1 Samuel 2:18-26
Moving forward with the Lord is not a New Yearís resolution; it is a way
of living that rolls gently from one year to the next.
This coming new year is less than a micro-second beyond the end of this year, and the only thing that is really new is the date, and everything that comes beyond.
The new year is not a new ďthingĒ; it is really a continuation of this year, and if we are truly moving forward with the Lord, then and only then, can we make it better than this year.
If we are committed to living in the heavenly will of God, then we cannot sit idly by waiting for the Lord to do something to end the pain, suffering, and death of both humans and animals here on earth; we need to be constantly moving forward with the Lord into all of our tomorrows.
As an example, if we are the children of God who are doing our best to free creation from its present corruption, then everything we do that helps accomplish this is moving forward with the Lord.
God never wants us to move backwards; He always wants us to be moving forward, and the easiest way to begin is to stop eating animals and their byproducts, for this will help bring some of the peace we say we want.
Letís now take a look at 1 Samuel 2:18-26, and see what Hannah, Samuelís mother, does in her way of moving forward with the Lord.
18. Now Samuel was ministering before the LORD, as a boy wearing a linen ephod.
If we remember, Hannah had no children, which caused some people to unjustly
scapegoat her as being cursed by the Lord, so she bargained with God that if
she had a son, she would dedicate him to the service of the Lord.
God did answer her, and she did have a son, and that is how Samuel, as a child, came to be ministering before the Lord.
We donít believe that the Lord ever wanted this kind of bargaining, but we know that many people are doing this even to this very day.
19. And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
Making an animal sacrifice can never be a way of moving forward with the Lord, for it is further corrupting creation with even more bloodshed.
20. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, "May the LORD give you children from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD." And they went to their own home.
Note carefully that this blessing was from Eli and not from the Lord, but the Lord did honor Eliís prayer, which was in spite of the animal sacrifice.
21. And the LORD visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the LORD.
We probably can say that Samuelís growth before the Lord was the same thing
as moving forward with the Lord.
Now letís shift our attention from Hannah, and look at what was happening with the ministering before the Lord.
22. Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all
Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the
tent of meeting.
23. And he said to them, "Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people?
24. "No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the Lord's people circulating.
25. If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?" But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the LORD desired to put them to death.
It is quite clear that Eliís sons were moving backwards against the Lordís desire and into more corruption.
26. Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the
LORD and with men.
It is clear that Samuel was moving forward with the Lord, even though he had
grown up with those who did not follow the heavenly will of God.
In Luke 2:41-52, we are told about some of Jesusí childhood, and one of the ways He was moving forward with the Lord.
41. And His [Jesusí] parents used to go to Jerusalem every year at the Feast
of the Passover.
42. And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;
Note carefully that we are told that this was the custom of the Feast, which does not necessarily mean that it is also what the Lord desires; the custom most likely is the custom of human beings, for God desires obedience and not sacrifice.
43. and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the
boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. And His parents were unaware of it,
44. but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day's journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
45. And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for Him.
This is the typical reaction of any good parent with a large extended family, and it reminds me of the movie series ďHome AloneĒ.
46. And it came about that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions.
Apparently, Jesus had never left the temple, but it seems to be one of the last places that they thought to look for Him.
47. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.
This is because Jesus was moving forward with His heavenly Father, much in the same way we should be moving forward with the Lord.
48. And when they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him,
"Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been
anxiously looking for You."
49. And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?"
50. And they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.
There seems to be a story within this story, for we believe it would be out
of character for Jesus to address His mother in this way had He not spoken
to her about these things previously.
Jesusí excitement was centered on the things of God, while His familyís seems to have been centered on the festival, which is most likely the reason for them to be looking for Him every other place, before coming to the temple.
When we are moving forward with the Lord, we seek the things of God, first.
51. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
While His mother may not have sounded like she was focusing upon God when
she returned to Jerusalem, she sure is focused upon Him now.
We all need to be moving forward with the Lord at all times.
52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God
This will happen to us, too, if we have set our desire upon heaven, and
moving forward with the Lord.
We cannot change the past, but we sure can make all our tomorrows better if we are committed to moving forward with the Lord, for Godís future is our future.
Now letís take a look at what Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians 3:12-17.
12. And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a
heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
13. bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
This is all part of moving forward with the Lord.
Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience are all fruits of the spirit of those who live in the heavenly will of God and are moving forward with the Lord.
The ways of the world are indifferent to the suffering of others, particularly when it concerns animals.
The ways of the world are harsh and they lack kindness.
The world is greedy and self-centered, and knows little about what it means to be truly humble, and the worldís harshness also removes any gentleness, and greediness removes their patience.
But there is still something even more important about moving forward with the Lord, as Paul tells us next.
14. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
This is the heavenly love that comes from God.
15. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
In order for the peace of Christ to rule in our heart, we need to be moving forward with the Lord and not backwards according to the ways of the world.
16. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
This is what happens when we are moving forward with the Lord.
17. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
This is who we are to be in all our tomorrows.
We are to work in the heavenly will of God to free creation from its present corruption.
We are to help end all the pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death, which are connected with the way that most people live; we are to return to eating only the plant foods that God created for us to eat in the Garden of Eden.
We are to be always moving forward with the Lord.
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