Posted by: arieliondotcom | March 18, 2013

Expecting as Expected (1 Samuel 1-3)

GOD fulfills His promises, not our prerequisites. The “Name it and Claim it” philosophy of so many Christians today, “speaking things into being” is a lie. It’s not even “new age” teaching, but very old age magic, shamanism. There is Scriptural emphasis that we get what we expect to get from GOD. But those things are very different. One is about trying to use magic words and magic thoughts to manipulate GOD and circumstances. The latter is about having an attitude of expectancy, a hope based on Scripture, that your Spiritual life is secure and you can expect to be blessed because GOD has promised blessings if based on His Word. Not for cars or jobs or money, but for attitude and perspective. We get what we expect to get if we hope in the Truth of GOD’s Word.

In today’s Scripture, Hannah is expecting as expected. She becomes pregnant and bears a son because she believes GOD for it. But also because it is His Will. There are many women who are childless though begging the LORD to bear a child today but times have changed. In today’s world there are children longing to be adopted and there is no shame as there was in that day. There is no preference for a boy over a girl as a life and death means to run a farm and keep a family name alive. If you long for a child today and cannot bear one physically, ask and trust, but if you don’t get that longing fulfilled look to what other child the LORD is calling you to fill your arms, heart and life with. They are waiting for you, if you look. Perhaps in the womb of a woman who plans to murder them in abortion if no family steps up.
Hannah was expecting as expected and had her expectations come true. She cried so long and so hard for a son that words couldn’t even escape her any longer. She groaned the type of groaning too deep for words that Scripture describes. The Holy Spirit takes up such groans as a prayer when ours can no longer find the words. It’s the silent gasping of our hearts as we pour out our souls.

How are you praying for what you are expecting? Are you praying at all? Or is it just a tossed off prayer now and then like a letter to Santa Claus by a child or a lottery ticket bought “just in case” as you pass the drugstore?

Eli was priest in those days, and judge of Israel as well. He chastises Hannah for being drunk as she begs silently in prayer, her lips moving but no words coming out. But she explains she is not drunk. In fact, Jewish commentators say that what is translated in English Bibles as “No, my Lord” (as in “No I’m not drunk”) is actually “You must not be my Lord” (You must not have the LORD’s Spirit to have authority over me because if you had the Spirit of GOD you wouldn’t falsely accuse me based on appearance.”)

Whether that’s what she meant or not, it was true. Eli was being a hypocrite. His own sons, underling priests, were stealing the sacrifices meant for GOD and having sex with women at the door of the tabernacle, probably against their will. They abused their authority and made threats. Eli, who should have severely punished them, perhaps even had them killed, does nothing. Yet he’s accusing the righteous Hannah unjustly. Even the judges of Israel couldn’t be trusted any longer.

Eli blesses Hannah and she has the child Samuel. GOD uses the blessings of Eli as priest for the sake of his office, not for his personal actions. And Hannah expects, being blessed, she has her prayer. Where in the past she’d cry and not eat, now she was comforted and ate in expectation of an answer from GOD.

Samuel, is that answer, like a gulp of air after being submerged in the dark travesties we’ve been reading about in the book of Judges and now even in the lives of Eli and his sons. Samuel, the three-year-old boy dedicated to the LORD from his mother’s womb and given to Him to serve in the Tabernacle from childhood. Hannah would only see Samuel yearly but GOD would give her three other sons and two daughters to fill her life in between. And one gets the sense that her own husband, who had been jealous of her desire for a son, is like another son to her, accustomed to having all her attention before Samuel was born.

A man of GOD warns Eli of doom and destruction coming on his family line because he did not discipline his wayward sons. And what’s Eli’s reaction? Does he beg the LORD to reconsider? Does he repent and discipline his sons? No. His reaction is what it has always been. “Oh well.” He was expecting no change and got none. He was expecting no mercy and got none.

Little Samuel sleeps by the Ark of the Covenant in its warm light and we are told that GOD Himself (perhaps a pre-incarnate form of JESUS) stands by calling to him. Confused, he runs to Eli to ask what he wants, thinking it’s Eli that’s calling him. Eli finally realizes it’s the LORD speaking to the little boy and tells him how to respond. But Eli, sleeping far from the Ark himself, in the dark, nearly blind, makes no attempt to call on the LORD himself. He didn’t expect the LORD to talk to him and he got what he expected. Instead, the LORD spoke to this child who tells Eli the great horror that will befall all future generations of Eli’s family. And what is Eli’s response? “It is what it is.”

Hannah in spite of how she was treated and in spite of circumstances poured herself into prayer to GOD for mercy for what she longed for, a son. And afterward she praised the LORD as the One who blessed the barren with many children and soon had many children besides Samuel. Hannah received blessings of faith not because she “named it and claimed it” or spoke anything into being, but because she asked the One she believed was merciful enough to listen and powerful enough to answer and He did.

JESUS Christ calls us to believe Him as the LORD and Savior He says He is and to trust Him completely and implicitly. What are you expecting of Him? You will receive what you expect you will receive, not because you thought it into being but because what you think of Him and His promises matters.

CS Lewis said, “In the midst of a world of light & love, of song & feast, Lucifer could find nothing to think of more interesting than his own prestige.” Those who would tell you to “name it and claim it” and “speak blessings into being” are superstitious fools. They ‘re magicians and manipulators. Like Lucifer they only look to this world when Christ offers them eternity instead. If you are expecting GOD to grant your whims on your words you’re bound for unexpected suffering. But if you expect the best of Christ based on His Word, you will experience the satisfaction you expect and eternal joy beyond your expectations.

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