This sermon was based on 1 Samuel 1:1-28.
The Birth of Samuel
9After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
12As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
Samuel Given to the Lord
21The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.” 23Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young.
God Does Sometimes Give us Signs
Now it’s natural for us to read this story and think I wouldn’t mind some of that. I would love some clear signs from God when I have to make big decisions in life.
God does sometimes give us signs and when that happens its great but when we make our Christian life all about getting signs from God for things we can end just making God into a Sat Nav. It may not surprise you but God doesn’t just want to be our Sat Nav in Life. He’s much more interested in being in a relationship with us. The best way to know God’s will for our lives is actually through having a close relationship with him. When we have a close relationship with him we learn to recognise his voice, Jesus says: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. When we have a close relationship with God, we learn what his will is, we learn his ways, we become more like him.
When we have a close relationship with him we might not always get an answer but our relationship with him means that’s ok because we have a bigger perspective. The anxiety of making the right decision is replaced with peace and trust that God has it. Sign or no sign, he has it. He’s in control..
God Also Asks for Signs
This isn’t a formula, and it doesn’t always play out as neatly as this but it does shows us that as we seek God to show us signs that he is with us we must know that he too is seeking signs that we are with him. The signs he asks for is Obedience.
Before Gideon put out the fleeces he’d already shown God he was obedient, he obeyed God and cut down his dads idols. Even though it nearly got him killed. God loves obedience.
The best way to show God that you love him and are with him is through obeying him. Forgiving those who hurt you, not gossiping or lying. Sharing your faith, being generous, Staying sexually pure. These are just some of the ways we can show God that we are with him.
Obedience in Decisions
We often think the big decisions in life are the ones where we don’t know what to do. Where should I live? what job should I do? I think we need to flip that around. I think the important decisions are not the ones where we don’t know what to do. The important decisions are the ones where we know exactly what we should do. Should I get drunk this weekend? Should I Lie to my boss? Should I withhold information on my tax form. Should I start a romantic relationship with someone who’s not a Christian? God has spoken on these things.
The story of Gideon shows us that God does sometimes give us signs but it shows us that God also asks for signs too. Signs of obedience. Obedience in the everyday things.