. Compare this account with the blind man who was healed in John 9. There you will see how a person with faith responds to being healed.


            Whether we are having minor problems or large ones, we need to trust Jesus for them. We need to take them to him and find peace because we know he is in control of our lives and everything that goes on around us. When he answers with or without miracles, we need to be thankful and respond in obedience.

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