Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat. “Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” 1 Samuel 1:7-8
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:1-5
But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end. Hebrews 3:12-14
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
While we might be tempted to read “ego” into Elkanah’s word to Hannah, this would be a far cry from what is really happening here. In the culture of that day, Elkanah’s words could only be interpreted as words of compassion and encouragement because they fly in the face of the conventional attitude and treatment a man of that day would exhibit toward a wife who was barren. So far, we have allowed Hannah’s experience to represent our own struggle with trials and detractors that bring us into the “pit” instead of walking with God on the higher plane to which He calls us as believers.
And now we will let Elkanah represent the support system available to us from other believers who bring into our lives the encouragement we need to let God lift us out of the pit and on to the higher plane of faith and favor. The four New Testament passages above clearly express God’s plan for how His church takes care of its people by providing the support we need for navigating the Christian life in the midst of difficult events and people that might otherwise derail us so that we find ourselves in the “pit” so to speak. It is always God who lifts us up to that higher plane of His presence and perspective. It is the encouragement of His people that supports us in our pursuit of knowing God intimately and walking with Him victoriously in the midst of life’s obstacles.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I am committed to the pursuit of knowing you intimately and walking with you victoriously in the midst of life’s obstacles. Please connect me with others with the same commitment so that together we can support each other in living on the higher plane you have called us to. Amen!
Posted on Wed, July 19, 2017
by Ken Hart