Family Bible Study lesson for June 23- God Wants Me to Persevere
June 7 2002 by James Baldwin , 1 Samuel 1:1-2,4-7.10-17,19-20

Family Bible Study lesson for June 23: God Wants Me to Persevere | Friday, June 7, 2002

Friday, June 7, 2002

Family Bible Study lesson for June 23: God Wants Me to Persevere

By James Baldwin 1 Samuel 1:1-2,4-7.10-17,19-20

Sisyphus was the legendary king of Corinth according to Greek mythology. As punishment for offending the gods he was condemned to roll a heavy rock up a hill in Hades, only to have it roll down again each time it neared the top.

The legend of Sisyphus has become a symbol for perseverance.

The Greek language has two specific words for perseverance. One pertains to difficult circumstances a person might be forced to bear again and again. The second word refers to a difficult person one might have to endure.

Paul uses the latter word in his list of the fruit of the Spirit.

The story of Hannah helps us understand why this fruit is so sweet.

Provocation (1 Samuel 1:1-2, 4-7) "Elkanah had two wives, one named Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none." In these few words the stage is set for a lifetime of pain and conflict.

In biblical times, having children was a sign of God's blessing upon a family. "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him" (Ps. 127:3).

Inability to conceive, therefore, was a tremendous disgrace to a woman.

Rather than demonstrating compassion toward Hannah, "her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her." It would seem that rivalry between wives would be almost inevitable, especially when they shared the same house and the same husband every day.

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life" (1 Tim. 1:15-16).

The Bible clearly relates patience to mercy and forgiveness. Jesus is the ultimate example of one who demonstrated patience toward us. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).

We are never more Christ-like than when we demonstrate patience and mercy toward those who have wronged us.

Prayer (1 Samuel 1:10-17) Hannah could not do anything about her situation, but she knew the One who could. Three things strike me about the prayer of Hannah.

First, she was honest. "In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord" (v.10). Hannah's prayer may not have sounded very polished, but God heard her prayer because it came from her heart.

Second, she was persistent. "As she kept on praying to the Lord ..." (v.12) is the description of her prayer.

I always knew what my children really wanted for Christmas when they asked me every day for the same thing. Often we give up on God before He is convinced we are serious about our request.

Third, she was trusting. Once Eli assured her that God had heard her request and that it would be answered, "her face was no longer downcast" (v.18).

The Bible says, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Heb. 11:1).

Hannah had only God's word that she would have a son, but that word was all she needed.

Provision (1 Samuel 1:19-20) The bottom line is that God answered Hannah's prayer and provided her with a son.

Let us not ignore the fact, however, that He used Elkanah in the process. "Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her" (v.19).

God certainly could have answered her prayer without Elkanah (after all He did it with Mary.) But more often than not God chooses to use humans to accomplish His will.

I recently received a letter from one of our missionaries who wrote, "I am constantly amazed that God has chosen to use sinful persons such as us to spread the precious gospel of His Son."

Had Elkanah failed in His part of God's plan He would have missed the blessing of partnering with God in the redemption of His people.

The same is true for all of us. Pray that we will not miss the opportunities God places before us.

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6/7/2002 12:00:00 AM by James Baldwin , 1 Samuel 1:1-2,4-7.10-17,19-20 | with 0 comments
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