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Saturday, December 21, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spiit # 51

And Each Man Did That Which Was Right In His Own Eyes

So the Lord used Samson to begin to deliver the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. We have seen that Israel should  not have been in bondage to the Philistines, or to the Canaanites; but they were overcome, over and over again, because they did not drive them out when they were strong. They did not drive them out when they were "strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." They were taken into bondage because they allowed their natural man to govern their lives. Even after the Lord began to deliver them through Samson, we find these solemn words recorded at the end of the Book of Judges: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did [continually] that which was right in his own eyes." This caused the strength of everyone's natural man to grow stronger and stronger, until the collective strength of the natural man governed Israel. Then Saul, who represents the accumulative strength of their corporate natural an, was made their king.

In the Old Testament, we have seen that the Philistines are one of the agents used by satan for his antichrist activity. We have also seen that that which is of the antichrist becomes stronger and stronger when God's people, individually or corporately, give place to the devil by allowing their natural man to control their lives. So the Philistines had reached their maximum strength because the natural man was king in Israel, and Goliath appeared to challenge Israel. The strength and power of the antichrist spirit of satan had reached its maximum strength, and the sum of its evil strength is 666.

But God has other plans, He already has those in place who will overcome this giant of uncircumcision. Therefore, during the last years of Samson's life, when God began to deliver His people out of the hands of the Philistines, and during the time each man was continually doing that which was right in his own eyes, a handmaid of the Lord was praying. In the hill country of Mount Ephraim, in a town called Ramah, a handmaid of the Lord, a bondslave of the Lord, named Hannah was in deep travail and anguish because she had no child.

"Year after year" Hannah poured out her earnest longings for a son. "Year after year" Hannah poured out her sorrows and distresses before the Lord. Though she felt oppressed, and even "bitter in soul" at times, she still continued her travail "in the Spirit," she did not give up. Hannah's travail was the travail of the Spirit; in other words, her prayers were not expended upon her own natural desires. No! at the center of Hannah's prayers was her desire to satisfy the Lord and His Way, for she vowed to give her son to the Lord: "... I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life ..." (1 Samuel 1:11).

So Samuel was born. God had called and chosen Himself a man who would serve Him all the days of his life, and Samuel proved to be one of the most faithful of God's servants. Remember, throughout the ages, those who are with the Lamb as He overcomes all that s antichrist are "they that are... called, and chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14). Samuel was birthed through prayer, even his name speaks of prayer. Samuel's name means both "asked of God" and "God heard." Samuel was birthed through prayer because Hannah's long travail was "in the Spirit"; and Samuel himself became a fervent intercessor.

Hannah can also be numbered among "they" who are with the Lamb as He overcomes all that is antichrist throughout each and every age; for Hannah, whose name means "grace", was used by the Lord to show His Everlasting Grace unto His people. Thus, after Hannah had taken the young child Samuel to the house of the Lord and dedicated him to serve the Lord all the days of his life: "Hannah prayed ..." (1 Samuel 2:1). Hannah prayed "in the Spirit," and in her prayer we find the first occurrence of the Divine Title "Christ," or "Messiah," as it is written in the Word. God used Hannah's vessel to utter for the first time the Divine Title of His Christ, His Messiah, "His Anointed": "And He [the Lord] will exalt the power of His Anointed - His Christ" (1 Samuel 2:10).

At the time when there was no king in Israel, "Hannah prayed." At the time when each man did that which was right in his own eyes, "Hannah prayed." At the time when God's people were, again and again, being taken into the bondage of the Philistines, "Hannah prayed.

Hannah's long travail brought forth a "man of God," a man who was for God and God alone, a man who served the Lord all the days of his life, a man who lived his life before the Lord in such a way that his very life condemned the evil and corruption that prevailed among God's people. Hannah's prayers brought forth a "man of  God" whose heart was so at one with his Lord,that when the people rejected Samuel as their judge, the Lord said to Samuel: "they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me ..."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 51)

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