We can come to God even when others misunderstand or they just don’t get it. Sometimes we get what we pray for and sometimes we don’t. But regardless of what happens, the question is, what do we do with these issues? What do we do with these concerns? We bring these questions, issues, and concerns (hopes and dreams) back to God. We faithfully look to God to help us to know how to live. We have a choice in how we live. It matters how we live and what others see. In Colossians 3:12-17, it talks about how we should clothe ourselves.
Colossians 3:12-17 NRSV” As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.“
It matters what we clothe ourselves with. What do others see? I think that is how we give back to God. We give back to God by how we choose to live our life. Our obedience, our faithfulness, our character.
What are we clothing ourselves with? Is the answer to our prayer just for us or is it to give it away?
How do we give back to God?
As we go through life being misunderstood and people just don’t get it, we can continue to come back to God who understands and cares for us. We bring our concerns that are in our heart and in our mind to God who knows us and loves us. We ask God to help us to know how to give back to You. How do you want us to live? How can we clothe ourselves in such a way that others want to know more about you?
The Bible has a lot to say to us about this. The people in the Bible have difficulties and concerns much like what we have in our lives today. When we use the lectionary text to guide us throughout the year or when we only read a few verses at a time in a book or a story, it can sometimes exclude background information that we need to know to help us to fully understand. It’s kinda like walking in the middle of a movie and not knowing all that is going on. The text for today focuses on the lectionary text choice of 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26 but I take time to explain a bit more of the characters in those 4 verses and those that weren’t mentioned in those 4 verses.
Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was misunderstood by the head priest Eli who thought she was drunk when actually she was praying fervently. (1 Samuel 1:13) Her husband didn’t quite get it when he said, “Am I not more to you than ten sons!!” (1 Samuel 1:8) He loved her but didn’t understand why she was so frustrated. (1 Samuel 1:5) Hannah lived in a difficult situation since she was married to Elkanah who also had another wife. (1 Samuel 1:2) The other wife was able to bear children, but not Hannah. Hannah prayed to God for a son. She did indeed get a son, Samuel, but she was faithful in her promise to God and gave him back to God. The answer to prayer isn’t that you get what you pray for, it’s that you give what you get back to God.
I was thinking of this quote by David J Henson, Belief, Theological Commentary, “Prayer is not answered when we receive the thing that we ask for; prayer is answered when our prayers, by grace, lead us nearer to God. This is not something we can do on our own.”
Hannah lived out her life faithfully with God and to God. She went to God when she was misunderstood and others didn’t get it. She kept going back to God and when she got what she prayed for, she continued to go to God, even giving up her wanted son to the Lord (visiting him each year to encourage him with a new, bigger robe- a symbol of his future status). Samuel also lived his life faithfully. He was faithful in his work, to his parents, to Eli- the head priest who cared for him and taught him how to minister to the Lord in the priestly ways, and to the people (see 1 Samuel 2:26). Samuel’s sincerity and obedience to God and faithfulness to the people was in direct contrast to Eli’s sons. Eli’s sons were priests by birth and they were corrupt.
These points were skipped over in the lectionary text and I think we should read (and discuss with others) as much as we can as it is a part of the Bible. There is both good and bad/difficult points in our lives. But in all aspects of our life, we can still choose. We choose HOW we will live our life. We choose if we will be faithful to God and the people. We choose just like Hannah, Samuel, Eli, and his sons chose…. What about you?
What will you choose?
1 Samuel 2:18-26 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+2%3A18-26&version=NRSV The Child Samuel at Shiloh18 Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord repay[a] you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to[b] the Lord”; and then they would return to their home.21 And[c] the Lord took note of Hannah; she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.Prophecy against Eli’s Household22 Now Eli was very old. He heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 He said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If one person sins against another, someone can intercede for the sinner with the Lord;[d] but if someone sins against the Lord, who can make intercession?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father; for it was the will of the Lord to kill them.26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people.
1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
This sermon was recorded 26 December 2021 as pulpit supply for FPC Clifton in Texas. The Pastor of this church is Pastor Clint, serving for over 17 years! I am a current Masters of Divinity (MDiv) student at George W Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas.
Find other recordings for my pulpit supply here https://sejanashines.com/2021/08/02/pulpit-supply-preaching/.
Find other blogs about my seminary experience here https://sejanashines.com/category/seminary/.
Sejana Yoo aka @SejanaShines
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