Posted in Ages 11 & above, The Negatives

I am the best!!!

We all, at some point in life, have either bragged or boasted about ourselves to our friends or even strangers! Our friends would have called us a show-off behind our back several times. We too would have had this kind of experiences with others. Usually people show-off or boast to build an impression about themselves that they are someone greater than those around them. Have you ever wondered what causes us to show off or boast? Is bragging / showing-off a desirable quality?

Let us look into the treasure book and find clues!!!

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Who is a boastful person?

Dictionary defines boasting / bragging as talking with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about own achievements, possessions, or abilities. And showing-off is to boastfully display one’s abilities or accomplishments. These basically means nothing but crowning yourself and making yourself glorious in front of others.

For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,
And by my wisdom, for I am prudent;
Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries;
So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.

Isaiah 10:13

The word of God also describes a person who glory in himself / herself as boastful. Such people believe all their achievements are because of their own strength and wisdom. But they are foolish and ignorant of the fact that they are all God’s creation who are positioned by God to be used in a certain way. And also that, their achievements are actually God’s grace in their lives.

Shall the axe boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!

Isaiah 10:15

Imagine an axe that boast to the woodcutter who uses it, “You are very lucky that you are holding me. I have cut down many forests. You are nothing without me and you cannot do anything without me.” What do you think the woodcutter will do to such an axe? Definitely the axe becomes a nuisance and he would throw it away and look for another axe. Such an axe is definitely foolish and ignorant. If someone does not hold the axe and use it, it will just rust away and will not be useful in any way. Similarly is the one who boasts. They are foolish and ignorant of the fact that they are just an instrument used by God and their accomplishments are not in their might or strength but because of the grace of God. They take all the glory for themselves. They are in fact robbers who steal the glory that is due to God.

Boasting is not a desirable quality. The boastful are those who crown themselves and glory in themselves. Such people are foolish and ignorant that they are just vessels in the hand of God. They try to steal the glory that is due to God.

Why do we boast?

The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and  renounces the Lord. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.

Psalms 10:2-4

But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

James 4:16

If there is wickedness in your heart, pride and arrogance also becomes a part of you. Pride is to have a high opinion of oneself and ones importance. God detests pride. We already learned in Have an attitude? that GOD finds a Proud Heart DISGUSTING and He RESISTS it. When you have a prideful heart, it leads to arrogance – having an exaggerated sense of own importance. Pride and arrogance makes you feel more important and worthy than your fellow beings and in turn causes you to show off, boast and brag about yourself.

Boasting is a fruit of wickedness caused by Pride and Arrogance.

What should we glory in?

Thus says the Lord:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.

2 Corinthians 10:17-18

The only thing we can take glory in is that we know the Lord God Almighty. We can glory in the Lord and nothing else. Everything else – our talents, our wisdom, our possession, our strength, our health, our beauty, our family background are all God’s gracious gift and not things for boasting or showing-off. Glory belongs to God and not to us in any way. We should give God the glory that is due to Him and not try to steal what is rightfully His by boasting, bragging and showing off.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Even our salvation is a gift of God and is not dependent on our works or performance so that there is no chance for anyone to boast. Jesus, the son of God, died on the cross for our sake and rose back to life on the third day. Whoever believes in Him is saved from eternal doom. No flesh can boast about this as it is a free gift to all who believes in Jesus.

Glory belongs to God and only Him. He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.

Treasures uncovered

Boasting is not a desirable quality. The boastful are those who crown themselves and glory in themselves. Such people are foolish and ignorant that they are just vessels in the hand of God. They try to steal the glory that is due to God.

Boasting is a fruit of wickedness caused by Pride and Arrogance.

Glory belongs to God and only Him. He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.

Prayer:

Father, we thank you for teaching us that boasting is not a desirable quality. Help us to always consciously stay away from boasting or bragging. Help us to always detest wickedness and everything associated with it. Father, we give you all the glory and honor that is rightfully yours. In Jesus’s name, Amen.


Posted in Ages 11 & above, The Negatives

Pain & Affliction

We humans prefer to live a happy life free from pain, affliction, sadness and the like. But that is not the case always. We have to face all these while living on this planet. Sometimes it is so hard on us that we loose hope to live. Why do we have to bear all these pain and affliction? When sin entered the world though the disobedience of Adam and Eve, all these byproducts of sin also got free entry into the world. So then affliction should be only for the sinful. Why are children of God afflicted then?

Let us open the treasure book to find clues:

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Affliction from God

Case 1: Pharaoh and Israel, Exodus 1-14

The Pharaoh who ruled Egypt during the time of Moses was a ruthless emperor who afflicted the children of Israel. The Lord heard their cries and saw their oppression. He appeared to Moses and told him that He will deliver them out of Egypt. So Moses went to Pharaoh and told him to let the Israelites leave as per God’s command. Pharaoh did not heed and denied their freedom, rather afflicted them more. Pharaoh disobeyed God and sinned against Him. Then God sent affliction one after the other on Pharaoh and his people. The same Pharaoh who afflicted the children of God was now under affliction from God. First their water turned to blood. They were deprived of drinking water which is essential to sustain life. Next their country was teeming with frogs, then lice and then flies. Next, their livestock which was their means of livelihood started dying, then there was a plague of boils. After this there was a hail storm which destroyed all their crops and whatever still remained the next plague of locusts destroyed. Then there was pitch darkness for three days. People could not move around or even get up from the place they were for 3 days. All these afflictions affected their basic needs like food, water, livelihood and their health. These did not let Pharaoh repent or listen to God’s word. He still continued to stand against God and fight Him. Then the last and final affliction came – death of all the first born. Every first born in every family, including the first born of animals were killed. This was more than what even Pharaoh could handle. He let them leave his country. But after they left, Pharaoh felt he shouldn’t let them go easily. So, Pharaoh pursed them but could not get to them and drowned in the red sea along with his troops. He tried to fight God and his children and ended up bringing calamities one after the other upon his household and his kingdom eventually losing his own life.

Who will prevail fighting GOD, the almighty? Pharaoh, even though a big emperor was foolish enough to fight God. He afflicted the children of God and so afflictions from God came on him one after the other. Even then, he did not repent but continued fighting God to a point where he lost his life. The Israelites were also living in Egypt when afflictions hit the land, however it did not come near them, to the land where they were living. God protected them all throughout.

If we oppress or afflict God’s children, we fight God and sin against Him. And when we fight God and sin, affliction from Him is a surety. Without repentance, there is no deliverance from the affliction that comes from God.

Case 2: The Bronze Serpent, Numbers 21: 4-9

The children of Israel, after escaping from Pharaoh by crossing the red sea, had to journey through the wilderness for a long while. The people became very discouraged on the way and started speaking against God and Moses: “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food, no water and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the  Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people. Many died. Then they realized they sinned against God. They came to Moses and asked him to pray for their deliverance. So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery  serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”  So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

In this case, the affliction came from God on His own chosen people. Even though they did not stand against Him or His plans, affliction came on them. His people sinned against Him forgetting all what He did for them. He had brought them out of slavery and took care of them in the wilderness providing food, water, shelter and protection. Listening to their complaints and seeing their ungratefulness towards Him, He sent affliction. This made them realize their mistake and remember what God did for them. As soon as they came back to their senses, they asked Moses to pray for their deliverance. They repented and God provided a way out. He gave them deliverance from the fiery serpents.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.

Psalm 119:67-69

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.

Psalm 119:71

Lord sends affliction to remind us about His mercy, faithfulness and goodness towards us which we tend to forget from time to time. We take for granted all the resources that God has given us. So sometimes afflictions are a way to remind us of God’s ways so as to walk in them continuously without being tired or weary of them. It also helps us to stay on the path of God and not go astray. As the psalmists says, affliction from God helps us to remember Him, His ways – to learn them and keep them.

Affliction from God reminds us of God and His ways – His mercy, goodness and faithfulness towards us. It helps us to repent and turn to Him. It also helps us to learn His ways and keep them. It is for building us so that we do not go astray and lose our eternity. God has our best interests at heart.

Affliction comes from God only when sin is involved.

Affliction from Satan

The life of Job, Job 2

One day, the Lord asked Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Satan replied, “Stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!“ And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. His wife told him to curse God and die. But Job did not sin against God.

Here we see a conversation between God and Satan. God Himself is testifying about Job that he is a blameless and upright man who fears God and rejects evil. So Job was upright in all his ways before God. Even then he was afflicted. Satan wanted to destroy him without any cause. God gave the permission to Satan to afflict Job without taking his life. So Satan went ahead and afflicted Job with painful boils. This proves that definitely Satan can cause affliction to God’s children who are righteous, if God permits him. Moreover, sinning is not the reason for affliction from Satan. His only motive for bringing affliction is destruction. He wanted to destroy Job without any cause!!!

We also see here that even with all the affliction and the discouragement from his wife, Job still did not sin but waited on God to deliver him. God used this as a testing period for Job concerning his faith in God and Job came out victorious. Later on we see that Job was delivered and he was given twice as much of what he lost in affliction.

Satan afflicts the righteous of God and his only motive is destruction.

Deliverance

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Psalm 34:19

Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

Matthew 4:24

For the righteous, many are their afflictions that comes from Satan – physical and mental sickness, fear, depression, demonic oppression, etc. He will take all opportunity to torment and torture the righteous of God. His only motive is destruction. But remember, God delivers us from all kinds of affliction. Jesus overcame Satan and all his afflictions on the cross. While He lived on the earth, He healed thousands and thousands of people from oppression, sickness and all kinds of satanic affliction and torture. He is still alive and is capable of delivering us out of all kinds of afflictions. He heals all kinds of pain and sickness. So look on to Jesus and take refuge in Him as your deliverer.

But if you have Jesus already in your life, there is a twist. You are redeemed by the blood of Jesus and is righteous before God. It is not by your works that you are saved, but because of Jesus and His precious blood. Always remember, Jesus already took our sin, our sickness, our pain, our suffering and all our afflictions on the cross and so we do not have to suffer the afflictions from Satan. Resist the devil and he will flee from us. Resist the afflictions he tries to instill in us in the name of Jesus and by His precious blood. Claim victory by the blood of Jesus and he will have no choice but to FLEE…

So if you do not have Jesus in your life, accept Him today as your savior and live life to the fullest on Earth and secure your eternity.

Jesus is the only cure for our affliction. He is our deliverer who has overcome Satan and all his afflictions. Resist the devil and he will flee from us.

Treasures uncovered

Affliction comes from God only when sin is involved.

Affliction from God reminds us of God and His ways – His mercy, goodness and faithfulness towards us. It helps us to repent and turn to Him. It also helps us to learn His ways and keep them. It is for building us so that we do not go astray and lose our eternity. God has our best interests at heart.

If we oppress or afflict God’s children, we fight God and sin against Him. And when we fight God and sin, affliction from Him is a surety. Without repentance, there is no deliverance from the affliction that comes from God.

Satan afflicts the righteous of God and his only motive is destruction. Jesus is the only cure for our affliction. He is our deliverer who has overcome Satan and all his afflictions. Resist the devil and he will flee from us.

Prayer:

Father we thank you for teaching us about affliction. Help us to always walk in your ways remembering your goodness and faithfulness. Thank you father, for Jesus, our deliverer and our cure from affliction. Help us to resist devil and his afflictions. In Jesus name, Amen.


Posted in Ages 11 & above, God & Me

The Perfect Safe House

During olden times, wars were very common. Kingdoms used to invade each other under the leadership of kings in the desire for conquest, wealth and power. During such wars if the defeated king escapes, he would flee to find refuge either by going in hiding or going to his friendly neighbors, where he will rest and regain his strength and power. Once he is strong enough, he can fight back for his kingdom.

In the present time too, things are not much different! Though we are not fighting a physical war with weapons, we are always fighting battles one after the other in pursuit of something – to get into a desired school / college, to get accepted into a gang of friends, to get into the school baseball team, to get the right job, and so on. We emerge victorious in few of those battles but definitely not all. Heart breaking failures occur from time to time. When such failures occur, it would not be always easy to getup and stand on our feet to fight again. We will not be strong enough to carry on with the fight. We would need a place of refuge to regain our strength. Where to find refuge – a place that gives protection or shelter from danger / trouble – A Safe House?

Let us look into the treasure book to get clues!

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Our Safe House

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

Psalms 46:1-3

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Psalms 91:3-4

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Psalms 9:9-10

When we are in trouble, we would only approach people who will stand by our side and help us get through the difficult times. We will never go to someone who would reject us or abandon us half way. Most of the time we will confide in our best friends, specially those we trust will stand by us. However in most cases they will not have a proper solution for our problem but can only comfort us.

The Word of God says, God is a very present help in trouble. The Word also confirms He never forsakes those who seek refuge in Him. Whoever approaches Him for refuge, He never denies them nor abandons them half way through. You would be familiar of how a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings to protect them when a threat is present. Similarly, God covers with His feathers those who put their trust in Him and protects them from the enemy / threat. So God has all qualities and abilities for being a refuge. He offers complete protection and safety during times of trouble. Additionally, He also has solution for our trouble – He can deliver us from the trouble we are in. In fact, He is the only one who is capable of deliverances – be it a snare, or a pestilence or a natural calamity or oppression or any thing else we face. There is no trouble that is hard enough for Him.

So God is a very present help during trouble, offers refuge and also never forsakes those who put their trust in Him and reach out to Him during trouble. Also at the same time, He is a deliverer from all kinds of trouble. So if we trust in Him and make Him our refuge we enjoy all these benefits. When God is our refuge, even if the ground that we stand on or the surroundings that we are in is shaking with trouble, we do not have to be anxious or fearful. There is no need to fear or be anxious while under His care and protection. For He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, there is no one as powerful as Him and there is no power above Him. He is the perfect SAFE HOUSE.

God Himself is “The Perfect Safe House”. During trouble, He offers help, refuge and never forsakes. He also delivers us from all our troubles. Like how chicks find refuge under their mother’s wings, we the children of God should find refuge under His wings.

Example of Ruth

The Story – Ruth Chapter 1-4

Elimelech was a man who lived with his wife Naomi and his two sons in Bethlehem during the rule of Judges. There was a famine in the land and he moved to the country of Moab with his family. Elimelech died there and Naomi was left with her two sons. They took wives from the women of Moab- Orpah and Ruth. After they lived there for ten years, Naomi’s both sons also died. Naomi decided to return back to her homeland as she was left alone in a foriegn land and also heard the conditions have changed there in the land of Israel. She told both her daughters-in-laws to return to their mother’s houses and to build a family. They did not agree to her request. But Naomi tried to convince them and finally Orpah agreed, but Ruth clung to her. Naomi again tried to convince Ruth, but she did not agree. She told Naomi, “Wherever you go i will go, wherever you stay i will stay, your people will be my people and your God, my God“. When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to stay with her, she stopped persuading her.

Both of them came to Bethlehem and it was the beginning of barley harvest. Naomi when she left Bethlehem, had her husband and her sons, but she came back a poor widow. They did not have enough to even buy food. So Ruth went to a field to glean (gather left over grains after harvest) after the reapers . And it so happened that she went to the field belonging to Boaz, who was a wealthy relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech. When Boaz came to the field, he noticed Ruth and his servant gave a good report about her. Boaz spoke to Ruth and told her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Ruth found favor with Boaz and he treated her well. He gave her food in abundance. He also ordered his servants to treat her well and be careful that no-one harms her. Later on we see that Boaz redeemed Naomi’s land and took Ruth as his wife.

Analysis

After her sons died, Naomi was left alone with her daughter-in-laws. Naomi tried her best to persuade Ruth to leave, as she still could remarry and build a family of her own. But Ruth did not abandon her nor did she agree to leave, but clung on to her. Ruth and Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, Naomi’s homeland. Ruth left her people, her household, her country and her God to be with Naomi. They did not have any men in their family to support them, to provide for them or to protect them. But Ruth took refuge in the Lord God, the God of her mother-in-law. She came under His wings as soon as she took Him as a refuge.

Poverty was a huge problem for them and they did not have any means to buy food. So Ruth offered to go gleaning to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from fields after they have been harvested. During harvest, the reapers gather all the grains first and after this the gleaners are allowed to collect the leftover grains. In the modern day, gleaning could be somewhat compared to dumpster diving. From this we know that Ruth and Naomi were miserably poor. For gleaning, Ruth ended up in Boaz’s field but she did not know whose field it was or their relationship with him. God directed her there. Boaz was very kind to her and gave food for both Ruth and Naomi and eventually married Ruth. God delivered her from poverty.

God changed her status completely. From a miserably poor widow she became the wife of a rich man. God settled her and gave her a family of her own. Her son Obed was the father of Jesse, the father of David. She was the great grand mother of King David. From a nobody she became a renowned woman.

After Ruth took refuge in the God of Israel, God directed her path, provided for her, protected her and eventually delivered her. God raised her from poverty, settled her in a family and established her. Instead of being a poor widow, she became the wife of a rich man in Bethlehem and the great grand mother of King David!!!

Under Gods wings, there is no fear or anxiety because He takes up the complete responsiblity. He directs our path, provides for us, protects us, delivers us, settles us and establishes us.

Treasures uncovered

God Himself is “The Perfect Safe House”. During trouble, He offers help, refuge and never forsakes. He also delivers us from all our troubles. Like how chicks find refuge under their mother’s wings, we, the children of God, should find refuge under His wings.

Under Gods wings, there is no fear or anxiety because He takes up the complete responsiblity. He directs our path, provides for us, protects us, delivers us, settles us and establishes us.

Prayer:

Father, we thank you for teaching us that you are the perfect safe house for us. Thank you for being an ever present help during times of trouble, thank you for not forsaking us when we seek refuge in you, thank you for the protection you offer and thank you for being our deliverer. We thank you for covering us with your feathers when we come under your wings. We love you Lord. In Jesus’s name, Amen.


Posted in Ages 11 & above, The Negatives

This is sooo unfair!!!

In life, many things happen to us unexpectedly – Good & Bad. When unexpected good happens, we call it our luck!!! But if unexpected bad happens, we call it UNFAIR!!! Imagine you loose something that you worked hard for, something that you deserve very much – like your position in the baseball team suddenly got offered to a relative of the coach; or the dream job position that you worked hard for was offered to your boss’s friend. We feel that what happened to us is sooo UNFAIR!!! Well… life is not always fair!!! All of us would have experienced multiple unfair treatments in many areas of life. When treated unfairly, we would be very disappointed and angry. It is quite natural to feel this way.

Bitterness / resentment is defined as anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly. The bitterness towards people might lead us to slander them, treat them bad, hate them and so on. But, when those people are people with authority, it might not be possible to react this way, but the bitterness towards them will be deep rooted in our hearts. Is bitterness okay?

Let us look into the treasure book and find what the treasure offers.

OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK undefined

Bitterness – Good or bad?

looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Hebrews 12:15

 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

Acts 8:23

 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Bitterness brings nothing but trouble. It defiles us like all other evil and wickedness. It is impurity and uncleanness before God. Bitterness is considered a poison. Poison when consumed is hazardous to health and can result in death. This is the effect of bitterness on us. It is hazardous to our health. This nature of bitterness is also proven scientifically by various medical studies conducted by reputed universities.

Bitterness should be put away like all other evil ways as it is malice / ill will. Instead of bitterness we should practice kindness and be forgiving as how Jesus forgave us.

Bitterness is poisonous and brings only trouble. It is evil and defiles us. Put away bitterness and be kind, forgiving one another.

Handling our bitterness

Example of Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-25)

During the time of apostles, a man named Simon practiced sorcery in the city of Samaria and astonished the people, claiming he was someone great. The people from the least to the greatest, believed this man to be the great power of God. And they heeded him because of his sorceries. Philip preached Jesus Christ and the things concerning the kingdom of God to these people and they believed. Simon himself also believed and was baptized and he continued with Philip. He was amazed seeing the miracles and signs which were done. Then Peter and John were sent to Samaria and they prayed for the people that they might receive the Holy Spirit. When they laid hands on the people, they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter rebuked Simon for this blunder. Holy Spirit revealed to Peter that his heart is not right in the sight of God. Also that he was poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity. Peter asked him to repent and pray to God that he may be forgiven. Then Simon repented and prayed.

Simon, even though a child of God who accepted Jesus as his savior, was poisoned by bitterness. His heart was not upright before God but he never knew it. Holy Spirit revealed to him through an apostle that he was poisoned. If poisoned, then immediately look for cure or the chances of survival is dim. The cure for bitterness like all other evil is to repent first and pray to God for forgiveness. We see that as soon as the poisoning was made known to Simon, he took the cure immediately.

If poisoned with bitterness, be quick to find cure or the chances of survival is dim. The only cure for this poison is to repent first and pray to God for forgiveness.

Example of Hannah – 1 Samuel 1

Elkanah was an Ephraimite with two wives – Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not have any. He went with his family every year to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. And whenever he made an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters, but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah even though the Lord had closed her womb. Peninnah did not leave any chance to provoke Hannah and hurt her because the Lord had closed her womb. Year after year, when they went to the house of the Lord, Peninnah would hurt her severely and make her feel miserable, making her cry and not eat her portion. Then Elkanah her husband would talk to her and comfort her saying, “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?

One such time after Peninnah’s usual provoking, Hannah arose and went to pray in front of the tabernacle. She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. The priest Eli saw her and mistook her to be drunk. But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” Then Eli told her to go in peace and that God will grant her petition. So Hannah went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

The study

Here we see that out of the two wives of Elkanah, Hannah did not have children. Having children was the greatest strength for Peninnah and she turned her strength to be the greatest opportunity to torture Hannah. Peninnah made Hannah feel very miserable and hurt to a point where Hannah would just cry and not eat. Even though her husband loved her, the provoke of Peninnah took the focus above everything else. Her soul became very bitter. In all that bitterness, she did not fight Peninnah or slander her or complain to her husband and give him trouble. She did not even try to argue or prove her point. Instead she prayed and wept in anguish before God. She poured out her soul to God. She knew only God could get her a solution, so why discuss with others or argue. She trusted God and believed He would deliver her. God filled her heart with hope and she left in peace and happiness. The bitterness was not to be seen in her anymore. Later on we see that God answered her prayers and gave her children, Prophet Samuel being the first among them.

Hannah did not speak on her behalf, but God did, in such manner that Peninnah did not have any ground to provoke Hannah or make her miserable anymore. Not only did Hannah have children like Penninah, but also a husband who loved her more than Peninnah. But we don’t see Hannah using her strengths to provoke Penninah even though she had every opportunity to do so.

We too might have people around us who take every opportunity to hurt us, belittle us and make us feel miserable. This could spring up bitterness in our souls. Praying to God and pouring out our soul to Him is the best way of getting the bitterness out of us. God will make us stand with our heads held high like He did for Hannah. Make sure also to never use your strengths to mock others or make them feel miserable, but be thankful to God for all His mercies.

Getting God’s help by praying and pouring out our soul to Him enables us to heal our hearts and fill it with peace.

Treasures uncovered

Bitterness is poisonous and brings only trouble. It is evil and defiles us. Put away bitterness and be kind, forgiving one another.

If poisoned with bitterness, be quick to find cure or the chances of survival is dim. The only cure for this poison is to repent first and pray to God for forgiveness. Getting God’s help by praying and pouring out our soul to Him enables us to heal our hearts and fill it with peace.

Never use your strengths to mock others or make them feel miserable, but be thankful to God for all His mercies.

Prayer:

Father, we thank you for teaching us that bitterness is poisonous in nature and that we should never hold on to it but should repent and ask for forgiveness.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Psalms 51:10-11

In Jesus name, Amen.