Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
- THIS SUNDAY we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and collect the deacon’s offering
- FELLOWSHIP MEAL this Sunday. Please bring a main dish or side / dessert to share.
- NEXT SUNDAY, October 11, we will begin a new officer training course. All men are encouraged to consider joining us. We will meet after worship at Birkes for about an hour.
- WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY will resume next Wednesday, October 7th. Details to come.
- THIS WEEK’s DEVOTION is a reflection from 1 Samuel on the lessons learned from the birth of the prophet Samuel.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Birth of Samuel”
1 Samuel 1:21, “And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord.’”
The story of the birth of the prophet Samuel is a wonderful and rich story that teaches us much about the Christian life and the character of God. Each year, the Godly Hannah would go up with her family to the Tabernacle at Shiloh to worship; and there she would pour out her heart before the Lord asking for a child … but ‘the Lord had closed her womb’ (1 Sam 1:3-6). Hannah often felt as if the Lord had forgotten her; yet she continued to open her heart to him in prayer (v. 11). On one particular occasion, however, Hannah was met by the high priest Eli who said to her: “Go in peace, and God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him” (v. 17). And the section closes with these words, “And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord’” (v. 20). There are three brief lessons to learn from this story.
First, Hannah is a beautiful picture of a saint at prayer. Hannah is grieved and she goes to the Lord in prayer. In fact, she ‘pours out her soul before the Lord’ (v. 15). What a glorious definition of prayer – to pour out our soul before our God. Does this describe your prayer life? Do you pour out your soul to the Lord? In both the joys and the sorrows, in both the hills and the valleys, we are to pour out our soul before the Lord (cf. Heb 4:16).
Second, this narrative teaches us about the character of God. And specifically it teaches us about the faithfulness of God. Note what Hannah says in her vow of v. 11, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and ‘remember me’ and not forget your servant …” And then we note how the passage closes, “And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the ‘Lord remembered’ her” (v. 19b). Hannah prayed that the Lord would remember her …. and the text specifically records for us that the Lord did indeed remember her! Brothers and sisters, the Lord never forgets his people. Although at times we may feel ‘as if’ the Lord has forgotten us, in reality he never forgets us. The prophet Isaiah puts it this way, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me” (Is 49:15-16). The Lord will never forget his people. But he always see and hears his bride!
And third, this narrative teaches us about the plan and purpose of God. Samuel would eventually grow to be a great prophet of God who anoints David as God’s chosen king for his people. So the narrative of Samuel contains a barren woman, a miraculous birth, and a prophet who anoints a king. The discerning reader will have bells going off related to another, similar scene later in redemptive history. The godly Elizabeth was barren, but the Lord opened her womb. And she gave birth to a great prophet, John the Baptist. And of course, John would anoint the king of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. In the life of Hannah, a barren woman who poured out her soul before the Lord, God was working out his marvelous plan of salvation. And brothers and sisters, he is doing the same today in your life and in mine!