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MY HEART EXULTS IN THE LORD
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
8 MAY 1988
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Samuel 1:20
Preparation Verse: (Psalms 35:9)
And my soul shall rejoice in the Lord;
It shall exult in His salvation.
Today is Mother's Day.
The Bible does not set a day aside to celebrate or honor our Mothers. In fact, the Bible approaches this subject in a much different way. Let's take a look at some of these.
In Exodus 20:12 it says:
12. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you."
Note that here God says to honor our father and our mother, but He sets no limit on when we should do it.
God also tells us that when we do honor our parents, things will go well for us. This also implies that if we do not honor them, things will not go well.
In Deuteronomy 21:18-21 we are told that if a son is stubborn and rebellious toward his parents, they are to seize their son and denounce him before the elders. Then the men of his city are to stone him to death.
God said to do this so that the evil would be removed from their midst and “all Israel shall hear of it and fear.”
This is an example of how God tells the people the consequences of their hardness of heart and lack of unconditional love.
And while we are pondering this, think about something else.
When people eat the flesh of some mother's child, have not those people also taken that child and condemned him or her to death?
This also shows a hardness of heart and lack of love and empathy for the billions of animal mothers and children around the world.
Should not we honor them, too?
Didn't God lovingly create us all?
Shouldn't we be honoring all mothers and not just our own?
God puts very great value on the honoring of our parents. But also continue to note that there is no limit to when we should honor them.
Now let’s take a look at Ephesians 6:1-3.
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),
3. That it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
In all that we have seen so far, there is a great emphasis on honoring our parents, but no mention of specifically when to do it.
Do you know why?
It's because we are to honor our parents all the time. That's right; every day, all day long, for this is pleasing to the Lord.
The setting of one day aside to honor our mothers is not of God, but of man, perhaps to ease our consciences for not honoring our mothers every day of the year. God wants us to do it every day.
There is one very important limitation to this honoring. It is to be in the Lord. This applies to the parents, as well as to the children.
God must come first in everyone’s life, or we will gain nothing.
Note what it says in Matthew 10:37.
37. "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Therefore, what all of this is saying is that we are to honor all that is godly in the parent or child, and not to accept or honor what is counter to God's will.
This means that in order for a family to be in harmony with each other, they must first be in harmony with God.
The way that a parent truly acquires and deserves the honor that God speaks of is by leading their children to the Lord, and by doing all that is in their power to set the proper example of a Christ-like life.
And this brings us to the title of today’s sermon: MY HEART EXULTS IN THE LORD.
The Old and New Testament lessons for this morning were songs of godly mothers who set the proper example for us all.
The first was from Hanna, the mother of Samuel who was the last of the judges of Israel; and the second was from Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Hanna and Peninnah were the two wives of Elkanah. Peninnah had many children, but Hanna had none; and Hanna was reproached by her rival because of her being childless.
Instead of fighting back with evil against evil, Hanna brought her request before the Lord, so that her reproach might be taken away.
God granted her request. Thus Hanna named her son Samuel, which means "heard of God," for she said, "Because I have asked him of the Lord." (1Samuel 1:20)
This was part of Hanna's walk with God. It is also an example to all of us to behave in the same way. God will most assuredly hear our prayers and answer us.
Thus Hanna dedicated her son to the Lord. And on the day of his dedication, she prayed the song we read this morning. (1 Samuel 2:1-10)
1 Then Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
My horn is exalted in the LORD,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
2 “There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
3 “Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.
4 “The bows of the mighty are shattered,
But the feeble gird on strength.
5 “Those who were full hire themselves out for bread,
But those who were hungry cease to hunger.
Even the barren gives birth to seven,
But she who has many children languishes.
6 “The LORD kills and makes alive;
He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 “The LORD makes poor and rich;
He brings low, He also exalts.
8 “He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S,
And He set the world on them.
9 “He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.
10 “Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered;
Against them He will thunder in the heavens,
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
And He will give strength to His king,
And will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
"My heart exults in the Lord," she sang. Every part of her body was lifted up by the presence of the Lord within her, and the things He did for her.
This comes only from a total submission to God's will. And when this happens, we also lift up the Lord in our praises. Thus Hanna says, "My horn is exalted in the Lord."
Why does Hanna feel this way?
It is because she is rejoicing in the Lord's salvation, and she wants others to know about it.
She is living the example of a mother worthy of the honor that God commands us to give to a parent.
This reaction of Hanna's is not that unusual. All who come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ experience similar reactions. And even though Hanna lived many years before Jesus Christ's birth, her commitment was totally in agreement with God's will in her day.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, experienced the same reaction even before He was born, for she said, "My soul exalts the Lord." Every part of her inner being is lifting up the Lord. (Luke 1:46-55)
46 And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
50 “AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
53 “HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
54 “He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
And why does she feel this way?
Because, as she said: “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” She is filled with the saving power of Jesus Christ, both because He is in her womb and because she is filled with the Holy Spirit.
She goes on to explain more of the reason for this rejoicing: "For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave."
How could a young woman of her day, as yet not married, rejoice when she becomes pregnant?
Under the law, she should have been taken outside and stoned to death.
How could she rejoice?
She could rejoice because she was totally committed to the Lord. The world didn't understand then, and it still doesn't today; but she did testify of God's grace through her life, and the world cannot deny that.
She could rejoice because her pregnancy was not the result of the lust of the flesh, but of her total submission to the will of God.
Thus she is worthy of the honor that the Lord says we are to give our parents.
Did you notice the similarity in the prayer songs of these two women?
There was about 1000 years between the time of Hanna and the time of Mary; yet they both acknowledge the holiness and righteousness of God: that He often reverses the circumstances of the proud and exalts the humble, and that in Him is our salvation.
Not only was it true over that thousand years, but it is still true today and will also be true tomorrow. The key, however, is that in order to make it true in our lives, we must accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.
Only then can we experience what Hanna and Mary experienced.
In the 50th verse of the 12th chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells us a very important spiritual relationship that must exist within a family. He said this after someone told Him that His own family was there. Note the verse:
50. "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother."
Are we members of the Family of God?
We are, if we do the will of our Father who is in heaven.
The proof of that relationship is knowing that our sins have been forgiven, and in our exaltation of the Lord we find ourselves doing all that the Lord desires us to do.
If we are parents in this relationship with Christ, we are honored because of the life we lead and for the godly home we provided for our children.
It we are children in this relationship with Christ, we will be honoring our parents continually, and not just one day a year, because it is the will of God, and thereby also receive the blessing of God in return.
There is no greater honor that a parent can receive than to have their children grow into the adults that they desired them to be.
There is no greater honor we can give our Father in heaven than to do His will.
Yes, today is Mother’s Day.
Does your heart exult in the Lord?
Is His very presence in your life lifting you up?
And all at the same time are you praising His holy Name? Are you exalting Him?
If you are experiencing this, child, then share it with your mother.
And mother, if you are experiencing this, then share it with your child.
And if they are not with you, then share it with the Lord.
If you are not experiencing this relationship with the Lord, then submit yourself to Him and ask Him to forgive you.
Ask Jesus to come into your heart and change you into the person He desires you to be. And if you mean it, it will happen.
If everything we do in our lives is Christ-centered, then we will be successful in what we do and have that joy and exaltation that surpasses all understanding.
Then we will walk with the Lord and sing as Hanna and Mary did: "My heart exults in the Lord."
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!