My Dear Friend,
Once again, I hope that you are safe and well. The following is part one of a two-part devotional that I hope will encourage you to look forward to future fellowship and all its spiritual and emotional blessings and benefits. Please continue to pray and keep your ears open, as we, and all houses of God, slowly but surely make a way to open with God’s help. I cannot wait to see you!
Love in Christ Jesus,
“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord!’” Psalm 122:1
“And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the Lord…” Isaiah 37:1
“Hannah had no children…And year after year, she went up to the house of the Lord…Greatly distressed, she prayed to the Lord…If you will look upon me in my distress and not forget me and give me a child, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…And the Lord remembered her…Samuel’s father…went home, but Samuel stayed at the temple to serve God…” 1 Samuel 1:2-2:11
“There was a prophet whose name was Anna…She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” Luke 2:36-37
By Now, We Should be Hungry and Thirsty for It
(Part 1of 2)
Our two-part devotional begins with the stories of four spiritual giants: David, king of Israel; Hezekiah, king of Judah; Hanna, mother of the prophet Samuel; and Anna, a prophet. All four had experienced great hardship, and all four knew where to go in time of trouble.
David, with many enemies who wished him dead, was even forced to hide from his own son who tried to dethrone him. “Quarantined” alone for extended periods while in fear for his life, David knew the joy of once again gathering with his friends for worship when he exclaimed, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord!’”
Hezekiah had just received bad news. His realm was about to be invaded by another powerful king. Knowing that the house of God was a place of refuge in time of trouble, upon hearing the threatening news, he immediately went to pray in the house of the Lord.
Hannah longed for a child but was barren. For years, she would go the temple and pray with weeping. She vowed to God that if she were given a child, she would dedicate that child to the Lord’s service forever. When she finally bore her firstborn, Samuel, instead of keeping him at home for herself, she took him back to the house of the Lord to live and serve forever.
Anna was married for only seven years before being widowed. Young and still full of life, instead of remarrying, she decided to go to the house of the Lord and never leave. She spent the rest of her life living in the temple – fasting, praying, and prophesying until she died at the age of eighty-four.
Please note the following things we have just discovered about these four very human people:
- Having missed the joy of fellowship, David was glad and excited when he, along with his friends, could go back into the house of the Lord.
- Under threat of invasion, Hezekiah knew that his place of refuge was the House of the Lord.
- Knowing that every good gift comes from the Lord in the first place, Hannah returned the most prized of her blessings back to the storehouse of blessings – the House of the Lord.
- In bereavement and in her old age, Anna found her comfort to be the House of the Lord.
These exemplars taught us that the place of joy and fellowship after seclusion; the place of refuge when there is no peace outside; and the place of comfort in time of loss, is the House of the Lord.
I read the newspaper this morning, and none of it was good news. From the place in which I am writing this devotion, the sirens of emergency vehicles have been blaring all day long. The world is in an uproar, and no amount of philosophy, science, political savviness, or technology is able to calm it. From the madness of this present world, we need a place of refuge and respite where we can once again feel the Lord’s presence and experience the joy of fellowship. I sincerely hope and humbly pray that after such a long time of deprivation, we are all starting to feel – deep within our souls – a hungering and thirsting to finally say, “I was glad when they said unto me ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord!’”
I encourage you to remember to pray each day for the opening of the houses of the Lord, and I pray that we can’t wait to get there.
By Now, We Should be Hungry and Thirsty for It.