MY PROGRESS IS EVIDENT TO ALL (8 )/ WALK IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled My Progress is evident to all (8 ). Her main scriptures were taken from the Books of 1 Timothy 4:12-16; Gal 5:16- 26; 1 Samuel 1:1-28; 2:1-11.
MAY YOUR PROGRESS BE EVIDENT TO ALL
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:12-16)
Prophetic word: We declare that in Christ, we have entered our Promised Land and our progress is evident to all!
Spiritual maturity manifests as ‘progress’ that can be seen by others. Progress is defined as a slow forward movement towards a goal, to an improved condition in life, on the path to perfection. It means to advance in life, closer to the place where your dreams are fulfilled. The opposite of progress means to go back, to become worse, to sink, to lose benefits, or to waste away. May we pay the price for godly success!
WALK IN THE SPIRIT
“But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do. But if you are guided and led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the Law” (Gal 5:16-18; AMP).
In Greek, the word ‘walk’ means to follow, to behave. It is your lifestyle. Walking is progress. The word ‘fulfill the lust of the flesh’ means to gratify, to accomplish, or to please your flesh. The Holy Spirit is always the Leader. You are the follower. Like the sheep follows her shepherd so you must listen, trust, obey and follow the Holy Spirit. This is the holy road to progress and eternal life. For that, you need to know the Word of God! Like a spoiled child, the flesh is rebellious, restless, foolish, stubborn, and never satisfied. It cannot be led by the Spirit. The flesh moves in the opposite way, out of a natural impulse, and without thinking. It does not care about God or His Word. Selah!
Following the Holy Spirit brings freedom from two terrible unmerciful masters: The flesh, with its never satisfying lusts, and God’s Law, which cannot be totally obeyed by man. It is only the Children of God that can ‘walk in the Spirit’. Flesh is the totality of man that is not under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The body is not evil in itself. But the body is the seat of evil because of its natural desires corrupted by sin. Only the Holy Spirit is able to conquer the flesh. This process is called sanctification. It is done by faith in God’s Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit and under His leadership. The desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit are not just different. They are opposing and contrary. The flesh and the Spirit are constantly at war with one another and there is no possibility of making peace. If one wins, the other loses. It is only the child of God that experiences this conflict between his flesh and the Spirit. It is an unpleasant feeling, but it is a proof that you are born again. Selah!
JESUS HAS DELIVERED ME FROM THIS BODY OF DEATH
“But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7:13-25)
When God sent His Law thru Moses, it was not to be a means of salvation. No man can completely obey it. God does not accept partial obedience to His Law. The function of God’s Law is to expose sin. If it is not for God’s Law, man cannot believe that he is a sinner in need of a Savior. In practical experience, it means that once I read the Bible and know God’s Law, my life became worse. Thru the law of God, my mind, my conscience became convicted of sin. I now want to repent, to change. But I discovered that I do not have the power to change myself. The Law convicts me but does not help me and does not have mercy on me. This battle between flesh and spirit starts. For the first time in my life, I now discover that I live in ‘a body of death’. This body is a slave to its lusts. I cannot become free. I do the very things I now hate. I become a hopeless and ‘a wretched man’. I struggle like a man drowning in the ocean. Conviction of sin is a terrible time. The fire of God burns all flesh. All saints testify to that. At last, defeated by God’s Law, I discover my need for a Savior. The Holy Spirit leads me to Jesus. I now see that Jesus died for me, for my sins. I cling to Jesus like a desperate dying man. As I surrender my whole life to Jesus, He reveals Himself to me in His power and His glory! I bow at His feet as a dead man. His Spirit comes into my heart and takes over my life. This is the miracle of salvation. I am now born again! I now have eternal life! Jesus is my Savior and my Lord! From now on, I will learn to walk in the Spirit and crucify the flesh. Glory!
THE WORKS OF THE FLESH
“The practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-21; AMP)
The works (practices) of the flesh ‘are evident’. In Greek, the word ‘evident’ means to be obvious, visible, shining like a light. The sins of the flesh cannot be hidden. Look for them and you will find them. See the difference: The flesh ‘works’ like a slave, and the Spirit produces fruit like a prince, just by abiding, and without working. The flesh is restless and impatient. The Spirit is calm, peaceful, powerful, and fruitful.
The works of the flesh are divided into four parts: sexual sins, religious sins, uncontrolled excessive sinful emotions, and social sins.
*Adultery and fornication are sexual acts done outside the bond of marriage. These also include lustful imaginations and pornography. Paul wrote these words about 2000 years ago. God’s Word does not change. Even now, adultery is a serious problem. One out of four marriages end in divorce. Adultery is one of the main reasons for divorce. Before Christianity, the pagan cultures accepted fornication as normal. It was Christianity that brought the idea of being sexually faithful in the marriage between a man and a woman. This sexual purity is revolutionary.
*Uncleanness means to be morally impure. Impurity means something dirty, unclean, a mixture of two components. As there are healthy and sick people, so the Bible recognizes spiritually clean and unclean people. This word describes a wound infected with pus. In the Old Testament, touching the dead, or leprosy made a man spiritually unclean. That man has to live an isolated life so that he will not affect others with his impurity. This is God’s law: Sin pollutes man and makes him unclean. An unclean person cannot approach God. It is only thru union with Christ that are sinner can be cleansed from the pollution of sin. Spiritual and physical sexual purity is needed to come close to God.
*Lewdness, debauchery, or licentiousness means the habitual indulgence in sensuality. It is an addiction to sexual lust. It is a lifestyle of excess, of wild partying. It lacks shame or self-control. It describes someone who does not care about what others think about him. It includes violence, unrestrained sex, drunkenness, and rude talk. It is an unholy behavior. No believer should be found living in debauchery. The prodigal son wasted all his money in ‘debauchery’ (Lk 15:13). Drinking alcohol and drugs can lead to wasted life of debauchery. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18; NIV). Lewdness is defeated only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
*Idolatry means loving something or someone more than God. It includes worshiping family and friends or making gods in our imagination. It is said that the two greatest idols among men are materialism (love of money) and love of pleasure.
*Sorcery, also called witchcraft, means using the power of evil spirits for your selfish benefit. Sorcery is used to cause harm to others by deceiving them. It manifests as wickedness, manipulation, or casting spells. There are some people who practice witchcraft habitually. Sorcery in that sense is forbidden by God. But here, sorcery is described as a work of the flesh. That means all sinners have the power to use demons, become wicked and deceive others. This activity of the flesh is done knowingly or not. False prophets, false teachers, use sorcery to deceive others, to trust them and their words. Seducing spirits can attract their victims against their wills. In Greek, the word ‘sorcery’ is ‘pharmakeia’ from which the word ‘Pharmacy’ comes. In the past, people thought that sorcery is like giving drugs or poison to others.
*Heresies is belief in doctrines that the main church rejects. Heresies become sects and cults outside the main Christianity.
EXCESSIVE UNCONTROLLED SINFUL EMOTIONS
*Hatred is a strong negative feeling of dislike, anger, or bitterness, by declaring another an enemy. It is connected with murder in the heart.
*Contention means strife, lack of agreement and bitter struggle against others, ending in quarrels and fights.
*Jealousies, envies. Envy is a bitter desire to have something that belongs to another- his wealth, position, or success. Jealousy is the fear of losing something or someone that we possess. Envy is connected with covetousness and jealousy is connected with fear.
*Outbursts of wrath describes passionate extreme anger and loss of temper. It manifests as violent quarrel and a desire to punish others.
*Selfish ambition is the proud desire to succeed at the expense of others. The good plan you have in life is all about you and none for others.
*Dissension, rivalry means strong disagreement of opinions, competition for leadership and refusal to settle. It divides the unity of the church.
*Murder is the unlawful, wicked, or premeditated killing of one human being by another. Murder is a sin against God’s law (Ex 20:13)
*Drunkenness means taking an overdose of alcohol. It affects the mind and the body. The drunkard temporarily loses his self-control.
*Revelry means a noisy, joyful, partying usually accompanied with drinking alcohol, drugs, laughing loudly, singing, dancing, and wild behavior.
Apostle Paul said that “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21). All unbelievers go to hell. The road to hell is paved with these works of the flesh! A true believer may fall into sin, but he repents and stands again to walk in the Spirit!
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites” (Gal 5:22-24; AMP)
The fruit of the Spirit is the harvest produced by the Holy Spirit in the human spirit of the believer. The Holy Sprit works inside, sometimes faster, and sometimes slower. The fruit affects the character of the believer. The fruit is different from the gifts of the Spirit which are powers given by the same Holy Spirit for the work of God. The fruit of the Spirit is the visible manifestation of Christ dwelling within. Selah!
In Greek, the word love is ‘agape’. This love of God manifests in creation, in the general grace to all, but especially in the death of Jesus on the Cross. It is a sacrificial love manifesting only in the believer, as a desire to worship God and to help others for Christ’ sake. We are commanded to love God and one another (1 Jn 4:11). The opposite of love means to be distant, not caring, or cold hearted. Many books have been written about love but words are not enough to describe it. The greatest love is described by Jesus: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). Jesus Himself did not just preach about love. He had to die to show us what love is! Glory to God!
Joy is a blessed calm delight much deeper than what the world calls ‘happiness’. It is specific to the believers and is independent from the circumstances. Joy manifests as spiritual and physical strength. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10). Lovers are always strong and joyful! Joy is a constant fruit, but it manifests in a greater measure when worshipping in God’s presence or when prayers are answered. This joy cannot be faked. It is extremely powerful. It is magnetic. Somebody said that ‘joy is the flag on top of the soul castle when the King of kings is in residence’. A sad Christian does not exist. He may feel low sometimes, but joy springs again, visible to all. Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies because I rejoice in Your salvation” (1 Sam 2:1). “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps 16:11). Joy is a heavenly emotion (Lk 15:7). Heaven rejoices with sinners are saved. Joy accompanies salvation. A backslider does not lose his salvation, but he loses his joy. King David prayed not only for forgiveness of sins, but for his joy to be restored. “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Ps 51:12).
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (Jam 1:2-4). No unbeliever can rejoice during the trials of life. But the believer manifests this fruit of joy, in season and outside season. How can a believer rejoice during trials? He knows that God is with him! He also knows that God has allowed this trial to come for a greater purpose. Pain becomes patience on the way of spiritual perfection and progress in life. God alone produces joy, thru the Holy Spirit in your human spirit. Joy is also a choice. During trials, you chose to respond with peace and joy knowing that you are not alone. God is with you! His presence is all that matters! This joy is not fake. It is real!
Peace is a feeling of rest, of calmness. The world describes peace as the absence of war. But in the Bible, peace is more than lack of trouble. It describes a total wellbeing, living in harmony, being made whole. In Hebrew, the word peace is Shalom. It is a great word. It describes peace and prosperity, favor and friends, health, and wealth. The peace of God is not influenced by the circumstances. It is stronger than them. One of God’s names is Jehovah Shalom (Jdg. 6:24). In Greek, the word peace is ‘eirene’. It describes rest and unity among the different parts. There is no division where there is peace. It also means a state of complete satisfaction. Peace cannot be manufactured by men. It is purely the gift of God and the fruit of God’s Spirit in the heart of His child. There are three types of peace: We have peace with God, peace with men, and peace with ourselves. Peace comes knowing that God is totally in control. The opposite of peace is strife, grudges, quarrels, and troubles. But even in troubles, knowing that Jesus ‘is in your boat’ brings ‘the peace that passes all understanding’ (Phil 4:7). Peace is the road towards spiritual progress and hope of glory! “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom 5:1-4). The Cross made peace between God and man. “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col 1:19, 20).
Longsuffering means to be patient like God. It means to endure trials, to suffer long without complaining. During trials, a patient man chose to stay calm and faithful to God. He does not lose his temper or try to seek vengeance. He trusts God for strength and justice. Longsuffering is not weakness. Only those who are Spirit-filled can manifest the fruit of longsuffering, especially under provocation. They do not submit to the outside attacks. They remain calm, trusting God. Longsuffering is connected with mercy and compassion. The opposite of it is to be tired of life and complain. This fruit of the Spirit gives strength to a believer to endure pain, persecutions, and provocation without fear!
God is longsuffering! “Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation” (Exo 34:5-7).
God is longsuffering with men, but His longsuffering has a limit. You see that in destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and in the sending of His people from the Promised Land into exile to Babylon. We are commanded to be longsuffering and kind to others as God is towards men. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph 4:31-32).
Kindness is active goodness. It is being caring or concerned for the well-being of others while being gentle, generous, and loving. Longsuffering and Kindness are attributes of agape love. “Love suffers long and is kind” (1 Cor 13:4). Goodness is internal and invisible. Kindness manifests through acts of help. Kindness is generous with time, effort, and resources. A kind person is a good listener, an encourager and treats others with respect. Joseph treated his brothers with kindness. Boaz and Ruth were both kind people. The Good Samaritan was also a kind man.
Goodness applies to moral character. In Greek it means to have an upright heart like God’s. It is a manifestation of being holy. A good person desires to be like Jesus and to be a blessing to others. Goodness manifests itself as being kind, honest, and helpful. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Ps 145:8, 9).
Faithfulness means to be full of faith. It also means to be loyal to God, to His promises, and to His people. Faithfulness means that you trust God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. You do not depend on what you see. You depend on what God says. All people of faith believed in the invisible work of God. Abraham and Sarah did not see their descendants numerous as stars. But they believed God’s promise and they had Isaac, thru which ‘the stars’ came. Moses did not enter the Promised Land, but he believed what God has promised. Faithfulness means to stay stable and constant in your faith. Faith is both a fruit and a gift of the Holy Spirit. The opposite of faithfulness is to become a traitor.
Gentleness means total submission to God’s will that brings contentment in life. It is also translated as humility, mildness, or meekness. It is not a form of weakness. To be gentle under provocation requires moral strength kept under control. It manifests as thanksgiving to God and being polite and respectful towards men. Gentle people are spiritual and easy to talk to. They are the best teachers especially when there is need for rebuke or correction. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (PV 15:1; NIV). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Gal 6:1).
“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim 2:24-26). The opposite of gentleness is to be harsh or rough.
God’s gentleness is the source of progress in life. “Your gentleness has made me great” (Ps 18:35).
Self-control means will power to keep your emotions submitted to God; to be disciplined and sober, especially during provocation. The opposite is to lack restrain, to be wild in behavior and speech. Self-control means to master yourself. It reveals a champion, one who has disciplined his body and his mind, to win the gold medal. Self-control is the door to true freedom from the wicked destructive lusts of the flesh. It manifests as the joy of the champion with the medal on his neck!
FRUITS ARE FREEDOM
“Against such there is no law” (Gal 5:23)
All these fruits of the Holy Spirit bring the blessing of protection from the law of God. In heaven and on earth, there is no law against them. Having these fruits releases the believer from guilt, or condemnation. These are the fruits of spiritual maturity, freedom, and progress. When the unbelievers say they want freedom, what they mean is to become lawless, selfish, and wild. Their so-called freedom is a cover for sin. But that is not true freedom! It is bondage! But the believer is free indeed by the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit. He gladly submits to God’s law, obeying it, and also helping men do the same. They do not abuse freedom. They submit to the law of Christ which is the law of love!
CRUCIFY THE FLESH AND WALK IN THE SPIRIT
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. We must not become conceited, challenging, or provoking one another, envying one another” (Gal 5:24-26; AMP).
Practically, how do we make spiritual progress? We need to walk in the Spirit and then, the fruits will grow. Our flesh will lose its power to work sinful acts. How do we learn to walk led by the Spirit? Read the Bible, fast, and pray. Attend a living church. Serve God in any capacity in His house. Submit to God and to His delegated authority in your church. As you are busy with spiritual things, the flesh will be tired to ask for attention. Eventually, the flesh will be defeated. The spirit in you will become stronger. This is the royal way of the Cross.
It is important to be aware of the reality of this conflict between flesh and spirit. Do not be ignorant. For as long as we live, there is this internal spiritual conflict. The flesh has its own desires. The devil will take advantage of them. By the power of the Holy Spirit, you need to choose to walk in the Spirit. This conflict is proof that you are saved. The devil does not attack the unbelievers with the same force. Remember your freedom. Also, remember that sinful thoughts are not sins except you chose to welcome them. Temptation is not sin. Falling in the midst of temptation, that is sin. Do not stop walking in the Spirit. Do not give up on God or on yourself. This conflict is like a marathon. It lasts until your last breath. If you fall into sin, repent, and then you get up. You are a winner! That is your destiny approved in heaven and worked on earth!
The flesh produces ‘works’. This word is in plural. The Spirit produces ‘fruit’. It is singular. ‘The slices of the fruit of the Spirit are united and work well together creating an organic unit. But the flesh ‘parts’ quarrel with one another.
Walking by the Spirit is the only way to make progress in life. As believers we enter into a new way of life. The past is fading and the new life, the higher Christ-life, becomes our portion and destiny. Walking in the Spirit is the only cure to stagnation or backsliding.
Hagar and Peninnah are symbols of the works of the flesh. Sarah and Hannah are symbols of the fruit of the Spirit.
All God’s promises are given to The Seed, to Jesus. God has no promises outside Jesus! If you have Jesus, by God’s grace, you shall grow like a tree planted by the river of life. If you have Jesus, you will make progress. If you have Jesus, then you have everything you need!
WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them” (Matt 7:15-19).
Jesus warns us about the false religious believers. Who are these people? They are in the churches. They say that they believe the Bible, but they do not apply the Word of God in practical life. They preach an easy salvation and a cheap grace. They avoid some topics. For example, they do not preach about the Cross of Christ, hell, repentance, or self-examination. They preach that Jesus has come to make you happy and wealthy. Listen to this spiritual law: Doctrine influences behavior! Whatever teaching you believe, if it is true or false, it will eventually manifest for all to see. Christianity is a miracle! Jesus said: ‘You must be born again’! These false believers are not born again. They have done some ‘spiritual cosmetic surgery’. They have stopped committing some major visible sins like adultery or drinking alcohol. But their hearts have not changed. They dress in ‘sheep’s clothing’ but inwardly they are still like ravenous – extremely hungry- wolves. This is the danger of hypocrisy!
Jesus said that all men are divided into two groups: good and bad. In other words, there are believers and unbelievers. Symbolically, they are like good trees and bad trees. Each type of tree produces its own fruit. There is no mixture in between. A good tree can only produce good fruit. These are the true believers. They cannot produce bad fruit. They cannot habitually practice wickedness again. The religious unbelievers produce bad fruit. They cannot produce the good fruit of the Holy Spirit. These are like the bad trees that will be cut down and thrown into the fire of hell. They are proud. They are wicked. They do not care if they break your purse or your heart. True believers are sober and joyful at the same time. These fake believers are always superficial in doctrine and behavior. What can we do to discover these people? Jesus warns us to look for the fruit of the Spirit. It may take time. Be patient. Wait! Test a man before you trust him! There is a danger of being deceived and misled by false prophets. But once you find a good tree, submit, and eat from its fruit! Selah!
HANNAH GRACE (1 Sam 1 and 2)
This is the story of Hannah, a woman of God. Her name means Grace. She was barren because ‘The Lord closed her womb’ (1 Sam 1:5). In Hebrew, the word ‘closed’ means to shut down for repairs; to isolate for quarantine. Her husband, Elkanah, married a second wife called Peninnah, possibly to have children. But Elkanah loved Hannah. Each year, they all go to Shiloh, where God’s temple is, to worship God. Peniniah is a wicked woman. She represents the works of the flesh. She provokes Hannah who represents the fruit of the Spirit. Hannah, in great sorrow and pain, goes to pray. The word ‘prayer’ appears 6 times in 1 Samuel 1. See the importance of prayer!
Hannah asked God for a son. She vows to God that her son will be given back to God to serve Him all the days of his life. God answers her prayers. Hannah has a baby boy. She names him Samuel ‘God has heard my prayer’. She brings her son to God! God gives her five other children. Her first son is Samuel, becomes a great man of God. He is a prophet, a leader, and a judge in Israel. God uses him to bring revival in Israel. He anoints the first two kings of Israel, Saul, and David. Outwardly, Hannah was just an ordinary woman. She was a housewife. But thru her faith and prayers, she touches God who opens the womb that He has once closed. Hannah is not a queen but she speaks like a queen. She is not a prophet but she speaks like a prophet. She is a true servant of God! Hannah believes in the power of resurrection. Hannah believes in the power of prayer. She prayed that God remembers her. When she knew that it was God who closed her womb ‘for repairs’ she did not get angry with God. She did not become bitter like Naomi. She prayed to the same God who shut the womb knowing that He is the only one who will open it once the ‘repairs’ were finished. She prayed to God, Jehovah Sabaoth, the God of the armies of heaven. She saw God as the surgeon who will operate on her womb. She had faith that her time on the surgical theater is not wasted, but it is a time of healing for her. This faith helped her to endure faithfully, even when Peninnah provoked her with malice.
Hannah did what Eli failed to do! She proved that you can love God more than children! She passed the test of a true worshipper. Eli failed to pass that same test. Hannah became the leader of anointing in Israel. Samuel carried her anointing into his ministry. This is a reminder that you do not need to hold an official position or title in the church to become a true leader. The title of a pastor or bishop does not come with the anointing. You have to receive that anointing from God and not from men!
As you can see, Eli, was the high priest at that time but he was a weak man. He is also a weak father. God chastises him for not restraining his two sons, Hophni and Phineas. They were also priests. But their behavior was openly rebellious against God. “So the sin of the [two] young men [Hophni and Phinehas] was very great before the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD disrespectfully” (1 Sam 2:17; AMP). God punished this priestly family. Father and both sons died in the same day. From this moment on, God opened the way for Samuel to step into the spiritual gap and to lead Israel, as a judge, priest, and prophet! Selah!
Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, stands for God. He asked her: “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” (1 Sam 1:8). This is God’s voice to the barren Hannah. God wanted her to love Him more than children. Jesus said: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 10:37-39). Once Hannah loved God more than her own life, she was ready for her miracle! God remembered her. He gave her Samuel. The dead womb became fruitful! At that time, Israel was backsliding as a nation. Through her son, the nation enters into a new realm. Israel becomes a Kingdom. In that darkness, God uses a simple woman to shine the light of revival in the nation! May this be our story! Worship the Lord!