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Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting to Know God: El-de'a

And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. - I Samuel 2:1-3

This is a praise from Hannah after she discovered she was finally with child after years of being barren.  In a time when being childless was considered a mark of sin and shame, Hannah's situation was both discouraging and stressful.  She prayed that God would open her womb and send her a son.  So desperate was she that she promised God that if He would give her a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord and the Lord's work.  Hannah's prayers did not fall on deaf ears, and here at the beginning of I Samuel 2, we witness her response to answered prayer.  Not only does she praise the Lord for what He's done, but she also praises Him for who He is, "the God of knowledge" or El-de'a.

I recently received a text message from a dear friend, expressing a need for prayer for a myriad of trials she is currently facing in her life.  Her first text spoke of the newest development on her stormy sea, and the second text contained these words:  "Feelin' your pain these days".  My heart broke because I knew exactly to what she was referring.  Despite what others may think, the Christian life is not a bed of roses, still some of us end up with a lot of thorns.  My friend knows some of the trials Jason and I have been through and how many of those trials became even more stressful due to a lack of funds.  Now, she's walking through that same valley, and my heart breaks for her.  

In the darkest of valleys, it's difficult to see the good in life, and it's even more difficult to see God.  You feel alone and forsaken and you ask those age-old questions:  "God, where are you?  Don't you see what's going on?  Don't you know what's happening here?"  Hannah's prayer reminds us that God does, in fact, know.  He is El-de'a, the God who knows.  He sees what we're going through, and He understands.  He hasn't left us.  In fact, He's walking alongside us in our struggles, there to catch us when we stumble and fall.  He picks us up, dusts us off and sets us back on our path.

The trouble is that we can't see where that path is leading, but God can because He is the God who knows.  He knows what lies ahead.  He knows about the bends in the road.  He knows what's best, and He loves us too much to offer us any less.  Whatever you may be facing today, God knows.  He knows the situation.  He knows your fears.  He knows your questions.  And He knows the answers.  Turn the situation over to His capable hands and trust in Him to bring about the solution.  For He is not only the God who knows but also the God who remembers.

And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. - I Samuel 1:19b

There's a lot of information stored in my brain, which means I know a lot of things, but that does not mean that I remember a lot of things.  I realized that truth this past fall when I was writing an extension course for the Biology class of a local college.  I took Biology in high school and college.  I knew most of the information contained within that textbook, but I was amazed at how much I had forgotten in the few (he-he) years since I took Biology.  Such is not the case with the Lord.  The only thing He forgets is our confessed sin.  Otherwise, He remembers.  He remembers the struggles we went through last year that still have us reeling into this new year.  He remembers the hurt you felt when the friend betrayed your trust.  He remembers the pain you felt upon losing your loved one.  He remembers every prayer we've prayed and every tear we've cried.  God knows, and He remembers.

I'm the type of person that likes to have a plan, and I like to have all the answers.  But if there's one thing life has taught me, it's that sometimes the answers are beyond my reach.  Fortunately, they are never beyond the reach of my Heavenly Father.  He always has the answers I need.  And really, that's all I need to know.  As I always told my students in school, knowledge is not about having all the right answers; it's about knowing where to find the right answers.  So, what do you know?

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