June 21, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Sieun Choi, 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? They are in the same family and under the same household, yet Peninnah was like a rival to Hannah, and she provokes Hannah to irritate her with this blessing that she has. Considering it’s all a gift from God and something she should be grateful for, it’s inappropriate and ugly that she would use it to spite Hannah or elevate herself in this kind of way. Gloating about one’s blessing or using it to make others feel diminished is in itself ugly and ridiculous, but so much more if something is received as a gift. It would be a like a beggar boy being brought into the king’s palace and finely dressed and treated suddenly acting like he is superior to everyone in the palace and using the gift of his adoption to snub others and gloat.

Likewise, if I were to lose perspective on the blessings I have in life, and instead of seeing them as gifts given by God that should make me into a grateful, humble person I become a proud person who compares with others and tries to feel superior, that would be completely inappropriate and ugly. It’s mishandling the gifts of God, and God would be disgusted and grieved at my attitude. What are some blessings that I can become proud and comparative about? One thing can be the blessing of people and ministry. Instead of seeing that God brings people for me to love and minister to and that I just happen to be the person through which God wants to work in people’s lives, I  can compare with others and when my life is rich with people, become proud and feel “superior” to others. Or on the flip side, when things aren’t going well, I can compare with others and become discontent, anxious, competitive person. There would be no love and gratitude in my heart, sense of oneness with others who are serving the Lord. Instead, considering how empty and shallow my relationships were before following God, I should be humble and amazed at the chance I get to do ministry and love people.

1 Samuel 1:10-12

How do I usually handle bitterness or difficulties in life?  What can I learn from Hannah? I get anxious or stressed in my own thoughts and troubles, try to go off and handle it on my own and find my own solution, drive some other people crazy in the process. Hannah handles it by praying and pouring her heart out to God, ultimately trusting that it will be God who will provide a solution, and in the process committing herself more to God. She prays that God would not forget her but see her misery, she almost wagers with God saying if He will bless her life with a child, she would devote her child to Him. It’s amazing to me how instead of becoming bitter, instead of just fretting and trying to figure things out on her own, she has this kind of trust and faith that God cares about her misery and sorrow, and she pours out her heart in prayer, not to just vent, but so that God would respond to her desire and need.

What I can learn is her childlike approach towards God, trusting that He cares about her hurts and that she can honestly pour out everything in prayer. She just lays it out, praying intensely. What I can learn is to pray and bring my struggles and griefs to God in this kind of desperate manner, and wait for God to respond. Just think about how this can apply right now when so many things are going on with life, and I can feel overwhelmed. With times of unemployment, times when family can give us a hard time about how to raise a child or function as a single income family, with struggles with my own flesh and adjusting to having a family and working  and preparing for a new ministry, with struggling with people’s sins and issues. Instead of just trying to manage and figure things out myself, I can pray and pour out my heart and fears and thoughts to God knowing God cares for these details and is ultimately my provider and heavenly Father who is more than able.



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