Our third story of faith, during this Advent season, is told in the first chapter of Samuel. And it deals with the birth of the man for whom this book is named. Historically, the children of Israel had more or less gained the land of promise, though skirmishes were always taking place due to various failures of the people to completely follow God's instructions (Torah). Following Joshua's leading of the people into the land (with God as King), "judges" were established to mete out justice and righteousness (or not!) in the land. The period described in the book of "Judges" is dark and depressing. Then immediately following Judges is the Book(s) of Samuel.
In the first chapter we are introduced to a bigamist (Elkanah), whose beloved wife (Hannah) is barren. As her rival (Peninanh) provoked her, year after year, Hannah called out to the LORD for his favor...that she would bear a son. Overcome by her barrenness (viewed as a great "affliction"), she made an oath to God, that if he were to bless her with a son, she would then give this child back to him...consecrate him...to the LORD, for his service. And God heard Hanna's plea for his favor...and Hanna (whose name means "favor") named her son, Samuel ("heard of God"). In the next chapter we are told that this child grew "both in stature and in favor with the LORD and also with man." Ever heard words like that before? (See Luke 2:52) Samuel, walked with God and was instrumental in anointing over Israel God's beloved, King David, and in so doing he played a part in establishing the advent (coming) of the "Son of David", the Christ child, Jesus. And it all began with a mother's faith, asking for God's favor (grace). Little did she know how her prayers would be answered in a way that played a role in bringing salvation to the entire cosmos! What apparently "little" step of faith might God be asking us to take, and how might God change the world ("move a mountain") through it? We might know the answer (if we're listening!) to the first part of that question, but we'll probably never know the answer to the last. But he does.
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" this weekend (Saturday night at the Big White House) and/or Sunday morning at worship!
Grace and peace,