Blog Entry 122010
1 Samuel 2:1-10
1 Samuel 2:1-10
2Hannah prayed and said,
‘My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.*
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my* victory.
2 ‘There is no Holy One like the Lord,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honour.*
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
9 ‘He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
10 The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High* will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.’
15 God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’ 17Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to himself, ‘Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ 18And Abraham said to God, ‘O that Ishmael might live in your sight!’ 19God said, ‘No, but your wife Sarah shall bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac.* I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20As for Ishmael, I have heard you; I will bless him and make him fruitful and exceedingly numerous; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this season next year.’ 22And when he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham.
Paul Reproves the Galatians
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. 9Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits?* How can you want to be enslaved to them again? 10You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. 11I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted.
12 Friends,* I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong. 13You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the gospel to you; 14though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15What has become of the goodwill you felt? For I testify that, had it been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you may make much of them. 18It is good to be made much of for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 19My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
It is the week of Christmas, and Paul’s reproof to the Galatians strikes me as being close to all our homes and hearts.
In years past I thought Christmas was a special day, and acceptable to celebrate, since it was still celebrated by many as the birth date of Jesus. Even when it was pointed out that Jesus could not have been born in the winter, according to the Bible, it was still somewhat acceptable, since many people do not know their real birthdate and just pick a day for an annual birthday celebration.
But Christmas really isn’t about Christ anymore, and it is despicable. Last evening my wife and I were scanning the movies that we might watch the next few days leading up to Christmas. There was Home for Christmas, White Christmas, Santa Clause, Fred Claus, etc, ad infinitum, but there was not a single movie about Christ, or about people celebrating Jesus, or even a documentary or a historical account. Nothing about Jesus was on any Christmas oriented channel. I left the room, and went elsewhere to read and write.
I’m taking Paul’s words to heart ‘How can you want to be enslaved to them again? 10You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years.
A final observation may be that consumerism and greed have become American religions. Again, as Paul said ,’ I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.’
Maybe for Christmas we could pray that we, our families and friends, begin to consider the effect of worshipping consumption and greed.