Daily Devotion for January 9, 2018
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I give you a million thanks that I have woken up alive this morning, once again to witness the magnificence, the glory of your creation. Even on the dreariest of days, when the weather doesn't suit me, let me rejoice in the taste of heaven you give us on earth. For the hottest, muggiest day; the coldest and most bitter weather; the clouds, the rain, the wind and snow, the lightning and thunder — these are all your creations, oh Lord, and all of them have a great beauty if I just take the time to see it.
Should I be blind, what would I give to see the cloudy rainy day that I complain about? Should I be deaf, how much I would long to hear your thunder! When I lie dying, how sweet it will seem to have been bundled up against a chill wind, or to be soaked in sweat as I work in the heat and humidity.
Let me be always filled with gratitude for the world you have given me, great God, Father and creator of all that is.
To Love Others
Holy Lord, give me the grace to embody love for others in spite of what they say or do, and to express the sacrificial love of Jesus by treating others in the way Jesus treated me. My confidence is in You, and I will steadfastly hold fast to You rather than wringing my hands over the evils in this generation.
[“Let not the setting sun go down on hearts distressed with sin . . . .”]
O God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
“The presence of the Holy Spirit is the keystone of all our hopes.”
~ John Nelson Darby
1 Samuel 1:1-20 (ESV)(abridged)
The Birth of Samuel
There was a man whose name was Elkanah. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
ear after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.
Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk.
He said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.”
“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went home. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Notes on the Scripture
There are six primary persons in the Bible, the central figures in epochs of the story of salvation: Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus Christ. (Solomon is the oddball — I named him as a placeholder for the 1,000-year story of the gradual failure of the Law of Moses, for although the failure of the Law began with Solomon, it involved nearly 50 kings of Israel and Judah with unpronounceable names, the Herods being the last.) 1 and 2 Samuel are the story of King David.
David’s history begins with the conception and birth of Samuel. We don’t really know who Eli was or where he came from. When this ancient book begins, Eli is fully grown and an important priest under the Mosaic Law. He seems to be a reasonably conscientious man, but the Hebrew nation (as will be seen) is in bad shape, and Eli’s two sons are ne’er-do-wells who inherit the power of the priesthood on their father’s coattails, rather than due to any merit.
The name “Samuel” meant “heard by God,” hence Hannah’s comment in the last sentence.