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May 17, 2020

Yesterday we heard of the wonderful answer to Hannah’s prayer and of her determination to fulfill a very difficult vow to the Lord. Samuel might have only been 3 years old when Hannah gave him up to stay permanently as a Nazarite serving at the Lord’s tabernacle. Hannah is such an example of a Godly woman. No wonder so many girls are named after her!

I noticed an interesting detail in yesterday’s reading. Elkanah also had a vow. When Samuel was newly born and Hannah did not go with the family to Shiloh for the yearly sacrifices, the GNT drew my attention saying that Elkanah went “to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and the special sacrifice he had promised.” We don’t really know exactly what Elkanah’s special vow would have been. But it is conjectured by commentators that Elkanah was offering a sacrifice in fulfillment of Hannah’s vow about giving birth to a son. According to the Law, a wife’s vow could be revoked by her husband on the day he hears about the vow. But if he doesn’t forbid the wife about the vow on that day, the wife is bound by her vow and it is logical that the husband would share responsibility. As Elkanah left on that year, he told Hannah, “May the Lord make your promise come true.” This is a great example of doing what God commanded about vows. The principle was to always follow through whenever God’s name has been invoked. To do otherwise would be to mar God’s reputation.

This is a favorite psalm, frequently referred to in our hymns and worship songs. It is also the psalm Satan quoted to Jesus to tempt him to jump from the pinnacle of the temple. I feel that the promise that was quoted is not just for Jesus, but is for every believer. I preach to myself here: Let’s memorize and meditate upon this psalm!

Yesterday we saw how the theme of this letter is the Good News, and how believing this message is the center of the way God has designed and revealed for how we are saved— no matter if we are ethnically Jews or non-Jews. The start of this Good News is that our relationship with God has been broken. Understanding this fact is what makes the Good News ‘good’. We don’t start out as ‘nice people’ but as broken people. And Paul will show us in three chapters that this situation obtains for Jews (who think they are so good) and non-Jews (who start out not even having an appearance of ‘good’).

GNT Translation notes:
Rom. 1:17 For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through [believing//faith] from beginning to end. As the scripture says, “The person who is put right with God through [believing//faith] shall live.”  
18 God's anger is revealed from heaven against all the sin and evil of [0//the] people whose evil ways prevent the truth from being known.
20 Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So [0//those] [people (or mankind)] have no excuse at all!
24 And so God has given [mankind (humans)//those people] over to do the filthy things their hearts desire, and they do shameful things with each other.