Today’s Reading: 1 Sam 1:1–2:21, James 1:1–8, Ps 119:1–16
Today’s Theme: Ask in Faith
Today we begin two new books and in each we learn lessons regarding our faith. We must open our mouth and ask God, with settled faith in our hearts, without doubt, and be prepared for our faith to be tested, to the glory of God.
1 Samuel 1:1–2:21
And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 1 Samuel 1:18 (ESV)
In her distress Hannah could have done anything, but she chose to pour out her heart before God, in prayer.
We can learn from this too, that no matter how stressful and hopeless the situation seems, we can and should cry out to God.
Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 5:6–7 to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
Hannah’s faith was a mature, settled faith, in God and the word of His servant. Notice as this verse indicates, once she received a word from the high priest, she was no longer distressed and went back to eat.
Like Hannah, we must have settled faith and hope in God and His word, as we pray in faith. As we read in James today, a double minded man will receive nothing.
“There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2 (ESV)
In this verse and throughout this prayer, Hannah shows that she clearly knows who God is.
We can tell by this prayer that Hannah’s theology is solid and true and she actually knows God as a friend, unlike the sons of Eli.
In this statement Hannah declares some key attributes of God, namely His holiness, singleness (uniqueness) and immutability (does not change).
In later verses Hannah exalts God’s other attributes, like His Omniscience (knowing everything), Providence and Sovereignty (in control over everything).
We must have good theology from the bible and we should know God, through our relationship with Him, as Hannah did. This will give us strong faith. Knowing God is the foundation of firm faith in God.
The evil of religious activity
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD. 1 Samuel 2:12 (ESV)
Eli’s sons did not know the Lord, they were the opposite of Hannah.
The tragic thing about their lives is that they were also involved in religious activity, which just magnified the evil they already had in their hearts. They were liars, manipulative, greedy and lustful.
There are many today who are religious too, they do not know God, have no faith in Him but are involved in religious practices for what they seem to get out of it, by manipulating others. 2 Timothy 3:5
We are called to know the Lord and to be in relationship with Him, in accordance with His word. We are to serve God with true religion, not with man’s dead, useless and evil ideas of religion. James 1:26-27
The trial of your faith
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2–4 (ESV)
The testing of our faith in God is a necessary part of our lives as Christians. James tells us to not be discouraged by trials, but to see God’s purpose in them.
Trials of our faith come to prove the genuineness of our faith, make us firm in faith and cause our faith to grow so that we can access all that God has for us.
In our Old Testament reading today, Hannah’s faith was tried through what she went through and it made her faith strong.
Be encouraged today as your faith comes under trial, knowing that God has a purpose in it, to make your faith strong. The more a muscle is exercised, the stronger it will become, this is also true of faith.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 (ESV)
What an amazing privilege, our God is not distant, we can ask God knowing that He is willing and desires to answer our prayers.
We should all be humble enough to admit today, that we lack wisdom and so should ask God to grant us wisdom. I am praying this prayer today.
Enjoy and boldly use your privilege today to ask God, the word pray simply means to ask. It brings God pleasure to respond to prayer said in faith.
Do not doubt
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; James 1:7 (ESV)
We are called to firm assurance and faith in a God that we don’t just know about but a God that we actually know.
Do not doubt God’s desires, ability or the promises of His word. Do not doubt when you pray, if you do you will not receive anything. God is calling us to have faith in Him, this is what pleases Him.
Do not be double minded, make up your mind today to believe God.
Store up God’s word
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 (ESV)
We can only live pure lives, the way that God intends, by taking heed to God’s word. We should meditate on and store up God’s word in our hearts.
Mediate on God’s word today, store it up, this will cause your faith to grow.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on James 1