Thursday, May 18, 2017

EmmDev 2017-05-18 [Lessons from Samuel] Upcast


Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."
18 She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."      (1Samuel1:17-20)
"Downcast" is a word. "Upcast" isn't really, but it should be - especially for us who believe in God!

As Eli interacts with Hannah, having first "missed" when he thought she was drunk and then scoring two "hits" when he sees her clearly and hears God's whisper, he pronounces a blessing over her: "Go in peace (SHALOM) and may God grant you what you have asked." (Did you notice he offers her a prayer and not a promise? More on this tomorrow...)

And Hannah took her encounter with God through Eli to heart and although nothing had happened yet, her face was "no longer downcast".

Why was her face "upcast"?
What brought back her appetite and brought her to joyful worship?

The answer lies in the name she gives her miracle child:
She calls him "Samuel" - which sounds like the Hebrew word for "hear".

Hannah was "upcast" because she believed that God had heard her. She had been desperate, alone and hopeless and God, through Eli, heard her and gave her a blessing of peace. And she believed it before she went home, before her husband lay with her, and before she knew she was pregnant. She believed because Eli, serving as God's representative, saw her and heard God for her.

We can do the same for others.
When we put aside our preconceived ideas and theories.
When we stop being armchair psychologists and amateur therapists.
When we just make time to see people and understand their stories
When we just listen to them and to God, beautiful things can happen.

How do downcast faces become upcast?
When we know and believe God hears us.
Today we might be able to be the vessels of God's "seeing" and "hearing" for someone who is lonely or in need.
Don't miss the chance to bless them with peace!

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