Hannah was barren. But she went to the Lord in prayer; weeping she confessed the woes of her heart. And the Lord heard her cry!
She promised that if He would just give her a son, she would dedicate Him to the Lord. And that's exactly what she did. She kept her promise, she kept her vow.
And the Lord blessed her with five more children. But this one, the first vowed son would be raised in the church. He grew up to be Samuel, one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament.
Do not think that God will leaving you lonely in your emptiness. He wants to not only do good for you, but through you. For He is incomparable. He is holy and knows what is best. And through it all, He is our rock and foundation, a steady place to stand during times of uncertainty.
Won't you call upon Him, telling Him, like Hannah the very desires of your heart?
He already knows them, but won't interrupt our striving to get them on our own, until we rest in knowing that He is our Holy Foundation.
Boaz blessed the lives of Naomi and Ruth, by paying the price to redeem them when they had no family, nor prospects for a favorable future.
We too are blessed of the Lord, Who paid the price securing our future as well. What an amazing representative Boaz was to show us the kindness and sacrifice given.
Boaz blessed Ruth: May the Lord reward you for what you have done, and may you receive a full reward from the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge. Ruth 2:12
Boas provided for Ruth: At mealtime Boaz told her, “Come over here and have some bread and dip it in the vinegar sauce.” So she sat beside the harvesters, and he offered her roasted grain. She ate and was satisfied and had some left over. Ruth 2:14
Boaz protected Ruth: Boaz ordered his young men, “Let her even gather grain among the bundles, and don’t humiliate her. Ruth 2:15
Oh how much more our Kinsman Redeemer does bless us! Boaz took Ruth as his wife, and Jesus takes us, the church, as His bride.
I must say Sampson baffles me.
Maybe it's the different way men and women think.
Maybe it's the fact that I hate to be manipulated.
But how could this man not see through the lies?
And how could his anger rule if he was filled with the Spirit?
Sampson had a a wife before Delilah, you know. And that woman nagged him for a secret as well. Yes, Sampson baffles me.
But that's not to say that God cannot use flawed humans like Sampson... and like me. You see, I don't have to understand how Samson's mind or emotions worked to realize that God could use that to His advantage.
Now, the people of Israel had sinned greatly and God let their enemies, the Philistines, take over and oppress them. For He cannot be present when idol worship is going on. But when they admitted their sin and cried out to Him, God planned for a deliverer... in the man of Sampson.
For this was spoken to his mother by the Angel of the Lord...
For indeed, you will conceive and give birth to a son. You must never cut his hair, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from birth, and he will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.
Sampson's given purpose was to begin to save the Israelites from the power of the Philistines. And interestingly, God used not only Sampson's strength, but also his weaknesses to accomplish this.
For while he was physically strong before Delilah's trickery, he was emotionally weak when it came to lust and anger. These emotions overtook him... but so did the Spirit of God.
So the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him. Then the Spirit of the Lord began to direct him in the Camp of Dan... Judges 13:24-25
Suddenly a young lion came roaring at him, the Spirit of the Lord took control of him, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. Judges 14:6
The Spirit of the Lord took control of him, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed 30 of their men (Philistines). Judges 14:19
When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came to meet him shouting. The Spirit of the Lord took control of him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like burnt flax and his bonds fell off his wrists. Judges 15:14
Even when Sampson was thirsty after a battle, God miraculously provided for him...
So God split a hollow place in the ground at Lehi, and water came out of it. After Samson drank, his strength returned, and he revived. Judges 15:19
Until the morning he awoke with his seven braids shaved off...
When he awoke from his sleep, he said, “I will escape as I did before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. Judges 16:20
But even though Sampson baffles me, the Lord surely does not. For this is what I know, because I find it every time I read His word...
And I actually think that God especially likes to use our weaknesses to prove His strength so that we cannot claim the victory for ourself.
Yes, people may baffle us.
They may in fact drive us crazy.
But know this... God is our Ever-Ready Strength in times of need! And just as He did with Sampson, He can cause us to fulfill our purpose if we will only let Him.
How grateful I am that our God loves us so deeply. For He has pursued us, His creation since the beginning of time. And even when we turn away from Him, even when we place our faith in worldly things, He patiently waits for our return.
For He knows that these false gods will not bring us happiness. He knows that we will be disheartened and only find misery. It's not as if He hasn't warned us over, and over again. And still He waits.
Finally, when our suffering had become too great, and we return to Him, asking for deliverance, He will sometimes remain silent. And we know, just as these Israelites did in the book of Judges, we need to get rid of our gods of pride, status, money and selfishness. He doesn't need to tell us to do that, we sense it. So let us be freed from them and sincerely cry out again... Deal with us as you see fit.
For He grows weary of watching us in misery. He is ever aware our ills. And He is always sympathetic to our cry.
The Lord is near to the broken hearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Oh, how amazing it is to find God in these places! The Old Testament is full of miraculous truths which we can use in our every-day life.
Today we walk into the life of Gideon. A hard working young man, doing his best, even under the oppression of an enemy force. It seems that the people of Israel were no longer faithful to God. So He has allowed the Midianites to come in an take over. They were like a swarm of locusts, causing the people to hide in caves and cliffs.
And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. So He appeared to Gideon to raise him as a prophet and deliver them from the hand of the Midianites.
Then the Angel of the Lord
appeared to him and said:
“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
But Gideon questions...
Why has this happened?
Where is God in all this?
And how can I deliver anyone?
Filled with doubt, Gideon is still not aware that this is God. But soon he will realize and fulfill his calling.
Did you know that the Lord is with you?
Do you sometimes have these same sorts of questions?
I mean we sometimes sit in the middle of our sorrow struggling to find a way out. We have worked hard at something, just as Gideon did, and can't seem to find a way to make ends meet. We use all reason and logic and nothing makes sense anymore.
But I'm here to tell you today, that God is STILL with you. He has not left you. And like Gideon, He has a calling on your life for purpose. So it is imperative that we stop our striving; that we let go of the need to fix it ourselves and listen for His voice.
For then, He will turn to us and say, "Go in the strength that you have and fulfill your calling. Am I not sending you?"
Now listen to this!
God does not want us to wait until we FEEL some sort of spiritual move before we get started. Just as He told Gideon, we are to go in the strength that we have. That is simple human strength, nothing more. It sounds strange I know. How can we do amazing things for God in our own power?
But could it be that He is wanting US to show Him our will... before He will show us His? Is it possible that He wants us to step out in faith so we can meet Him in the action... when we really need Him?
For look at what happened shortly after Gideon realizes this is God speaking...
The Spirit of the Lord took control of Gideon, and he blew the ram’s horn and the Abiezrites rallied behind him.
Gideon went in his own strength... and then God empowered Him!
God will not leave us hanging. He will not abandon those who are obedient to Him. For just as He did for Gideon, He turns to us... showing us the favor of His face, when we cry out to Him in need.
Listen! He is the same God, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Trust Him in this. Let Him be the Ever-Present Favor you need today!
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