Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, ‘Here I am.’”
Isaiah 58: 9
“The soul may ask God for anything, and never fail. You may ask God for His presence, or for wisdom, and receive each at His hands.”
Today’s Study Text:
“My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.”
I Samuel 2: 1
What Our Prayers Reveal About Us
“Speaking With Heaven’s Tone” -- Part III
“What is in the well of your heart will show up in the bucket of your speech.”
Have I ever used retaliatory speech against someone who hurt me by what they had said?
When my voice is “loosed,” as Hannah’s was, how do I use the gift of speaking that God has given me?
“One of the first things that happens when an (individual) is really filled with the Spirit is not that (they) speak with tongues, but that (they) learn to hold the one tongue (they) already have.”
H. Sidlow Baxter
“Speech is…only good when it is better than silence.”- Richard Sibbes
I just love the Bible. I’ve said this to you before. But what I love about the Scriptures the most is that when you really study the Bible, verse by verse like we do in the Garden, you unearth such treasure that sometimes goes unnoticed when we skim over texts too fast.
Hannah’s life is so full of those moments when you ask yourself this question, “Why didn’t I ever read this before?” Such is the case when we compare I Samuel 1: 13 with I Samuel 2: 1. In
I Samuel 1: 13, we are told, “Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved but her voice was not heard.” The fact was, Hannah was silenced – she was in so much pain no words would come out of her mouth. But just a few verses later, the Bible says Hannah was again praying, however what a difference. In her own words Hannah rejoices by saying, “My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation” (I Samuel 2: 1).
It would do us well to take a moment and delve into this text, especially before we come to the wrong conclusion that once Hannah got her voice back, she used it to attack her enemies. If this thought came to mind, it is incorrect.
This is why it is so important when we study God’s Word not to take a text out of context but instead to read the verses in sequence and within the story they are telling. If we return to the beginning of the book of I Samuel, we find Hannah not only had a closed mouth, she also had a closed womb. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say her life and her productivity were closed. She could not have a child and this closed-off her relationship with her husband for he went out and found another woman who could give him the children he wanted. In a physical sense, Hannah’s infertility closed off her life. But having another woman in the house who demeaned her and put her down all the time only served to close off Hannah’s life in another way for Peninnah’s mocking closed off Hannah’s mouth. Not only did she lack anyone or anything to be thankful for, the despair in her life was so great Hannah became speechless.
But when she returned to Shiloh with the promised gift of her son, Samuel, she was rejoicing and the Hebrew says that her voice was broadened over her foes. We need to contemplate the word “broadened” for it does not mean that once Hannah received God’s blessing and joy was overflowing in her life she used her gift of speech to gloat over her foes. Just the opposite! Hannah rejoiced in the Lord and when we speak broadly to others, expansively regarding the greatness of our Father, all other negative voices are silenced!
This is something we really need to learn for so often when someone uses words to attack us, we turn around and retaliate in the same manner. I’m appalled right now at the way so-called Christians get down in the mud-slinging, and name-calling, business that is often used by the world to demean those with whom we don’t agree. What pathetic and unlovely behavior some people resort to! I’m heart-broken for if we followed the example of Hannah, and rejoiced in the Lord and His graciousness whenever we opened our mouths, we would silence our critics as our Father’s glory was “broadened” throughout the world.
Hannah’s tongue wasn’t loosened so she could slice and dice another. Nor was she given the power to speak words of joy and rejoicing regarding her Father so she could get even or take down another individual.
Let us never forget Hannah’s own words: “My mouth is no longer silent because I rejoice in Your salvation.” WOW! This good news should give everyone of us something to be happy and joyful about today. Furthermore, I can’t think of anything better to talk about than my Father’s generous love and gift of salvation. Open your mouth, daughters of God, and rejoice. We are silenced no longer!
“Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.”
“A (woman) has joy in making an apt answer, and a word spoken at the right moment – how good it is!”
Proverbs 15: 23
“Lord, guard my lips,
free me from
the clutter of unnecessary words,
and the cleverness of cynical words.
Teach me when to be silent,
and when silence would mean
cowardice or unkindness.
Let all my words be well used,
coming from a quiet point within
me where You are,
the Word, at the heart of my life.”
(Adapted from Psalm 141:3)
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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