June 20, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Rick Yi, Gracepoint Berkeley

1 Samuel 1:6-7

Reflect on the fact that Peninnah “provoked” Hannah with the fact that she had children and that Hannah did not.  Why was this inappropriate?  What is my response to God’s goodness to me?  Are there some ways in which I take God’s gifts in my life to gloat, or feel superior to others? The fact that peninnah “provoked” Hannah was inappropriate because she assumed that somehow she was better than Hannah or more favored by the fact that she was able to bear children.  She had the same kind of superficial worldview that sees God as some vendor of favors.  The thinking goes that if good things happen to me, it’s because I did something to please God who has the power to bless me, but needs some kind of demonstration on my part for him to bless me.  It views God as some reluctant holder of blessings when in fact, God is the wanting to bless.  He doesn’t hold anything back for his children.  It also makes us feel superior or inferior based on something as something neither women had anything to do with.  This is true is so many ways for everyone.  We had no say in what kind of family I would be a part of, what kind of socio-economic class, what kind of personality, appearance, etc.  There are so many things that we had absolutely nothing to do with, yet we make them out to be more.  If it’s something good, it causes us to swell in pride and we cling onto, even turning it into an idol.  We become like the Pharisee looking down on the tax collector,  If it’s something unfortunate, we curse God and our families for not being better or more well off.  It becomes a source of bitterness, insecurity, self-pity, and we become like the invalid.  We have an opportunity in either situation, to glorify God.

1 Samuel 1:10-12

How do I usually handle bitterness or difficulties in life?  What can I learn from Hannah? Hannah doesn’t hide the fact that she is feeling down and burdened.  She acknowledges it and brings it before God.  So often, my initial reaction is to complain about my situation or not even acknowledge that I have these kinds of feelings because I want to appear better than I truly am.  It really misses the point of relating to God because it’s no secret to him that I feel this way.  To deny how I truly feel will only cause me to become deluded and it really doesn’t invite God to do something about it.  Hannah was honest with God and God was able to work in her life.

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