A wonderful deliverance

Rejoicing Women - Fifth in a Series

continued from previous post

After Hannah fulfilled her vow to dedicate Samuel to God's service, her heart was filled with praise and rejoicing, Mine horn is exalted in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. (1 Sam 2:1)

An interesting footnote is found in Robert Jamieson's commentary regarding the horn:

mine horn is exalted in the Lord — Allusion is here made to a peculiarity in the dress of Eastern women about Lebanon, which seems to have obtained anciently among the Israelite women, that of wearing a tin or silver horn on the forehead, on which their veil is suspended. Wives, who have no children, wear it projecting in an oblique direction, while those who become mothers forthwith raise it a few inches higher, inclining towards the perpendicular, and by this slight but observable change in their headdress, make known, wherever they go, the maternal character which they now bear.

To Hannah, her deliverance from infertility was salvation.

Have you ever desired a treasure so keenly that you exalted it above any other good? If you could not have it, you would die or never be at peace. Then, the Lord fulfilled your heart's desire and you knew only he could have answered your prayer. Exalting him in prayer and song, especially acknowledging his incomparable holiness and strength, would be a right response, There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. (1 Sam 2:2)

Such deliverances are performed today as they were in Bible times, but the mature know better than to set any desire above devotion to Christ. If another desire should take precedence, it is time to reorder priorities.

But was Hannah's desire for a child an affront to God, or outside of his will? No, it would honor him for she was created to be a mother, though the second wife somewhat deflated that mission.

In our deepest desires and prayers for these, if we know God approves of our request, we can trust he will be glorified in its attainment. Even more, if he does not answer in the affirmative, his "No" has greater blessing in store than we can ever imagine, if we will trust in his goodness.

It is in waiting that discouragements and confusion arise in the human heart. However, in waiting, good outcomes are fashioned, even as we blindly reach for help and at times consider ourselves forgotten or unreachable because of our own faults. God is at work. Events must be set in order. In Hannah's case, it was necessary for Eli to be instrumental in the answer to her prayer.

If we do not have human enemies to endure as we seek deliverance, the Adversary is pleased to provoke us to tears and cause us loss of appetite. Indeed, as you press into the Lord for help and answers, you will be opposed by seen and unseen foes. However, as Hannah's song celebrates:

  • Their attacks are well known by God and will be stopped (1 Sam 2:3, 4).
  • The Lord is a righteous judge who abases the proud and exalts the humbled soul (1 Sam 2:5).
  • His power to revive or desolate, to establish or destroy cannot be successfully challenged (1 Sam 2:6-8).
  • Those who belong to him will be guided carefully to eternal life, and in the contest of wills with those who despise him, he will win (1 Sam 2:9-10).

Hannah's song celebrates the Lord as a mighty deliverer who helps his children. The Lord is mindful of his own.

The Jordan

The River - Sixth in a series

The Jordan speaks to us of initiation. Jesus was baptized there before he began his public ministry.

The Jordan itself was baptized by fire when the Lord rained down brimstone and fire from heaven, transforming its beautiful plain into a dead sea (Gen 19:24), still the lowest place one earth.

Elisha parted its waters, initiating his own ministry, by striking it with Elijah's mantle that fell as he traveled to heaven in a whirlwind. (2 Ki 2:14) Elisha considered it a better river than any other nation's because it belonged to God's covenant people. Thus he sent Naaman the leper to dip in it seven times for healing. (2 Ki 5:10) The Jordan cooperated with Elisha, even floating an axe head for him in a time of need. (2 Kings 6:5, 6)

The Jordan parted its waters for the priests carrying the ark of the covenant as the Hebrews crossed over to Canaan after their 40 years in the desert, initiating their reign in the promised land, and Jericho knew it! (Joshua 3:15, 16)

Jacob was by a stream that flows to the Jordan when he wrestled all night with the angel and was then renamed to Israel, initiating the designation of God's people (Gen 32:28).

Gideon crossed over the Jordan with his 300 troops "faint though pursuing" to return control to Israel after the Midianites had bullied them long enough, initiating a new day of rulership for the Lord. (Jdg 8:4)

It is still a river in Israel that does not dry up, a nahar, and a river of man in the sense that it is not generally chosen for navigation by vessels due to its course and seasonal fluctuations, but man's uses of it are many. In fact, it is still used for the baptism of Christians in Israel, mostly for tourists.

Jesus also spoke of a baptism not of water: "But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" (Luke 12:50) He would be immersed in suffering to the end that we might be reconciled with the Father.

He was anxious to accomplish this baptism and wanted us to understand that if we are faithful, we will also receive that second type of baptism, as he continued in his teaching, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three." (Luke 12:51, 52)

All those truly initiated to Life are initiated to War. May the Lord keep us afloat by rivers of his mercy.