Rev. In Kee Kim:
Thank you choir for the beautiful music. Samuel was a very important person in the Old Testament. He kind of made a new history for Israel. Until Samuel Israel had no king, leaders just arose from anywhere and took over and then they fought for Israel. There was no central government or central system, no kingship. It was Samuel who brought kingship to Israel. Only with Samuel, Israel became a kingdom. He also recruited and anointed David, who basically gave an identity to Israel. When you look at Israel, there are two people who made kind of an identity for Israel. Of course, Abraham started the whole movement, but it was Moses and David. They were the ones who gave a real identity to Israel. Samuel was the one who recruited David and anointed him to be the king. So David was like an engine of Israel. They always remembered David with really fun memories.
The Story of Hannah
This story is a story about his mother. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, and how Samuel came to be born. Hannah was a barren and that caused tremendous stress on her. She wasn’t happy. She lost the appetite of life. Nothing could make her happy. As a matter of fact, she was quite miserable and Peninnah, another wife of Elkanah made it worse by continuously provoking Hannah. She continuously brought up the matter that God closed the womb of Hannah, and Hannah did not like that. She was provoked all the time. She was sad, and she was angry and all that stuff. Her husband Elkanah was very good to her, but that didn’t help her. And Hannah knew that, “this problem, nobody can really help me. Not even my own husband”. Well usually, you know, husbands are not that helpful. But this time it’s true too. She knew this. She had to deal with this problem alone with God. You know, from this story, I can see the integrity of Hannah here. I mean, she could have been very angry with Peninnah, and she could’ve been very angry with the situation. You know, when you have problems, the immediate reaction is anger. Why does this happen to me? All of the people live well, and especially Peninnah, she has so many children. She lives happily, but me, I don’t have a child and my life is miserable and she has all kinds of problems. She could be quite angry with her husband, with her situation, and especially with Peninnah. But she didn’t do that. She didn’t blame anybody. She didn’t blame Elkanah. She didn’t blame Peninnah. She didn’t blame her situation. She didn’t blame herself. She’s simply took matters to God. I think that’s the first lesson we need to learn from the story. Often when we have problems, we tend to find somebody to blame or some thing to blame.
Seek God for Help
Never am I the problem. Whenever we have problem, we never look at ourselves as a problem. There’s always somebody else who is a problem, and they cause a problem. So we always look for somebody or something to blame. I wonder whether that is our weakness. It shows our inferiority. It shows our weaknesses. We always have to blame somebody else, not myself. We get angry and we get frustrated. But my friends, anger never solves the problem. Anger doesn’t do any good. When I looked at my life, 99.9% I never, never saw with anger. Whenever I let out my anger at the end, after awhile, I shouldn’t have done that. Anger never solves the problem. I mean that was what we learned from the study of James, the book of James. James said, “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” So true. Your anger doesn’t produce any good in your life. Like Hannah, instead of blaming others or yourself or situations, learn to take matters to God. You face problems, go to God. Taking the matters to God is a hard discipline. But discipline yourself to take matters to God. I mean, when you’re angry, when you face problems it is so difficult to go to God with your matter, but learn to do that. God will help you and God will give you the wisdom.
Problems will never destroy you. You destroy yourself because of problems that you face. Let me tell you again, problems will never destroy you. You only destroy yourself as you deal with your problems. So learn and discipline yourself to take matters to God. When you face problems, don’t get carried away. Don’t deal with them with your negative emotions. Don’t play blaming games. It doesn’t do any good. Just taking matters to God, but when you take matters to God, do it with all your heart. That’s what it means to take matters to God. You don’t go to God half-heartedly. You take matters to God with all your heart. You seek God with all your heart. I share about this in inner voice last Friday. When we seek God, we should seek him with our whole heart. This is what it means to seek. When Jesus said, ‘seek and you shall find’, the word seek has a meaning of ‘keep on seeking’. Seeking God with our whole heart means that we seek him without giving up, we’ll find life’s happiness in seeking. That was my meditation on Psalm 1:19, happy are those who seek him with their whole heart. That’s what David said. Hannah sought God with her whole heart. She was so fervent. That priest Eli thought that she was drunk. He even told her to put away her wine, but after realizing that she was not drunk and after hearing all she had to say, this was what Eli said, “Go in peace, the God of Israel grant a petition you have made to him.” Do you know what Hannah did after hearing Eli’s pronouncement? This is what she did, and she said, “Let your servant find favour in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was said no longer. That was really strange because nothing happened yet. She just prayed. Eli just spoke to her. She wasn’t pregnant yet. She didn’t know that she would be pregnant yet, but she changed. Nothing happened on the outside, but inside something is changed. That’s what’s happening. When you seek God, when you seek God immediately, your circumstances may not change, but when you seek god, something inside of you changes, when you seek God with a whole heart, somehow, deep inside you know that everything will be alright.
The Two Pillars of Life
That’s a result of seeking God with your whole heart. She was sad and miserable. She had this miserable look all the time, but now her countenance had no sadness. She was brightened up. She found her appetite of life again. I think what she did in prayer is that she completely left the matters in God’s hands. So two things. One, seeking God with your whole heart. Another, leaving matters completely in God’s hand. She believed God. She completely trusted God. Seeking God with your whole heart and leaving the matters completely in God’s hands, those two are the pillars of life. There is nothing else you need. Whenever you face problems, seek God with your whole heart and leave matters completely in God’s hands. Seeking God is the greatest weapon that you have in your life. When you’re able to do that, your life will change. You don’t need to live your life any more, reacting negatively to your situations.
You don’t need to calculate in your brain what will be the answer because God will give you the wisdom as you seek God with your whole heart. God will give you the wisdom. You don’t need to use your brain so much to come up with your own solution. You don’t need to worry about the uncertain future, the future that you don’t know yet. You don’t need to worry about what you cannot control. The amount of things that you cannot control. You don’t need to worry about what you cannot control because God will help you. You simply leave matters completely in God’s hands. All you need are those two things. Life is very simple. Don’t make it complicated. Whenever you face challenges, seek God with your whole heart. Second, leave your matters completely in God’s hands. Not only when you have problems do that in everything with your life. You will find courage and confidence. You’re not scared anymore. You don’t need to fear anymore. Whatever problems would come, instead of getting angry, instead of reacting with negative emotion, you just come to God and leave matters in God’s hands. Then you’ll find strength, courage, and confidence and even wisdom to deal with your life.
That was what we learned from the book of James. If any of you are lacking in wisdom, ask God. You feel like you don’t have wisdom. Ask God. Seek God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly and it will be given to you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Ask in faith. Never doubt.
In the end, Hannah gave birth to one of the most important people in the Bible history. She named him Samuel, but this was the reason. In due time, Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord. I have sought God.” She remembered how she sought God, my friend. IT’s easy to remember. Don’t ever forget. One, What is it? Seek God with your whole heart. Two, leave matters completely in God’s hands. Very easy, right? If you cannot remember this, you have a problem. As you walk out the door, don’t forget. I’ll ask in the fellowship hall, two things, what are two things? First, seek God with your whole heart. Two, leave matters completely in God’s hands. One is whole heart, the other is completely. One is seeking God and the other is leave matters, right? Simple, life is simple. Don’t make it complicated and then you’ll be confused every day, every moment, live like this. Then you’ll be fine. You’ll be guided by God.