No Elkanah, you’re really not

One thing is needful. These are the words of Jesus (Luke 10:42). That one thing is fellowship with Him. That is the one thing that I need. I don’t always know that as fully as I should and other things begin to creep in and crowd out the one thing.

 I was reminded of this “one thing” concept today when reading the story of Hannah, who was barren: Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” 1 Samuel 1:8

I’m sure Elkanah was a good husband and provider. We’re told in verse 5 that he loved Hannah. It sounds as though she may have enjoyed a very pleasant relationship with Elkanah. But her heart was longing for one thing, and this one thing is what brought her to the place of pouring out her heart to the Lord in the fervency of her desire for it. She wanted nothing harmful, illegal or immoral. Only what was promised to her: children – a heritage from the Lord.

Elkanah could be a wonderful husband. But he could never be a son. And that was what her heart longed for. What does your heart long for? In those quiet moments when you can still your thoughts and search those secret corridors of your heart – what is that one thing you are longing for? Is it Him?

The longing of my heart to walk more closely with Jesus is almost painful at times. Painful because, to be honest, although I know that this is the genuine desire of my heart, I seem to be so complacent in my seeking after Him.  In this complacency the question of the various Elkanah’s of life can be heard – “Am I not better?”

Elkanah will never be a substitute for a son. And absolutely nothing this world can offer – not even spiritual things – can be a substitute for a vibrant relationship with Christ.

Elkanah seemed to be content with the status quo. He didn’t understand Hannah’s longing. I wonder how many of us are like Elkanah – content with another church service, a few songs, a little sermon. But no meeting with God, no glory, a weekly event full of emotion but void of Presence. I KNOW THAT THERE IS MORE!!!!

And standing in church among a crowd of thousands, with voices singing worship choruses in unison, I find myself gazing upward, this question upon my lips – where are you God?

6 thoughts on “No Elkanah, you’re really not

  1. wellwateredgarden April 6, 2009 / 4:22 pm

    Oh, how you have hit the nail on the head! Everyone is searching … for what?

    Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

    Either that promise is true or it is just an empty statement to get people coming along. It is either true … or nothing in the Bible is true.

    A couple of things are wrong with our present ‘church’ system …

    1) We pay way more attention to what Paul teaches then what Jesus teaches and that makes us Paulians.

    2) We try to juggle the teachings of the Old Testament Law with the New Testament promises of grace and freedom and that doesn’t work except build frustration and no assuraqnce of salvation.

    I heard the other day of a small survey a senior pastor in a large church conducted among his staff. He asked them to answer this question: What do you think God’s opinion is of you? Remember, these were all confessing Christians. Eighty (EIGHTY!) percent of them answered: God thinks I’m a failure.

    How can that be? How can 80% of church workers not know about God’s love and grace? Do they not know that when Jesus cried just before He died, “It is finished!” that it was.

    The reason church people aren’t sure of their salvation is because most preachers are caught up in ‘sin consciousness’ preaching, rather than the solution to it.

    The reason non-Christians say that Christians are intolerant is that we are AGAINST everything, rather than being FOR truth and righteousness.

    We think it is our God given task to hold the world accountable and to continually remind them of how wrong they are. It is not our job at all! It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict people of sin. We simply need to be examples of turth and righteousness.

    It is interesting to note that the only people Jesus ever accused publicly of being in the wrong were the church leaders of His day, and He was totally brutal with them. To others He simply preached that the Kingdom of God was/is near, all around them and in their mouths, and they needed only to grab onto it to receive it.

    But no, we are always ‘up in arms’ with those who don’t agree with us and that makes for great division and neither side budges and no one believes the ‘good news’ of the Gospel of God because it doesn’t seem like good news at all!

    Anyway, don’t get me going … Peace and blessings!

  2. eph5v2 April 8, 2009 / 6:11 am

    Regarding the last comment – Aren’t Paul’s letters just as much God’s Word as the Gospels are? Was not Paul a follower of Jesus preaching the gospel of Jesus? Indeed Paul fleshes out for us what this grace you mention is all about. I guess I don’t understand why we want to pit God’s Word against God’s Word. As for the pastor comment – it is entirely possible to know you are saved by grace and feel that as a pastor you are failing. A Christian parent can fully hold to God’s grace and yet recognize areas they have failed as a parent. Indeed it is in the recognition of failure that we see our need of grace.

    Regarding the post – how true it is that the Elkanahs of this world try to fulfill us, but only God can. Thanks for the reminder. One question though – isn’t God present in the service? I know it sometimes feels that he isn’t there, but hasn’t he promised to be with us when we gather in his name? Aren’t we the temple of God, and he dwells among us? Perhaps the real issue is recognizing his presence….

    Just thinking. Glad I found your blog. I’ll be back.

  3. Eirene April 8, 2009 / 11:39 am

    I absolutely agree that God’s presence is with us always. But, at Mt Sinai, Moses had a different experience of God’s presence than the rest of Israel did. My complaint is not with God, my church, my pastor, the worship leader or the other believers that I worship with. My complaint is with myself. Just longing for a closer walk with Him…..

  4. wellwateredgarden April 8, 2009 / 9:41 pm

    In the Old Testament Gos is portrayed as God of the Jews as a nation. In the New testament Jesus is portrayed as the Savior of individual believers.

    God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants. Through Jesus God makes a covenant with believers who collectively make up the ‘church.’

    Jesus promised to be present where ‘two or three are gathered in His name.’ He didn’t say a whole lot about two or three hundred or two or three thousand who come together in various stages of faith and unbelief.

    Christianity is a personal experience with God through the presence and power of God’s spirit who visits with our human spirit and confirms our salvation and righteousness with God because of Jesus.

    Invariably, at the start of a church service there will be an invitational prayer for the Holy Spirit to make his presence known during that service. That is a purely religious thing because even the pastor, who usually says that prayer, apparently doesn’t believe that the spirit of God is there because at the very least some believers present brought him. He lives in believers, remember?

    Moses certainly did have a different experience of God than his brother Aaron and the people who were busy making a Golden Calf to worship.

    But, since Jesus died and was resurrected from death, and for those who believe in Him, what Moses experienced is available to all who seek it.

    Public prayers, even in a church service setting are contrary to what Jesus taught about prayer. Jesus teaches that one should pray in private, saying that what is said in private would be heard by the Father.

    Jesus only ever, in three years, called one public prayer meeting, in the garden of Gethsemane, and then didn’t attend it. Interesting?

    Church services are great for a group hug, if that’s what you need, but not that great for ‘worship,’ even though it is humanly gratifying and emotionally satisfying. The truth is there are usually as many lonely people in the service as there are upbeat happy people, and seldom do they meet.

    You want to experience God out of the church box? You want to know the ‘calling’ God would love to place on your life? You want to become a blessing to people? Go for a walk, or stay at home, but be alone, and ASK Him about that and see what happens.

    You see, Moses was available. His brother and the others weren’t.

    The way I see it, anyway …

  5. Mike April 9, 2009 / 4:07 pm

    Hi Danielle,

    ‘at Mt Sinai, Moses had a different experience of God’s presence than the rest of Israel did.’

    I’ve wondered since I first read your post, why so few have the kind of drive to know God that you’ve written about. Not so that we will have a more effective ministry, not that He would use us to reach the world, not that He would raise us to a level of spiritual prestige, none of that. But to simply know Him; consumed with knowing Him.

    And then, what does He do with someone like that? In light of the thought that so few can relate to it, how will He use it? Years ago I believed the lie that you can be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good and as a result I cooled my pursuit. It will not be cooled this time. It is not my concern how He uses it. That really is not the issue anyway. It is just simply to be so close, so full of Him that if He does choose to use me, there is life there for Him to draw on.

    It is hard to convey, maybe impossible to convey. Yet you know that it is better than anything you have ever experienced. There is nothing that satisfies as much. It fills our writing, yet still it is short of describing.

    I’m beginning to ramble. Better stop. As always, I enjoy reading your posts.

    All for now,


  6. wellwateredgarden April 9, 2009 / 6:00 pm

    Hey, Mike … I believe you are ‘on’ to something. Just knowing God and the knowledge that you are known by God is great.

    The giver, God, never comes without gifts. It is His nature to give and give and give, and He never runs out, His supply is endless!

    Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” -Matthew 7:7 And He meant it.

    When we start to look to God for our supply, whether it is for daily needs, long term needs, healing, etc. God’s promise to supply is sure.

    It starts with seeking after Him seriously with our entire being and then the blessings and the place He has for us will astound us.

    Peace and grace …

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