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Is not this laid up in store with me, sealed up in my treasuries?

Deuteronomy 32:34

 

The context of Deuteronomy 32 lets us know the “this” of verse 34 is God’s justice and judgement. Verse 35 says, “Vengeance is mine, …and their doom comes swiftly.” Although commentators have differing opinions of who God is saying he’ll judge, it will be upon Israelites’ enemies or the Israelites themselves. In effect, he is saying, “Don’t you understand judgment is stored up and will be released at the right time?” It may seem God is delaying or refusing to bring justice, yet here he declares he has not forgotten the actions of sinners because he is a just God.

Most of Deuteronomy 32 gives the reasons for judgment. Verse 32 gives us an interesting visual of one of those reasons.

For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom

and from the fields of Gomorrah;

their grapes are grapes of poison;

their clusters are bitter.

Some commentators have varying ideas about the “vine of Sodom” which the Bible refers to only this once. Over the years, many have tried to identify the exact plant God refers to. The most obvious are the grapes. Yet researchers have wondered if there is any other kind of what some call “apples of Sodom.”

The other fruit might be a candidate, appearing like a delicious, smooth, soft, yellow apple or orange. But when grabbed or bitten, the fruit disintegrates into a puff of air, a thin rind, and a few fibers. What seemed so fulfilling offers nothing of value.

That’s the point. God’s people are depending upon empty, ineffective, worthless things that become idols. Idol worship deserves judgment because the Israelites are putting their hope into a “puff of air.” The hollow “vine cluster” seems to give a tiny spiritual taste of satisfaction but doesn’t last.

Think of some of the ways we experience a spiritual “puff of air.”

A woman marries her Prince Charming, expecting he will always make her happy. But he expects her to always give him respect. When she expresses an opinion other than what he thinks, he gets angry, feeling weak.

Someone is finally promoted to their dream position, but the friend who is passed over now brings all sorts of troubles.

An infertile wife finally becomes pregnant expecting a delightful experience until her child seems to cry twenty-four hours a day.

Only God can offer long-lasting fulfillment, both here and for eternity. Click To Tweet

Every single person and experience on this imperfect earth will disappoint us at some point. Only God can offer long-lasting fulfillment, both here and for eternity. Of course, we still won’t receive everything we want, but God knows what is best and promises to meet our true needs (Philippians 4:19).

For any who seek fulfillment in earthly sources, God knows such vain worship turns them away from dependence upon him, the perfect source. No wonder our just God judges in order to motivate people to turn from unfulfilling sin.

  • What is your opinion about God being just and therefore responding in judgement?
  • When has it seemed God has delayed judging those who have harmed you? How have you dealt with that?

 

God of the Universe, I praise you for you are always motivated by being just.

Thank you for always judging rightly and thoroughly.

 

The Millers have been in ministry since 1978 as speakers, authors, and lay counselors. They married in 1970 and God empowered them to overcome the dysfunctional marriage and family they had developed early in their marriage. Larry is a retired police lieutenant from Huntington Beach Police Department. Both individually and as a couple, they have authored over 55 books and spoken in nine foreign countries. They live in Southern California and are parents and grandparents. Visit them at www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Kathy is making a copy of God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature available to the winner of a book drawing. Enter to win by Thursday, March 26th by leaving a comment below. The winner will be drawn on March 27th (US addresses only, please. Thank you for understanding.)

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This guest blog is adapted from God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature

Order God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature at:

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Intriguing-Questions-Testament-Devotions/dp/195197008X/

Connect with them at:

www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor and https://www.facebook.com/larry.miller.3532?

Twitter: @KathyCMiller and @LarryMiller

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Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers-

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

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Choose to believe He is faithful.

Delicately crafted cards line the aisles of every Hallmark store and images of women smiling wide as their children present them with breakfast flash across the grey screens in living room corners. There is joy in the celebration of mothering and don’t we all yearn to be loved so beautifully?

But for some, Mother’s Day is like the scratching of a tree branch across an aging windowpane: a needle-tipped reminder of the celebrations you once knew or the celebrations you longed to experience. A perceptible poking and pricking at heart-wounds old or new.

This may be the first season of your life without your own mother and you long to hear her laugh or ask her about living life well. How did you do it? I miss you. 

Perhaps this is the holiday that pains you because you never felt enough, became enough, proved enough.  And your mother? The woman you emulated? She handed those messages to you wrapped in critical words and disdainful glances.

Or, like the others before it, this holiday sits like a broken promise–dreams turned to dust before your eyes. The mother you needed was unavailable. Inaccessible. Unaware. Still, you carry the child you were in your heart and hope that one day someone will fill that empty longing in the way you wish your mother had done.

For some, Mother’s Day is a lonely salute to infertility, a memorial to the dreams you had for your prodigal or the child who took his own life. One more year of unfair circumstances. Unanswered prayers. Unsolvable situations.

If you are one of the hurting ones, can I tell you how sorry I am? I am sorry for the pain. The loss. The grief. I’m sorry you feel alone, unnoticed, or unloved.

Sweet friend, whether this Mother’s Day is one of resignation or celebration, distress or delight–would you allow me to encourage you?

Your heavenly Father is more than able to fill the empty spaces. He longs to embrace you in unmatched, unimaginable love. To invite you deeper into His mercy. His beauty. His abundance. And there? You’ll discover overflowing blessings that quench the needs of your soul.

For now, each of us must choose.

Choose gratitude for the mother whose life was spent loving her children.

Choose forgiveness for the mother who failed to love well.

Choose to trust Him when arms are empty and the pleasure of mothering has been stolen.

Choose to believe He is faithful. And as we move from earth’s shadow into heaven’s light, we’ll discover the fullness of being loved (and loving others) beautifully.

Blessings,

Tammy

   

              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons? (1 Samuel 1-MSG)

 

He didn’t understand. A loving husband, he reassured her of his devotion and cast aside the expectations of the day. But thoughts of the other woman intruded—unwelcome—and the cruel sting of her words embedded themselves in the tender places of Hannah’s soul.

At times, Hannah’s heart felt as hollow as her womb and, despite Elkanah’s gentle encouragement and generous love-gifts, nothing relieved the emptiness of her arms.

How she longed to hold a baby—feel its precious weight against her, inhale the fresh-from-heaven-scent, experience the ebb and flow of mother-life pouring sweet and abundant from her body to nourish a child.

Yet the years passed—one, two, ten or more–and the journey to the Lord’s tabernacle became Hannah’s personal trail of tears—the path from sorrow to depression and depression to despair.

Maybe He was her last resort. Perhaps it was the nudging of the Spirit. But, on one particular return visit to the tabernacle, Hannah made a decision that changed her life and impacted the spiritual direction of an entire nation.

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She prayed.

Crushed in soul (1 Sam. 1-MSG) and weeping with abandon, Hannah poured out every bit of her brokenness before God—the hurt, the loneliness, the desperation. Her fervent praying even caught the attention of Eli, the tabernacle’s priest. Mistaking Hannah’s silent muttering for drunkenness, God’s man even reprimanded her.

You’re drunk. How long do you plan to keep this up?

 Upon hearing Hannah’s story, though, he pronounced a blessing—a salve to an aching woman’s wounds.

Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him.

 A few years later, Hannah returned to the place of her prayers—a young boy trailing by her side. Greeting the old priest, the woman who had bowed humbly before God explained that this child—her child—belonged to the Lord.

And they worshiped Him together.

What an incredible picture of God’s faithfulness and mercy! The God Who Sees All never lost sight of His daughter. He listened to her cries, captured each tear, and answered her prayers.

And this same unchanging, all-knowing, wonder-working God? He is there for us in the same way He was for Hannah—patiently waiting for us to come to Him with our needs…our burdens…our hurts.

And, one day? Maybe the same will be said of you or me.

She prayed.

 

Scripture for Reflection

  1.  Do you think it’s a coincidence that each time Hannah was preparing to worship, the enemy came against her?
  2. What causes you to struggle in worship?
  3.  How has God redeemed your past hurts?  Or, is there a heart-wound you are laying before Him now?
  4.  In what way does His faithfulness encourage you in your walk?

 

1 Samuel 1

1-2 There once was a man who lived in Ramathaim. He was descended from the old Zuph family in the Ephraim hills. His name was Elkanah. (He was connected with the Zuphs from Ephraim through his father Jeroham, his grandfather Elihu, and his great-grandfather Tohu.) He had two wives. The first was Hannah; the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not.

3-7 Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.

Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”

9-11 So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow:

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.

12-14 It so happened that as she continued in prayer before God, Eli was watching her closely. Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He approached her and said, “You’re drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!”

15-16 Hannah said, “Oh no, sir—please! I’m a woman hard used. I haven’t been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God. Don’t for a minute think I’m a bad woman. It’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain that I’ve stayed here so long.”

17 Eli answered her, “Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him.”

18 “Think well of me—and pray for me!” she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.

19 Up before dawn, they worshiped God and returned home to Ramah. Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife, and God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.

 

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