“Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham…And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children…And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head…And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink…Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him…and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord. And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.”
– 1 Samuel 1:1-21
We are living in a time where everywhere you turn there is someone saying name it and claim it, believe it and receive it, you shall have whatsoever you speak, and a lot of other stuff that is similar to these sayings. It has gotten so much attention that people are literally basing their walk of faith and their overall lifestyle on these, thereby making them their mantras for living the faith-filled or Christian life. In all honesty, these all sound good and are great sayings to live by; however, there is a piece that is missing from this. You see, these faith-filled statements only represent half of the total equation. What equation? The equation that God has ordained in order to cause Him to move on your behalf. Oh, I know your theology and seminary schoolings and all your religious mindsets are being questioned right now, so allow me to explain this and break it down for you.
If you go back and do your research throughout the entire Bible, no one has ever received anything from God and He didn’t require them to do anything at all. No one! No One! That’s not the way the relationship was designed, nor is it the way that Jesus created when he shed his blood on the cross and ultimately gave up the ghost on our behalf. I know, contrary to popular belief, Jesus did not come and die so that you can do whatever you want, repent, repeat the process and repent some more, and keep saying that He knows my heart. While that’s true that He does know your heart, believe it or not He also knows your intentions, whether they be good or bad, pure or evil, to do or not to do, and to live or not to live. That is not the question, rather that is the unquestionable truth of the matter. God is not your average player, thereby making it impossible to attempt to run game on Him. What do I mean by run game on Him? God is not one that you can lie, cheat, deceive, and connive your way into getting what’s His; however, the only way to get what you want from Him is through the original way He intended for you to get it. Can I help us today? The original and current way that God intends on releasing His blessing to and through us is by our commitment! Oh, that’s that word that is hard to swallow nowadays.
Please understand beloved that this is not an article of condemnation, rather it is one of conviction unto correction that will hopefully inspire all who come into contact with it to re-examine their view of their relationship with God and make the changes necessary to align our paths with His. In our attempts to align our paths we will see that ultimately, God is not interested in having someone who will acknowledge Him when they get around to it and come to Him only in times of trouble, while continuing to live and be whoever we deem ourselves to be. No! He is searching high and looking low for those individuals who are determined to do what pleases Him, live a life pleasing in His sight, and acknowledge Him in all thine ways. He is looking for the individual(s) that makes Him their first thought instead of an afterthought, praises Him in all things (good and bad) and not just when they need Him, and has a genuine heart’s desire to do His will for their lives. In other words, He is looking for individuals who positively and truly have the made up mind and heart’s desire to be committed unto Him. What does this have to do with getting God to honor my vow Kean? I’m glad you asked.
On last week, I said that vow and trust go hand and hand with one another. On this week, I’m going to inform you that your first vow to God, before you can even begin to make other vows to him, is your commitment to Him. Again, I know this is messing with your theology and seminary schooling, so let’s work with it for a moment. In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and ultimately man, there was nothing lacking. Everything one needed was already in existence. God had basically created a perfect environment for mankind. One that provided our needs before we even had them. One that yielded continual results without us having to be tested for them. Life was grand. Well, time went on and soon we messed it up. God removed us from the perfect environment, and relocated us to another place where we were now trying to get back into His good graces. In comes Cain and Abel. Both brothers worked and both brothers offered offerings unto the Lord. Abel and his offering were respected while Cain and his offering were not. Why was one and not the other? Did not they both work and bring offerings to God? Indeed they did. Here’s the difference: Cain brought “of” the fruit to God, while Abel brought the “first” born and the “fatted” portion. In other words, Cain gave God what was left or what he thought to give while Abel gave God both the first and the best. Can I give y’all the first shout cue? One gave God an afterthought while the other gave God priority! You missed it! It’ll catch you soon.
As we continue to journey on through the Bible, we see many people come up who God took enough pleasure in to use them for His service. We see Abraham whom God promises that he would bless him and make his seed too numerous to count. Abraham waited and waited and nothing happened, so he and his wife decided to make it happen on their own. They had an Ishmael but little did they know, that the blessing was not coming through their works, rather the works of God. Oh, that was a shout cue right there! God shows up and declares at the appointed time next year Sarah will have birthed her very own seed from her womb which is the promise beginning to manifest itself. Watch this shout cue. In spite of her present circumstances that say otherwise! You missed it! Abraham and Sarah praised God and worshipped God, because the promise had come into manifestation. Or had it? What do you mean brother? God said his seed would be too many to count, but Issac only represents one. Oh, wait a minute. In comes the test. Abraham, take your only child and sacrifice him on the mountain top as an offering of worship to Me. Abraham complied, and God stopped him and said, now I know that you fear Me. What happened next? An angel called out to Abraham another time and said, “…for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).
What am I saying to us? Whatever or whenever God is going to release His blessing on someone, it is all activated by your handling of the first fruit. Wait a minute. Could that be why Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3 to “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” Oh yeah, he adds that once you have done this, “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (9-10). Wait. Is this scripture saying that if we honor and put God first, then He will do the same for us? That is exactly what it is saying. Honoring God is not in your giving Him the portion or remainder of what you have left, rather it is thinking about Him and revering Him so much so that you take the first and the best and present it to Him. That’s why Jesus comes along in Matthew 6:33 and says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” All what things? Shout cue on the way! Jesus is saying if you put God first, then whatever need you may have, whatever situation seems impossible, whatever promise has been delayed or not come into full manifestation, those things shall all be added unto you as a result of your making God your priority. Somebody still don’t believe yet, and that’s okay. I’m getting ready to close, but I have just a short one (hopefully) more example.
In comes our text, we have this woman who goes by the name of Hannah. Hannah is one of the wives of a man and she just so happen to have her womb shut up by God himself. Can I plug a shout cue right here simply for posterity? I don’t care what you take, what you try, what you shake, or even what you try to create. If God has shut something up, then there is no man or no thing that open it until He gets ready to release it! Oh that didn’t make y’all shout huh? It’s cool, I’m moving. Now, this same man has another wife and she apparently is very fertile and fruitful when it comes to kids. She gets to the point where now she is provoking Hannah and basically mocking her for not being able to do what she was created to do. Shout cue coming at you! She poking fun at her for not being able to do what she has been longing to do. She torturing her for not being able to birth the vision that she has been holding for such a long time. Oh, but what she didn’t know was that Hannah was not incapable of doing such a thing. She didn’t know that it was simply “NOT” Hannah’s time yet. You missed that one, so maybe you’ll catch this next one. Hannah wanted a son, and God needed a prophet. Hannah wanted a seed, and God needed a servant. Hannah wanted to give birth, and God needed to position someone to release His breakthrough in the Earth. So, He waited and waited until Hannah was at her lowest point so that she could make a vow, and in turn pay her vow, so that He could release an overflow of the blessing her way. You missed that one too!
In other words, Hannah said God I want a son, and God said Hannah I need a prophet. Hannah replied, Lord give me a man child and I vow to give him back to you! God said, that’s what I’ve been waiting to hear. Prayer granted. Hannah had the son, and she nursed him and took care of him while he was still yet an infant. Once the child grew to a certain point, Hannah brought Him before God and said, God I am paying the vow in which I made to you. Here is my son, but your prophet. God said, because of your faithfulness, commitment, obedience, and fulfilling thou end of thou vow, I have extra in stored for you. This will not be your only child. As a matter of fact, here is five (5) more. What did He do? Exceedingly and abundantly above all that she had ever asked for! Wait. Could it be that is what God was waiting for the entire time? Someone to seek Him to find out what He needs in order to have Him meet their needs? Don’t believe me? Come here Mary. An angel of the Lord visited Mary. He prophesied to her that she would become pregnant with the savior of the world. Mary asked questions and finally said, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” At that moment Mary conceived. Watch this. Why did Jesus conception happen as such? God need someone pure to give birth to the savior, the world (including Mary) needed the savior in order to be redeemed from their sins and be restored into the will of God. What am I saying? You have been praying and constantly telling God all your needs, but could it be that He is waiting for you to align your needs with His in order to kill two birds with one stone (I know there probably was a better analogy than that but work with me).
Can I close this thing out now? I think I can. Shout, for the first and last time, Lord I Make You My Priority! This is the stance that I am goin to take from this moment forward. I’m not worried about keeping up with the Joneses. I’m not worried about looking a certain way for the masses. I’m not concerned with living up to the standards that others and life have attempted to set for me. I’m not fascinated by having everything that glitters and shines in order to be accepted into certain circles. I’m not thrilled with letting my flesh have dominion over me, my life, and the choices or decisions that I make. I’m not trying to imitate the lives of others nor am I trying to duplicate the habits that seem to be common place in this world. No! I’m determined to do your will for my life. I’m determined to be all that you have predestined me to be. I’m committing my ways to you Lord, and I am whole-heartedly and steadfastly submitting to your will, your way, your plan, each and every day! Lord, I’m yours! You can use me! Your need is my desire! This is my vow to you God, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that I uphold my end. In Jesus Name, Amen! This does not ha e to be your exact prayer, but it is prayers like this that gets Gods attention, thereby Getting God to Honor Your Vow!