Snapshots: Day 173 (starting the story of Samuel)
The Snapshot: “Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.” (1 Sam 1:2) Polygamy, a common cultural practice, although not banned in the Bible, is clearly shown to be a breeding grounds for problems. In this case, one wife can have children and the other cannot. Guaranteed heartache! And yet it is this ‘fruit of the Fall’ that is used to bring about a new change in leadership in Israel, a temporary change from Judges to Prophet and later kings. Everything that follows hinges on these seven words. So often things happen in this Fallen World that we think are bad (and they probably are) but God weaves His purposes into them and brings something really good out of it. Don’t take for granted your circumstances. Give them to God and ask Him to use them, whatever they are.
Further Consideration: If you watch TV series’, mostly made in the US or Canada, but some in Australia, and if you analyze what goes on, you find that most of the plots involve relationships. Yes, the circumstances surrounding the people may change, but ultimately the big issues that the writers use to grab our hearts and our ongoing attention is to do with relationships. They can be family relationships that involve loss of a loved one, the breakdown of the relationship, the differing goals and ambitions within the relationships, these are the things that provide the substance of the plots.
Whether we are a couple in a relationship, a husband and wife, or children, the biggest issues of our lives revolve around our relationships. The stresses of relationships come because of the Fall, because of personal sin or the consequences that occur in the world because it is a fallen world. Therefore, as Christians a primary focus of God’s attention on us is, I believe, how we cope with the pressures that come with relationships. If we lived alone on a desert island we would have none of these pressures – but we would be poorer for it.
How we impose our lives on others (as Peninnah did on Hannah) can impact ongoing history. What we do in life – especially in respect of these relationships we’ve been considering – can have long term effects, some of which can be very negative. Any pastor who is open to his people will know there are myriads of stories of the struggles people have with life today, because of what happened in the past in some particular relationship. And it is at that point that we have to reiterate, there is hope with God because He is always working to redeem our lives and bring good where there has been bad. Difficult relationships have often been the motivating forces that have stirred people to rise up and achieve great things in the world. Let Him do that for you.