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Not by Might

  • 10 May 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Strong man breaking concrete slabsI appreciate Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving after God provides a son. One of the themes in her prayer is that it is not by human strength that one prevails (1 Samuel 2:9-10). She saw it firsthand when God answered her heartfelt prayer for a child. Yet, Hannah extends her application of the lesson to more universal matters. We need to do our part, but ultimately, it’s God’s strength, often working through His people, that will make a lasting difference.

This theme reminds me of one of my favorite passages in Zechariah 4:6-9. Zerubbabel had already laid the foundation of the temple. However, the daunting task of actually building the structure itself lay before him. As leaders, we regularly face significant challenges as we seek to follow God’s truth and His leading in our lives. God’s word to us is: “You can’t do it in the way I desire in your own strength, but with the help of My Spirit, you can.”

Hassled by Others

  • 26 April 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Hannah prayingHannah knew what it was like to have someone hassle her (1 Samuel 1:1-8). The source of the ridicule was her husband’s other wife, Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none, so Penninah bugged her about it. In fact, whenever they went up to the house of the Lord, Hannah’s rival provoked her until she wept and would not eat. We know that Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, loved Hannah. Yet, I wonder why he didn’t step in and confront Penninah’s inappropriate behavior (Elkanah’s inaction is a good reminder that we need to support those who are being treated unfairly and to even attempt to make the situation better).  Perhaps, you are in a work or school situation where someone is provoking you. Hannah ultimately took the matter to God in prayer and God responded. Obviously, we may need to take other steps, but prayer is always the best place to start and proceed.

The Lord Knows

  • 19 April 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Crowd with the words "God sees"Hannah’s prayer, after God gives her a son, is a wonderful testimony to God’s ability to see everything (1 Samuel 2:2-10). At one point, she prays, “The Lord is a God who knows” (v. 3). God knows everything. He sees us and everything that happens to us. Not only does He see it all, but He assesses the actions that unfold before Him (v. 10). When someone acts with kindness, God sees it and judges accordingly. When someone is mean, God knows all about it and weighs that deed on His scales of judgement. What a comfort and challenge to be known by One who sees everything.