He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. – 1Sam. 2:9 KJV
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The foundation scripture for today’s devotional is part of the reaction of Hannah, the first wife of El-Kanah, to the eventual granting of her request for a son by the Almighty God. She had on this occasion brought that same son back to Shiloh to be dedicated to the Lord in accordance with the vow she made during her request. She was a woman who must have gone through a lot of emotional torture, not only from Peninnah, who was the second wife of El-kanah, but also from friends and family members who would probably have been taunting and mocking her.
Even if all these sources of emotional pressures were absent, the personal emotional pressure she would have gone through as a woman who is married but unable to have a child, would undoubtedly be immense and can only be best imagined. All these could have been sufficient reason for Hannah to make attempts or actually go out of her way to seek other sources of relief for this pressures, but from all indications, she chose to remain with the Lord.
There is also the possibility that some of these pressures degenerated into physical disagreements with some of the individuals including Peninnah, and which would have further increased her desire to seek alternative modes of intervention in order to shut the mouth of her detractors but none was or would have been able to remove or at least mitigate her pain – 1Sam. 1:5-6. Human support and encouragments like that of El-Kanah also failed and so her emotional outburst after been granted a son in response to her request to the Almighty God was quite understandable – 1Sam. 2:1-2. In a statement made in the course of this reaction, she had noted that the one who was labelled a barren had now become the mother of seven children, whilst the one who was arrogant because she had many children had become weak and made to fade away – 1Sam. 2:5b. That definitely confirms some of the suspicion of mockery and pressure that was earlier highlighted. No wonder she gave an advise to anyone who is arrogant because of earthly achievements and possessions, and who cares to listen, to stop talking proudly and speaking arrogantly because it is the Lord who knows all things and it is by him that all deeds are weighed – 1Sam. 2:5. This according to Hannah is because the Almighty God has the ability to not only break the bows of such arrogant people but also arms those who stumble with strength. In addition, he pauperizes those who think they are filled to the point that they will have to sell themselves for food whilst ensuring that those who lack food hunger no more – 1Sam. 2:4-5. Because the Lord has power over life and death, to bring down and lift up, to make the poor wealthy and the wealthy poor, and in summary, humble and exalt anyone at His own Will, He is able to raise the poor from the dust, lift the needy from ash heaps, make such to sit among Princes and make them inherit the throne of honour – 1Sam. 2:6-8a.
In that spontaneous emotional expression, Hannah revealed Jehovah for who He really is, a God who detests arrogance and love the humble, one who has the ability to humble arrogant people and honour those who are humble because he owns the foundation of the earth and it is upon this foundation that He set the world – 1Sam. 2:8b.
Hannah by this reaction, classified the arrogant and proud person into the group of the wicked and oppositions for the Almighty God whilst the humble who looks up to Him alone for help is grouped amongst His Saints. The faith of members of each of both groups is therefore pre-determined not because of any human ability, but all because of the activities of Jehovah. Hannah says Jehovah will lead the journey of His Saints such that they never stumble, even in the middle of trials and temptations of life, but when those in opposition to Him find themselves in such situations, they will never benefit from his guidance. Of course the consequence of losing such advantage is very obvious to all as the battles of life are not won by physical strength but with supernatural support the absence of which will lead to the shattering of those classified as opposition to the Lord – 1Sam. 2:10a. Such people thus become both physical and spiritual victims of such experiences. This is not the case of the Almighty God bringing them into darkness but as normal with the journey of life, dark patches are unavoidable and when that time arrives, they will most likely be swept away – 1Sam. 2:9b.
With all the identified characteristics of the Almighty God as highlighted by Hannah, the fact that many people, Christians inclusive, are the architects of their mis-fortune in most cases is not in doubt. The Almighty God will simply not tolerate acts of pride and arrogance as he considers it an affront to him in addition to the human victims of such negative attitudes. He simply sees it as none acknowledgement of His Sovereignty and His unquestionable rights to determine the fate of every man according to His Will. It is a sign of dissent to His decision to lift and pull down according to His whim and caprice, as the proud or arrogant one stops seeing Him as the sole architect of the fate of all men. Success or failure in any part of life of man has little or nothing to do with human effort as He only decides the fate of all. The race is indeed not for the swift nor the battle to the strong as He only using the instrumentality of time and seasons determine their fate – Eccl. 9:11. Only the one who is conscious of this fundamental truth, accept and trust His judgement, can continue to enjoy His Grace, even in the face of the challenges of life, as He does all things according to His Will and so must be trusted at all times that He will ensure that all who are His are never brought to shame.
Avoid placing yourself in opposition to Him by being arrogant or proud or worse still, considering those who lack some of the advantages that you possess as being inferior in some way or the other. You are simply enjoying His Grace and not your so called hard work – Psa. 127:1. That is the only way that you can retain that advantage that He has conferred on you. The one that seems to be disadvantaged also needs to ignore human mocking and taunting as the Almighty God will do what is appropriate at the right moment and such will never be put to shame. May God save us all from attitudes that put us in opposition to Him in Jesus name. Amen.