May 8

1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV) 2"There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

Hannah was barren and her husband's other wife tormented her because of it. In those days, to be barren was to appear to be cursed of God. As she was pouring out her heart to God in anguish at the tabernacle, the priest, Eli, thought she was drunk. He rebuked her for it, but then heard her explanation. He asked the LORD to grant her request. She promised to give the child back to the LORD. She named her child Samuel. After she gave birth, she sang the prayer in 1 Samuel 2. That prayer includes the verse for today.

We can know that even though we are mortal and of little account, the Creator hears our prayer when we pour out our hearts to Him. Hannah did not have to have children to have a meaningful life, but she thought she did. God heard the pain of her heart. What an awesome God we serve. He owes us nothing and we owe Him all, yet He hears our prayer and is concerned with our pain.

Hannah declared God to be uniquely holy. That is very true. He is the standard of holiness. We can be credited with the righteousness of Christ and be made holy in God's eyes, yet He is uniquely holy. Our holiness is received, whereas His is inherent. He has always been holy throughout time. We became holy at a point in time.

He is always the same, and so, He is our Rock. No other god concerns himself with man in love and mercy like our God. No other god is forever perfect like our God. The answer to Hannah's prayer filled her with an awareness of the wonderful God she served.

Consider: The answers to our prayers should fill us with wonder too.

May 8

Luke 10:40-42 (NIV) 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" 41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

There was a family of two sisters and a brother that lived in Bethany, just two miles from Jerusalem. The gospels tell us of a number of times in which Jesus stayed there. John said that Jesus loved these three (John 11:5). This passage is introduced with a statement that this is Martha's home. She felt the responsibility to entertain and provide the meal, but she wasn't getting any help from her sister, Mary. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words. Martha asked Jesus to intervene and tell Mary to give her a hand. "Lord, don't you care?"

Things often seem clear from our human perspective. "I'm doing ALL the work!" Doesn't anyone care? Doesn't God care? If we forget that service is a privilege, we'll have the wrong attitude. If Martha understood the blessing of service and the idea that Jesus was serving them at that moment, she may not have felt the need to insist on help.

There is a cultural perspective we should consider in this story. Women were not usually allowed to be in on a men's group discussion or teaching session. The culture expected Mary to be in the kitchen. Jesus doesn't yield to the culture of the world. He pointed out that Mary had chosen a good thing. He wasn't going to take that from her for culture's sake, or for Martha's misconception of the need to have a meal done at a certain time. There is a time for service, and a time to receive the service of another. There is a time to work, and a time to listen. Find the joy of the LORD in each. Don't look down on another who is not in sync with your current call. When we get to John 11, we will see Martha as the one who shines brightest, expressing her faith in Jesus.

Remember: If you want to take time at Jesus' feet, you have chosen the good thing that will not be taken from you.