A Standing Ovation:
Our God the Rock
I Samuel 20:1-5
At the end of chapter 19 in our study of Hannah, she has left her little Samuel at the tabernacle under Eli’s care. Can you imagine how this must have felt? When I read the next chapter, I am amazed at the attitude of Hannah. She is praising God with her whole heart! A paraphrase of the first five verses could read like this: “I’m not afraid to talk about what God has done for me. There is no one like Him; His holiness and strength exceed any other. God knows your heart; He knows mine. Strong men have been made weak by God’s hand and weak men have been strengthened by God’s hand. God has the ultimate reversing power.”
Hannah is the only woman in the Bible who has two recorded prayers. Comparing the two yields some interesting results! The first prayer was one verse (I Samuel 1:11); the second one is ten verses! Perhaps the lesson here is that we should be spending ten times the amount of effort in praising God as we do making requests of Him? The first prayer was one full of sorrow: the second was one full of joy. What joy can be brought into our lives when we completely surrender our lives to His will. The first prayer was one of commitment; the second was one of fulfillment. When we commit ourselves and faithfully follow His Word, He will complete His work. Phil. 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Hannah could have prayed, “Lord, I’m so sorry that I have to leave my child under the influence of these ungodly men who belong to this man Eli. I wish I could take back my promise, but I’m not going to because it just wouldn’t be right. So just give me the strength to kiss my precious son goodbye because I’ll probably never see him again. And Lord, you know what a wicked place this world is, so just help us to do our best. Amen.” Would all of the above been true? Oh, sure. Eli’s sons were perverted, Hannah most likely did wish that she had not promised God her one and only son, and her attitude was her own choice. But Hannah praised the Lord.
I am reading a book by Stormie Omartian entitled “The Prayer that Changes Everything- The Hidden Power of Praising God.” http://www.amazon.com/Prayer-That-Changes-Everything%C2%AE-Praising/dp/0736901566 This book is completely amazing, very revealing and truly Biblical. I highly recommend the book; I’m reading it through for the second time. In my humble opinion, Stormie’s message through this book is that by praising God, especially in the worst circumstances, we are fulfilling that for which we were created. We were created to worship Him!
Hannah is a prime Biblical example of praise. Here are Hannah’s reasons to praise the Lord:
1. Salvation (v. 1)- Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
2. Sanctification (v. 2)- John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
3. Sovereignty (v.3)- Psalm 89:15, 16 “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in THY RIGHTEOUSNESS shall they be exalted.” (Emphasis mine.)
4. Strength (v.4) Psalm 62:5-8 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.”
5. Starbucks (v.5) (Ok, Sustenance, but this is the 21st century, right?) Psalm 146- This psalm is one of my favorites. Please, look it up; use blueletterbible.org if you’d like.
6. Service (A place to serve) v.5 Psalm 100:2 “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
Frankly, I’m still learning how to praise the Lord when things don’t go the way I think they should. One of my pastors recently discussed the 5 big “D’s” that result in a broken heart. They were: disease, divorce, death, disaster, and (I hope I got this last one right) disappointment. Whew, we’re summing up an awful lot of life in that last sentence! And I’ve experienced all of these. But the truth is: when we praise God in spite of the big “D’s” in our lives, we will be completely amazed at the results.
My challenge to you just for today: Whatever situation or circumstance comes your way, you WILL praise God with a sincere heart. Just try it for an hour! We serve an incredible God.
-Just a mom with a heart for Him.