In a godless environment, a godly man like Elkanah was like a breath of fresh air. He made time to honour God. Yearly, he would take his family to the Sanctuary in Shiloh. And there they would worship and sacrifice to the one God that matters most in their lives. Elkanah’s desire to worship God is a model for us. Like him, we all must learn to schedule times in our life to connect with God and worship Him.
In 1 Samuel 1:4-8, we find Elkanah making sure that his family joined him in this annual pilgrimage to Shiloh. He would take his wives, Hannah and Peninnah, along with him. Hannah was likely to be his first wife, but unfortunately, she was barren. This could be the reason that led Elkanah to take for himself another wife. His intention, we surmise was to ensure that he had a son to continue the family name. This arrangement was a common practice in the Old Testament. However, disruption to harmonious living in such a family with such a situation would be expected. Peninnah, the second wife, though she could bear children, was not Elkanah’s favourite.
Verse 5 tells us that Elkanah loved Hannah more and would show more exceptional favour to her although she could not bear him a son. However, we know that her barrenness was a divine act. This same verse tells us explicitly that God had closed her womb. But the completion of the Bible gives us modern readers the advantage of knowing that she eventually conceived and bore Samuel. Her experience helps us see that her condition made her seek the Lord even more earnestly. One lesson we can glean from this is that our lack in life need not be a deficit, it could be an indication of a need to draw closer to God. It could be God’s way of helping us to clarify our vision and increase our trust in Him.
Without a doubt, like Elkanah’s day, ours are also inundated with godless activities that appeal to the natural man. We are constantly tempted by them to join in the fun they offer. Yet we need to know that making time for God is necessary for our spiritual well-being. And to make time for God is a decision. It is a choice we all will have to deliberately make. The wonderful news for us today is that we have God with us all the time. He is always available. And we can cultivate the awareness of His presence each moment in life. What can prevent us are the pressing activities of daily living. But no matter how legitimate they may seem to be, we must not neglect to make time to worship God. We must make time for church weekly, and we must also make time for devotion and prayer daily.
Two lessons to take away. Firstly, we must all make time to be with God in spite of the vying activities of life. Take time to join with the larger fellowship of saints in worshipping God each week, but we must also make daily private devotional time for God. Secondly, our lack in life need not be a deficit or a disadvantage. When we see it in perspective, it can be a God-allowed catalyst to drive us to seek Him, even more earnestly. We must trust Him to work out His plan for our life!
Monday – Psalm 5:1-3
Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
Tuesday – James 4:8
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Wednesday – Micah 4:2
Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Thursday – Matthew 11:28
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Friday – Psalm 27:4
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
Saturday – 1 Timothy 6:11
But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
Sunday – Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
All scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible 1995
By Pastor Clarence Goh