Scripture: 1 Samuel 1:1-11 1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. 4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: 5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb. 6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. 7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. 8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? 9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
Things in life needs alignment. I believe you are going to aligned in many thing and requests of your life.
A car needs wheels alignment. I am going to use the following in my case and I hope you going to understanding it. What I going to tell you is going to surprise you about misalignment. Both of my cars have passed servicing. The other one is almost about 4300km past maintenance schedule and the other one is about 4500km past schedule. Though I should pay for the Honda when I take it for maintenance. I don’t need to pay for the Toyota if take it for servicing because it has got an existing maintenance plan that is already paid up. Even when we come to church there is existing grace all that we need is alignment. I hope I will take it to service this week and take advantage of this plan. Everything was paid on Calvary. Ladies and Gentlemen lets take advantage of the privilege that we have. (Isaiah 55:1-2 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.)
There are lesson learnt from the church at Shiloh. As you get into prayer this week, use the lessons learnt from the church at Shiloh from 1 Sam 1-4. When doing projects at work or in life people use lesson learnt from previous experiences to be successful. The bible have different lessons that we learn from. (Romans 15:4: Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled.)
The situation, untold mystery and lessons learnt from the church at Shiloh is good lesson for us. When come before the Lord we need to be clean, objective and focused.
There are seven characters at this church
Out of the seven characters at Shiloh we learn the Church condition and different motives and hearts. I would age to be like Haanah and Samuel out of the seven characters.
The issue of life from 7 Characters at Shiloh is something we should ponder and strive to do our best. The power is in you.
Eli: – He was a priest but reluctant. If you allow me, I can also say he was also Spiritually misaligned. He had ruled for 40 years. Elkanah had a divided home. He was an indulgent father as a result of his sons, Hophni and Phineas who also became priest and were allowed to act in the most disgraceful manner. Hophni and Phineas did not fear the Lord.
Hophni and Phineas: - These were mischievous and also doing whatever they wanted at the House of worship. They were abusing women and had no respect to things of God himself. They were really misaligned. They were being called priest though they did not fear God in their lives. They were born in the church and doing things casually. (2 Timothy 3:5 says, Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.)
Elkanah:- He had 2 wives Haanah and Peninah. Haanah was the first wife. Each year Elkanah took his wives to Shiloh to worship. Elkanah was only satisfied with going to church and doing good to everyone without fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Since you know that Haanah was barren, I don’t know why Elkanah did not wait on the Lord and trust Him to work out His plan.
Peninah:- Was good at provoking others and not praying to seek God's favor. She was suppose to pray to gain favor from men. How we sometimes waste time in seeking the wrong things at the place of worship. May the Lord help us to be focused.
Hannah:- The name Haanah means woman of grace. Though she had gone to Shiloh many times, she knew she was at a place of advantage. She made up her mind and took advantage of being at the place of worship and receive her breakthrough. She was objective. It’s wonderful to be objective when we come to prayer, bible study and church. What Hannah fought for was fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Haanah aligned herself with the Lord and poured her to Lord. Oh Halleluyah. She managed to deal with Peninnah’s attitude and cruel words. She knew that only the Lord was able to give her what she wanted. She expressed her anguish only to the Lord. She indeed was a remarkable woman. She didn’t create problems for the family by disputing with Peninnah. In everything she said and did, Haanah sought to glorify the Lord. Indeed she was a remarkable woman who gave birth to a remarkable son.
Samuel:- Samuel was born in Church. If the church had a maternity ward he could say so. He was different from Hophni and Phineahs. He came to this church when others were already there and fellowshipping casually, but he did not do what others were already doing (Hophni, Eli and Phineah). He was always objective, fine tuned, in sync and aligned to the Spirit of God. He started hearing God. God found a friend in God. Samuel was prayerful. He became a Judge, a king and a prophet. Let us seek relationship with the Lord as Samuel always did. Scripture says draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8)
Samuel’s relationship with the Lord improved day after day. He remained respectful even to Eli. While others were doing ungodly things and deteriorating, he continued seeking the Lord and improving. Samuel could hear the Lord clearly. Brethren when you come to church your relationship with the Lord should continually improve. It is your sole responsibility to improve your relationship with the Lord. Your responsibility!
Samuel wrote the book Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel. He was the last judge, the first prophet and the founder of the monarchy (king). The record of his life is beyond reproach. It is hard to find a single mistake in Samuel. Throughout Samuel’s long and useful life he was God's man. He was pre-eminently the man of prayer. When the nations wanted the king, Samuel prayed to the Lord. Intercessory prayer was the keynote of his life.
In the dark and turbent times of Israel , we hear the prayer of faith from the lips of a simple trusting woman, Haanah. She asked God for a son whom she could dedicate to him for service. Miracles are still happening.
Make up your mind, be focused and objective!!! Have passion for life and future. They had been at Shiloh many times, but when Haanah made up her mind things changed for good. She went back home with Samuel. Everyone have got a Samuel (miracle) in them.
Don’t come to church as a group because you will not get anything. Come as an individual. I come as an individual even if we drive as a family to church. It's me and my God!!! Do you know that our God weigh our hearts. (Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart Proverbs 21:2)
Individuals with the same good heart will cause wanders.
Church is hospital with people with different expectations and needs. Let me announce that Church should be a hospital, where Jesus is our Master Physician. It is a place where those who have different ailments and problems; either physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and wounded can come. It is a place where we should be able to check in and when we leave, we are healed or on the road to recovery. In Luke 5:31-32 "Jesus answered them, 'Healthy people don't need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent’”
I am praying to God for many Haanahs, those that know they need to pour there hearts to the Lord.
May the Lord give us many that are so passionate, meek and humble, objective, focused and anointed like Samuel.
As we pray today, let us align our lives with the Lord and claim all our promises. Haanah asked for her promise, I will ask you to be objective and focus this week. Trust the Lord. Isaiah 54:1-4 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. 2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
Please just remember God loves you.