Downcast no longer

DESPERATE CIRCUMSTANCES
• Hannah was a married woman who had no children and was unable to have children.
• She was married to a man by the name of Elkanah and she was one of two wives.
• The other wife seemed to be very fruitful and had several children.
• Hannah had none.
• In that time a large family was seen as a sign of a blessing and the lack thereof was seen as a curse.
• Hannah had to endure ongoing humiliation and shame.
• To make matters worse, the other wife constantly harassed and taunted her.
• She had desperate circumstances and there appeared to be no hope and no end in sight.
• She really had a raw deal.
• Her name, Hannah, meant ‘woman of grace’ or ‘gracious woman’.
• But it must have been very difficult to be what her name meant when she was surrounded by such desperate, on-going circumstances and issues.
• We know that she often cried and wept and that she would not eat because of all that was going on.

The story of Hannah receiving a kind word of blessing from Eli the priest as a prophecy was a like a gift of faith to fulfill her incredibly earnest desire for a child, dispel her sadness and fill her with a confident hope.

What hope can we receive from the trials we go through and how does our own understanding of who God is give us hope in times of great hopelessness?

  “When we make self the end of
prayer, it is not worship but self-seeking.”
—Thomas Manton

As followers of Christ, we need to choose prayer, not hopelessness.

“It is narratively significant that neither Peninnah or Elkanah will
suffice for hope any longer. But in a moment of decisive action
she turns from both her sociological hope the hope of Peninnah
and her psychological hope her hope with Elkanah to identify
with God alone. – Robert Alter

  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. – 1 Samuel 1:17-18

Marty Nystrom – Why So Downcast (Live)

 

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The name that instills hope

“The root of Jesse shall come,
    the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him the Gentiles shall hope.” – Romans 15:12

The name of Jesus is our sole hope for salvation and for all our needs.  To hope in Jesus means to despise all earthly ties and to desire to walk as one would walk in eternity.  It also means because we live in the promise of being with Him forever, we can bear with patience and peace the losses we experience in this life, even the evil, because He has a place prepared for us.

It is crazy that the people of Israel were taught that the Messiah would be earthly, defeating and humiliating those nations that opposed them from the beginning of time.  I wonder how they took to Isaiah’s words that the Messiah would come and the world would love Him and put their hope in Him.  I am not even sure they were aware of the intimacy that was involved in that hope – God’s love, forgiveness, salvation, heaven, answered prayers and leading us in our journey through life.

The hope has to be in Jesus and yet how tempting it is and how many of us fall into the temptation of putting our hope in our spouse, friends, children, bank accounts, success, government, our own intelligence, strength, academic standings and for some, even our looks. Jesus is both personal and universal, intimate and yet accessible to all.  He is God, He is Emmanuel – God with us, our living hope.

Hope is a person, and His name is Jesus – Darlene Zschech

 Without His name, there is no hope.  As the days seem to be getting darker, this truth becomes even more important.  We need an anchor – it is hope – it is the name of Jesus.

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:  “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.  He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.  In his name the nations will put their hope.” – Matthew 12:17-21

Take the Name Of Jesus With You – Lydia Baxter

Prayer prompts us to continue

He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again – 2 Corinthians 1:10

Prayer prompts us to continue in hope —

I praise You God, my deliverer.

You have unlimited power over the enemy and the trouble I face. I invite You into this situation. Deliver me from evil.

Let Your love and truth be revealed. In Your great power, conquer all that is meant to harm me.

I believe You can do more than I can ask or imagine in love and in obscurity. You delivered people from lions and fire. You can certainly deliver me.

I believe You are already acting on my behalf to deliver me. You are where my help comes from.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Prayer gives us hope today, and peace, and even joy and gratitude. Indeed, “taste and see that the Lord is good” can be our testimony today.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears – Psalm 34:4

Prayer for Hope and Strength

The Power of Praying God’s Words