Monday, May 20, 2013

Merciful Mondays: Reciprocal Relationship

Hannah from 1 Samuel (who our very own blogger gets her name from!), knew that her relationship with God should be reciprocal. Like Samson’s mother, who I wrote about last week, Hannah was barren. And it was killing her. She cried every time her husband Elkanah offered a sacrifice because the portion of the meat she received was so much less than Penninah, Elkanah’s other wife who had multiple children. In those moments, she became sorrowful because her barrenness was so apparent.

One time she felt particularly depressed so she cried out to the Lord for help. Most importantly, Hannah knew that if God would bless her with the desire of her heart (to have a son) then she would be forever grateful, and she promised to show her gratefulness by raising her son to serve the Lord.  “And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut” (1 Samuel 1:11).

God blessed her with a son in a matter of months, and after she had stopped breastfeeding, she took him to the temple to be an assistant of sorts to the priest. In verses 27 and 28 she says, “I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.”

I’m no relationship expert, but I do know that reciprocity is important in any relationship, whether it be mother/daughter, boyfriend/girlfriend, father/son, friend/friend, teacher/student, etc. In every relationship, each person expects something from the other and although expectations may vary, “the stability of the relationship comes from the extent to which rights and responsibilities are balanced” (  A lot of relationships fail because they lack that stability, causing one person to feel that they are giving soooo much more than the other.

This same rule applies to our relationship with God. Although the Bible says that we can never repay God for all of the things that he does for us and that the “lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting” (meaning it is never ending and since we are mere mortals, we can’t emulate it), because of our individual relationships with him, when God does things for us he has a certain expectation of what we should do (Psalm 130:17). When God blesses us, we should bless him back! God should never feel as if he is giving so much to us and we are not acknowledging him in return. So this is OUR challenge: every time God does something for us, no matter how big or how small, we need to acknowledge him by blessing him with a praise, blessing him with a prayer of exaltation, blessing him with a song, blessing him by repenting of  wrongdoing, or blessing him by promising to do something for someone else.  

Merciful Mondays: Jael
For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31

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