Four Locusts

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Joel 1 & 2

The picture is not a pretty one. “A nation has come up against My land…strong and without number…it has laid waste to My vine and ruined My fig tree” (Joel 1:6-7). This is the word of the Lord God Almighty. Why did He not stop this attack? Why would He allow something that grieved Him at His very heart? Worship had ceased – actually all those things necessary for sacrifice had been “cut off”. Priests mourned, and joy had withered away from the hearts of the people (1:9 & 12).

There is an explanation. This is destruction brought about by God Himself. Isn’t it interesting to note that the great heart of our God grieves, as does any parent’s heart when discipline has to be applied? This didn’t happen without warning. The chewing locust had come. Little by little their faith had been whittled away. Now “Rend your heart and not your garments” (2:13) cries the heart of God. Do not bring destruction upon yourselves.

What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. Apparently Judah was having trouble reading the results of Israel’s apostasy. You may remember that the nation of Israel was split in two when Solomon died (1 Kings 12). Israel’s leadership had been corrupt for years, so judgment fell on them first. Was it possible that evil was infiltrating from this brother nation into Judah? Now years of disobedience and rebellious leadership threatened the peace of their land, actually God’s land (1:6). They would be held accountable for what they did with that land.

What the swarming locust left the crawling locust attacked. What was left at this point? For one thing the people needed to turn to God with fasting, weeping and mourning over their sins. At this early stage in the history of prophecy, what exactly were those sins? Twice God called the people to consecrate a fast. Had they not been fasting? Had they only been going through the motions? Was consecration required as a testimony to the meaning fasting held? God calls the priests to lament and wail (1:13); all the elders are to come together (1:14), to cry out for mercy from the Lord. Might we assume there was spiritual disease among the leaders? First their hearts must be in tune with God before they were ready for “The Day of the Lord (which is near)” (1:15).

With the consuming locusts waiting for what the crawling locusts had left, God warns of an invading army. That army will destroy everything, with strength such as has never been seen before (2:2). Thick darkness and gloom; flaming fire will leave the land desolate and the people trembling, writhing in fear. Even the earth will quake and the cosmos will grow dark. Chapter 2 describes the terrors of the Day of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be cut off from the house of God (1:16).


Considering the fears rampant in our world today, can we relate to this picture of global distress? Do we grieve?

What do we read about the character of our God in these two chapters that might bring us hope?

Are we brave enough to blow the trumpet in our world today – to sound a warning? (2:1)

by Marilyn Daniel (


Yahweh is God

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Joel Introduction July Devotions – Series on Joel

Joel is one of the minor prophets, who wrote during the days of King Joash. We need a little background: The young king ascended the throne at the age of seven and reigned over Judah (2 Chronicles 24) for nearly 40 years. His reign was marked by the restoration of Solomon’s temple, begun by Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada played a significant role in the young king’s life, making a covenant “that he and the people and the king would be the Lord’s people” (2 Chronicles 23:16). It is no surprise, therefore, that ”Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (2 Kings 12:2). However, once Jehoiada died, Joash was swayed by the homage of officials in his kingdom. Together they abandoned the temple to worship Asherah poles and idols. The spirit of the Lord came upon Zechariah, grandson of Jehoiada, (2 Chronicles 24:20), who then warned the people of their sin against God. How terrible to read that “by order of the King [Joash] they stoned him to death” (:21). One needs to be careful whom we chose as friends; sadly Joash was murdered by the very people he thought he could trust (:25).

It is here that Joel enters the picture. The kingdom was facing severe drought and famine from the invasion of locusts, which Joel recognized was a punishment from the Lord. God sent him as a messenger to the Judeans, summarizing the desolation both physical and spiritual, which He allowed to destroy the land. There are some strong words used in chapter one. God is actually calling the people to Himself (1:14), but first they will weep and wail, mourning for all they had lost (1:8). This event is recorded so that their children would not forget what the wrath of God looks like (1:3). “Surely the joy of mankind has withered away” (1:12).

There is pain in this prophecy. The suffering will be universal – cattle moan! Sheep suffer; is there spiritual symbolism here that God’s sheep [Israelites] will suffer? Joy and gladness have been cut off from the house of God (1:16). Wild animals pant for water. The Lord cries out “Alas!” (1:15). He takes no pleasure in the destruction of His people. The day of the Lord is near, He says. That day is further described throughout Joel’s prophecy. For the moment we must see how it grieves the heart of our Heavenly Father to execute punishment of this magnitude.

There is a lesson to be learned here. God is holding Himself true to His covenant of love. Is His anger an expression of love? When anyone goes down a destructive path, is it loving to let them continue, or should we attempt to help them make changes for the better? Paul instructed the Galatians “If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him/her gently” (Galatians 6:1). The key word “restore” interfaces with confrontation of evil.

Joel’s message is to everyone who lives in the land of Judah, first and foremost to the elders, the leaders of the people (1:2). Remember Israel formed the northern kingdom which separated from Judah, made up of Benjamin and Judah. They remained faithful to their God many more years than Israel, but now – Listen up! God snatched the wine from their lips. That which their pleasures centered upon has been taken away. Their drunkenness made God’s land vulnerable to invasion (1:5-6). Therefore God allowed His vines and fig trees to be ruined, laid waste!

The people have forgotten they are stewards of God’s property. Therefore they are not worthy of spiritual privileges. Why should they sacrifice and worship the God their lifestyle has rejected? What is the point of going through the motions?


In order to get their attention God had to do something spectacular, among His people. He asked “Has anything like this ever happened in your days, or in the days of your forefathers?” (1:2). The answer, of course, was ‘No’. This plague was unique in Judah. Would it be fair to ask if God had to repeat this method of getting man’s attention, down through eons of time? What about today? Have we misunderstood the character of God by ignoring His justice, by focusing on Him only as a God of love?

It is hugely important for us to recognize the sacred privileges we have of worshiping the God who is HOLY (1:14). Only when our hearts are right with God, when His purity reigns in our hearts, can we worship Him in spirit and in truth. Therefore Joel is commissioned to “declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly….and cry out to the Lord” (1:14)


A Worshipping Man

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Acts 10

Cornelius was a devout man. His devotion to God was highly unusual for a Roman, especially one who had risen in the ranks of the Italian Regiment to the position of centurion. The fact that he believed in the Jewish God indicates he had become a proselyte of Judaism. Not only the man himself, but also his family worshiped God. His faith had impacted some of his servants as well as his military personnel (Acts 10:7). He practised his faith by giving and praying regularly. We might do well to follow his example.

However, in spite of his faithfulness and zeal, something was lacking. God had seen his giving, and heard his prayers. An angel appeared to Cornelius about 3 one afternoon. The angel instructed him to send to Joppa for the man Simon Peter. Without explanation this might have seemed a rather mysterious command. Apparently Cornelius trusted God enough to send for Simon Peter.

Peter’s own experience in preparation for this encounter is a story for another day. Sufficient to say he recognized the call of God and went to Caesarea. Cornelius met him in a spirit of reverence. In fact he fell at Peter’s feet in worship. Immediately Peter raised him to his feet reminding him that he was only a man, just like Cornelius.

Peter knew his Bible. The law given to Moses instructed God’s people to worship only the Lord God, Yahweh. The fullness of this thought required 3 commandments – there was to be no other God, they were not to worship anything animate or inanimate, and even the name of God was to be revered, kept sacred (Exodus 20:3-5). Joshua reinforces this theme in his parting address to Israel: “Do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve then or bow down to them” (Joshua 23:7).

However, tribal customs in some countries call for a show of deep respect for visitors, for teachers, preachers and other noteworthy persons. When I tried to raise an elderly lady to her feet on one occasion, I was rebuked for resisting tribal tradition; she would not budge and I felt guilty.

At this point we need a clear understanding of what worship is, in the eyes of God. Does it preclude a respectful appreciation for other human beings in authority, or positions of leadership? When Jesus talked about worship He said: “God is a spirit and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Worship includes ascribing “to the Lord the glory due His name…..worship the Lord in the splendour of His holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29).


Clearly worship is defined by one’s attitude. It is exercised in a variety of ways, but essentially is an act of our spirit, as it seeks God. Bowing to man might be an act of misplaced veneration, but God recognizes the attitude of the heart, and judges us on that point alone. Taking Cornelius as our Biblical example, we see that God, knowing his heart was truly seeking God, gave him the privilege of knowing Jesus by bringing Peter into his life. Our relationship with God is defined by Jesus Himself, in a verse with which we are all familiar: “I am the way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).

What attitude defines your worship and mine?

by Marilyn Daniels (


The Millennial Reign

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Isaiah 24-27

Seldom do we hear sermons on issues of eschatology, yet the millennial reign is a Biblical subject dealt with in both Old and New Testaments. What do we know about this subject? Why is it important?

Perhaps we should begin with Isaiah who clearly prophesied about the judgments of the tribulation period as well as the blessings of the Millennial reign, in chapters 24-27. From these chapters we understand that God’s judgment will fall, laying waste completely to all He created (Isaiah 24:1-3). By disobeying God’s laws the people have severed their covenant relationship with God, bringing a curse upon the whole earth (24:5-6). In that day God will punish even the “powers in the heavens” (24:21), probably a reference to fallen angels who will also be judged (1 Corinthians 6:3).

However, a small remnant of believers will survive (Isaiah 24:6b). In the midst of devastation and desolation they will still rejoice in the majesty of their God! (24:14-16a). Isaiah exalts “my God” (25:1) for His perfect faithfulness, planned long ago. The judgment falling is not a knee-jerk reaction to a rebellious people….God knew the end from the beginning, yet He created man in His own imagine, with the power of choice [volition].

Although Babylon is made a heap of rubble (Isaiah 25:2), strong believers from every nation, even the enemies who ruthlessly pursued God’s people, will honour the Lord (25:3). It is important to note that God, faithful to His promise, rescued all who believe on His name! Isaiah goes on to describe the Millennial reign as one of great blessing, feasting and celebration, as God wipes away the tears from all faces (25:6-8).

In that day God will be celebrated for His salvation – the only God who could be entirely trusted! He is the One who keeps His children in perfect peace (Isaiah 25:9, 26:3-4, 12). The Spirit of the Lord is finally appreciated, as the faithful yearn for Him day and night. He is the desire of their hearts (26:8-9).

Several other prophets refer to the Millennial reign of Christ. Zechariah has a lot to say. Regarding the location we learn that the Lord will dwell in Jerusalem (8:3) where all nations will worship the King (14:16). As Jesus’ feet stand on the Mount of Olives it will be split into two parts (14:4). Isaiah adds – there will be no more war as the nations flow into Jerusalem to worship the Lord (2:2-4). He goes on to tell us that nature will flourish showing the glory and majesty of God, while healing takes place (35:1-10). Amos tells us this will be a time of restoration and rebuilding (9:11-25).

Where is Satan during this 1000 year reign? He is bound, sealed in a pit (Revelation 20:1-10). Powerless! Jesus will reign with an iron sceptre (Psalm 2:9, Revelation 2:27, 12:5, 19:15). Who will reign with Him? Those who were beheaded, who did not accept the mark of the beast during the tribulation period, will come to life and reign with Him (Revelation 10:4). The rest of those who are dead in Christ will come to life after this 1000 year period ends (Revelation 20:1-15).. Then we will enjoy the place Jesus has gone to prepare for us (John 14:3). At some time after this God will create a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-27).


We have no idea of God’s exact time line. We have been encouraged to be watchful and vigilant, waiting the Lord Jesus’ return at any time. The joy of seeing Him will surpass anything we have ever known. Our Saviour! Redeemer! and Friend! Will we perhaps be those who reign with Him? That will not be something to covet, since it does involve tremendous suffering beforehand. This is why we must search the scriptures, as the Bereans did, to see if these things are true. Our anticipation of Jesus’ return may be tested. Are we ready?

by Marilyn daniels (


God’s Arms

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Isaiah 40:11

Following a series of personal calamities, Handel was encouraged, at the very point of giving up, by reading Charles Jennen’s libretto, which included scripture. Inspired by prophecy as well as by Christ’s life, Handel was moved to begin again. When he wrote “Messiah” no one could foresee its popularity over centuries of time.

When first played it blessed King George 2 so greatly that he stood during the Hallelujah chorus, recognizing Christ as King of Kings, a tradition followed to this day. This Messiah gathered the lambs in His arms, a picture of God’s caring and protection. Therefore we see this scripture engaging men of fame and power – a noted musician as well as the king. Most men might not acknowledge their need of a shepherd’s care, but these men acknowledged their personal need of God to guide them, to comfort them, as though they were His lambs.

Handel must have been reading: “He gathers His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart” (Isaiah 40:11). What a tender picture of God sustaining, providing for, and protecting His sheep. Those who are most vulnerable, the marginalized, the very young and very old are held close to His heart! We cannot forget that Jesus, Himself, tenderly took little children in His arms to bless them (Mark 10:16). During his own suffering was this Handel’s experience of God?

The Bible tells us many things about God’s arms. His power is demonstrated by the strength of His arms and hands (Deuteronomy 3:24), a strength visible among the nations. His arms are holy, the source of salvation (Isaiah 52:10). The Psalmist concurs when he writes “Sing to the Lord….for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him!” (Psalm 98:1).

God’s arms are everlasting. How many people have found comfort in verses written so long ago by Moses? “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). Through generations of human history God remains the same, tender and loving to all who will receive Him.

More than once the question is asked in scripture whether or not the Lord’s arm is too short to save His people? (Numbers 11:23, Isaiah 50:2). Notice it is God who is proactive, stretching out His arm to save the Israelites on different occasions, as no other god had done before (Deuteronomy 4:34).

Perhaps we might emulate God’s example as we meet people today. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we are equipped to bear His love towards those who are hurting, and those who struggle to understand God. Will His gentle Spirit working in and through us give occasion for us to proclaim the strong and yet tender arm of God to those in need?


Have you ever had occasion to depend upon an arm to help you get up or to walk? How often when we are grieving does a gentle arm around the shoulders bring us comfort. Arms were also designed by God as messengers of love. Imagine as you draw close to someone in trouble how valuable your arm is to them. Let your arms be God’s arms to others in need.

by Marilyn Daniels (


Seized by Temptation!

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1 Corinthians 10:13

Do you always recognize when you have been seized by temptation? Satan is subtle. We know how Job was tempted because we read in scripture God permitted Satan to submit him to extraordinary testing. (Job 1:6-12) Everything was taken away from this wealthy man, his possessions, his family and eventually his health. God knew His man! With confidence He permitted this, with only one restriction – Satan could not take Job’s life.

David was tempted on different occasions. In a cave, hidden from his mortal enemy, David could have taken Saul’s life, but he opted to trust God with his own life and future by allowing the King to go free (1 Samuel 24). He is famous for his failure with Bathsheba, but even worse perhaps than that, was when he succumbed to the thought he should take a census throughout his nation (2 Samuel 24:1). Sometimes we ourselves confuse the voice of God with the voice of Satan. Hindsight is always clearer. As David looked back he repented, confessing his sin before God. However, there was a penalty. The consequence of his wrong choice cost 70,000 people their lives, by means of the plague (2 Samuel 24:15)

Why did the man who bravely stood before Goliath in the name of the Lord, fail to remember this Holy One was the source of his strength? Why did he need to count the strength of man-power in his army? We may never know the answer to those specific questions, but what we might learn from David’s experience is how important it is to keep our eyes fixed on God.

Seeking Him, His presence moment by moment, His will for each day, His wisdom and discernment, will give us the courage we need when Satan looks for a weakness in our armour. Knowing our weaknesses is a preventative. Do you know where and when you are most vulnerable? What do you do to prevent Satan getting a toehold in these areas? Denial is the enemy of our faith.

God promises the faithful: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man, and God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able to bear. But when you are tempted He will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it.”

This was true so often, in David’s case. God sent people to confront David when he sinned because God wanted him to be pure in heart. Joab, general of his army, was horrified at his suggestion to take a census and warned him of the evils (2 Samuel 24:3). Nathan confronted David regarding his sexual sin (2 Samuel 7). Eventually David was conscience-stricken and regretted bitterly the choices he had made.


Why did David listen to his mentors? Because he recognized he had displeased God.

Do we pause to thank God for bringing folks into our lives who have the courage to confront us so that our fellowship with God is not destroyed?

The question for us, as we face temptation today, must be “Is this pleasing to God?” Does it really matter?

by Marilyn Daniels (


Be of Good Cheer

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Isaiah 32 John 16:31-33 KJV

All around us the world is changing. Even as I write, one can see the possibility of another great world war looming before us as nation aggravates nation. Nature rises up against mankind as floods or hurricanes, earthquakes or mudslides take the lives of hundreds of people. Closer to home, relationships fracture so easily. Where is the glue that holds things together as spouses part, and children run from home? Even friendship has taken on a new dimension, because isolation reigns in developed countries.

Thousands of years ago life also seemed very harsh. Nations were at war. The prevailing atmosphere was one of gloom, even hopelessness. However, the ancients were given a vision of a better world where each man would be as strong as a refuge from the storm. There would be a sense of protection, like the shadow of a rock in a thirsty land. Those who had been blind would see; the deaf would hear. Minds would be healed, enabling them to know and understand. Even those with speech difficulties would be fluent and clear (Isaiah 32).

Written as prophecy, Isaiah was giving Israel a message from the Lord about Messiah and His Kingdom (Isaiah 32). What an ideal all of the above represents. It will come to pass only when the King reigns in righteousness. Would it be stretching truth too far to suppose that if the “King” (Jesus) truly reigned in the hearts of His people today the world would be a different place? At least we know that “the fool would no longer be called noble, nor the scoundrel be highly respected” (Isaiah 32:4-5).

Isaiah depicts the wasteland of a society that makes up evil schemes, and destroys the weak with lies, leaving them hungry and thirsty, without compassion. Complacency will give way to trembling fear and even mourning in sackcloth. The fortress, and the citadel will become a wasteland until…!

“Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high” (Isaiah 32:15). There is hope! Picture justice dwelling in a desert which was produced by the folly of man. Now righteousness would live in a fertile field. What makes the difference? It is the fruit of righteousness.

In our world today it might seem that many principles treasured by Godly people, are being violated by the opinions of man. For example, mankind, without seeing ahead, claims to be more compassionate than God. Did God really say “Come out from among them and be separate”? (2 Corinthians 6:17). What does this mean? In a day when God’s Word is devalued, perhaps it means we should be bold enough to stand for our belief in Biblical truth. We are different from the world in our thoughts toward God and man. Compassion might take the form of tough-love. When will we allow our “rights” as believers to be taken away, discredited? Will we take a firm stand for righteousness?

Jesus warned His disciples that they would be scattered. It’s easier to be strong when you are joined together. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught there must be unity in the faith (John 17:20-23). Paul reinforced Jesus’ teaching by addressing unity in the church (Ephesians 4:13). Isaiah leaves us with cause for good cheer. He writes that the fruit of righteousness will be peace (32:17). Within our own spirits the possibility of peace in the midst of life’s storms comes to us when the righteousness of Christ rules in our lives.


Jesus promised His disciples they would have trouble in this world. We don’t want to think about that. However, He links trouble to an experience of His peace….”So that in Me you may have peace” (John 16:33). Are we willing to pay the price for His peace? Our confidence comes from the reality of His resurrection when He proved to the world there is greater life beyond what we know and experience here! Will we be a part of His millennial kingdom? Take heart! “Be of Good cheer!” (KJV) “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17)

by Marilyn Daniels (


The Tale of Three Women

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Genesis 26-27

It is believed he was born sometime between 2,000 – 1,500 BC. He was the apple of his mother’s eye, but had to compete for his father’s favour with his older half-brother. He grew up with significant tensions in his home, sibling rivalries exacerbated by competition between the mothers of two sons. Add to this that when a young teenager, his father felt led by God to sacrifice him on an altar and we have all that is needed for making one very insecure and perhaps rebellious son.

As God so often did, in the Old Testament, and perhaps even today, He gave people what they asked for. However, it took time! Abram needed a son and heir. Sarah longed to bear his child. They were visited by the angel of the Lord who promised them the desire of their hearts. However, they still had to wait – another 25 years must have seemed interminable considering their age when the promise was first given. Belief faltered. Sarah laughed at the idea and so Abraham gave in to her suggestion that they practise the custom of the day, since it seemed God had made no way for them to share a child, since she was beyond child-bearing age.

And so, her maid-servant Hagar bore Abraham’s child. There is no indication that Ishmael was ever adopted by Sarah as originally intended. Eventually he was banned from the home where he had enjoyed being the son of a wealthy patriarch, sent to make his home and to find his way among desert nomads. His mother wept.

Isaac was the son of promise. God clearly told Abraham that Isaac would be born of Sarah for the purpose of His eternal covenant continuing down his ancestral line (Genesis 17:19). As a baby Isaac was circumcised, the sign of that covenant relationship (Genesis 21:4). God ordained his name (Genesis 17:19), to signify the laughter and joy his miraculous birth would bring.

Isaac never seemed to have much control over major events in his life. He was nearly 30 when his father’s servant went to find him a wife. Thankfully Eliezer was a man of prayer (Genesis 24:12-14). Isaac had grown up a witness to his father’s faith in God. When did that faith become his own? Was it when the voice of God thundered from the heavens at the moment of his pending sacrifice? Was it when his mother died and he needed to be comforted? We know that Isaac built an altar at one point in his life, where he called on the name of the Lord (Genesis 26:25).

Rebekah willingly returned with Eliezer to become Isaac’s wife. After many barren years Isaac prayed for a child and she bore twins, Jacob and Esau renowned as totally different characters. As his father had done before him, Isaac feared the king of the Philistines so lied, saying Rebekah was his sister, in case they would kill him to get her.

Still God blessed him as a successful farmer (Genesis 26:12-13), and with long life. Even after he blessed his sons, thinking he was dying, Isaac lived another 43 years (Genesis 27:2, 35:28). In his old age Isaac became blind. Instigated by a suggestion from his Mother, Jacob was able to use this blindness to trick Isaac into giving him the blessing that rightly belonged to his older twin Esau. Many years later they reconciled and together they buried their father at the age of 180.

To all intense and purposes, Isaac was a very ordinary man. He survived a tumultuous childhood. All along the way he was led by others, his mother, his father, his wife and sons. Even Abimelech directed where he lived. He prospered from the land which he faithfully cultivated. Perhaps his one claim to fame was that God entrusted the covenantal promises to him that linked him to Abraham and Jacob, in the development of the nation of Israel.


The tale of three women – Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah! What characteristic did they all share? Was their contribution to family life a positive or negative one? What impact did each have on their husbands and sons? How would you determine who truly believed in God? Compare yourself to each of these women – what can you learn? Is there a woman whose life of faith has made a difference to your spiritual journey?

by Marilyn Daniels (


Here Am I Lord

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1 Samuel 3 (1:10-18, 20)

Most of us will be familiar with Hannah’s story. One of Elkanah’s two wives, she was favoured by her husband, but sadly was barren. Desperate for a child, she sought the Lord with tears. It is significant to the story that she went to the source, the only One who could help her. She worshiped God in the Sanctuary at Shiloh, the religious centre of Israel until they lost the ark of the covenant to the Philistines. These are clues that Hannah was a Godly woman.

In due time God gave Hannah a son. She kept the baby with her for the first few years, but true to the vow she had made, she presented the child to the Lord after he was weaned, when he was about 3 years old. At that time she left him, to be brought up for service to God (1 Samuel 1:22).

What sort of impact did this sudden wrenching away from his mother have on little Samuel? We are only told that he ministered before the Lord, under Eli the priest (1 Samuel 2:11). Since we read Samuel wore the linen ephod when he was ministering before the Lord (2:18) we must assume he had been consecrated before the Lord. Now this seemed to be Eli’s second chance. His own sons were a grave disappointment, wicked men with no regard for the Lord (:12). Although they were priests according to their Aaronic lineage, they treated their responsibilities with contempt and then ignored their father’s rebuke.

Jewish history records that Eli wore two crowns; he was both priest and judge, becoming Judge after the death of Samson. He held that position for 40 years until his tragic death at the age of 98. Eventually Samuel succeeded him as judge. Both his people and the child Samuel warmed to Eli’s loving nature. Perhaps he erred with his sons because he was too soft.

Meanwhile God made His purpose clear to Samuel. We are not told how old he was when God called him, but this calling confirmed the role for which God had prepared him. The ground was laid at the knee of a Godly mother who taught him he was an answer to her prayers, that indeed God is faithful to hear our every cry and to answer in the best possible way! Continuing with our story – Three times the boy answered the voice waking him from sleep: “Here am I”. The third time he ran in to see if Eli had called, the old man recognized God was calling Samuel and instructed him how to answer. “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” (3:9).

“Speak Lord!” What anticipation! With expectancy this young lad waited on God. How often do we pause in the midst of our busy lives to hear what God has to say? Did this child really believe that God had a message for him? Who was he? Nobody special really, and just a kid. If God gave a young person a message for us would we accept that it came from God? How many ways would we test it first? Do we believe that God speaks to ordinary people like you and me today?

Clearly there are lessons to be learned from Samuel’s life. The boy had a deep respect for his mother’s faith as well as that of his teacher. He was not sheltered from the evil influence of Eli’s sons, but rather learned as he watched them, to abhor that which was evil. When God calls we may mistake His voice for that of someone else, as Samuel did. Usually God confirms His call by repeating it, sometimes by another person’s confirmation. Eli recognized God was trying to get Samuel’s attention. In a day when visions from God were rare, God entrusted this boy with a terrible message of the judgment about to fall on Eli and his sons.


Which do we most resemble, Hannah, Eli, Eli’s sons or Samuel? More personally, have we answered the Lord’s call with “Here am I”? Are we afraid of consecrating our lives to Him? The question lingering in my mind is whether or not I want to hear from God? And if so, why do I not spend more time listening for His voice?

Speak, Lord, in the stillness, speak your word to me; hushed my heart to listen in expectancy.
Speak, O gracious Master, in this quiet hour; let me see your face, Lord, feel your touch of power.
For the words you give me they are life indeed; living bread from heaven, now my spirit feed.
Speak, your servant listens, be not silent, Lord; let me know your presence; let your voice be heard.
Fill me with the knowledge of your glorious will; all your own good pleasure in my life fulfil.

by Marilyn Daniels (


The Fruit of the Spirit…

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Galatians 5:22

In Bible study one day a very interesting statement was made to the effect that we have to activate the Holy Spirit in order to see His fruit in our lives. True or false? How might one go about activating the Holy Spirit?

A thought occurred to me that we cannot earn our salvation by anything we do. Neither do we earn the fruit of the Spirit. Paul under inspiration of that very same Spirit, the Divine third person of the Godhead, tells us the fruit of the Spirit is. It is there for us; once we surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit the seed planted by the Holy Spirit germinates, eventually producing fruit.

Yielding doesn’t come naturally to human beings. So many life situations trigger a natural urge to control; it may be subtle. To give up striving for sanctification, for perfection, even for righteousness puts us exactly where God wants us to be. Then, and only then, can we see His mighty hands at work, reshaping us into the image of Christ, demonstrating His power to make us loving, joyful, peaceable and so forth (Galatians 5:22-23). Have you ever marvelled to find you are a more patient, gentler type of person since you became a child of God? What brought about that change?

When we reject the forgiveness, the freedom, and the faith offered to us by the Holy Spirit we grieve God. He “quickens” those who are dead in trespasses and in sins, with a Holy jolt that activates you and me to a conscious awareness of our need for Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1 & 5). There is no eternal hope outside of accepting these promptings by the Holy Spirit! It is also a very dangerous thing to suppose we, the created ones, might in any way manipulate God the Creator into a fast fix.

You see, the fruit of the Spirit developing from the flower of your salvation, is exactly that – something derived from the power of the root, from the essence of all that is essentially Godly. Paul has just contrasted the acts of our sinful nature (Ephesians 5:19-21) with the pure realities of being controlled, directed, empowered by the Holy Spirit, living in us. He knows our needs better than we know ourselves. His perfect nature covers our filthy rags with the righteousness of Christ! (Isaiah 64:6).

Facing His crucifixion, Jesus comforted His disciples with a very important promise. He would not be a visible presence in their lives, but He would send the Holy Spirit, not just for them, but for all of His followers down through centuries of time. The characteristics of God would flow into our lives as we turn our thoughts towards the Lord Jesus Christ. “Fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). It is Christ alone who saves and sanctifies and fills us with the capacity to be what God wants us to be! Hallelujah!


It is Satan’s ploy to make us think we have any part to play as we live the Christian life. It is terribly humbling to understand I am nothing, but God is everything. Yet we know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). The thrill comes when we recognize that God has been working in and through us to accomplish His eternal purpose and that we see this without any anxious striving on our part! That of course does not mean we throw out living according to Biblical principles, but God gets the glory for enabling us to do so!

by Marilyn Daniels (