Sunday, October 31, 2004

Really Adding RSS To My Blog

I attempted to add RSS to my blog a while back. I'm a details type of person and can get caught up there if I'm not careful, and I was not careful. I've read some on RSS and the like and have recommended the article by Reuven M. Lerner on RSS.

I have added a Feedburner RSS link to my blog. Feedburner has some nice features, such as a way to add a feed to MyYahoo. I'm a Yahoo fan by the way because it gives my family an added layer of protection against viruses. I don't know how the League Of Extraordinary Reformed Bloggers will read this new feed in the aggregator but I hope I will show up with likes of Parablemania, Challies Dot Com, or Tulipgirl.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I'm Pompom

I'm Pompom.

It is probably because I have teens that I know who Strongbad is. Strongbad is what all the teens call it, but the official name on the website is Homestar Runner. The site has short clips made with Macromedia. The clips are funny. They follow the principle that I talked about in my earlier posting The Next Big Thing, the story is shorter than the normal TV video length.





Which Homestar Runner character are you?

this quiz was made by jurjyfrort

Friday, October 29, 2004

Surprized By Links

I have been working on my theological website little by little for a couple of years. I add pages that I think will really answer a question that others might not get answered other wise or create something I think is unique. I get a lot of hits on my Place Names of The Four Gospels page. I did a study of all the place names mentioned in the four Gospels and linked to webshot pictures. So I did a Google search to see who was linked to it. Surprize, no one. Then I checked my listing for other pages. I don't get a lot of hits on my New Perspective on Paul page however, I was linked by someone else, Worthy Find. So is linking or visiting more important? I don't know. But you might go by and check out the Worthy Find directory. The person who put it together is a part of the Open Dirctory project.

If you want to see who links to you, just type the following in the Google search window...

link:http://www."yoursite".com

Replace yoursite with your site. So searching for Pruitt Communications would
look like this

link:http://pruittcommunications.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 28, 2004

LOST - House of the Rising Sun

My pastor, the Jollyblogger, preached a sermon this past Sunday on how to be in but not of the world. He mentioned one reason that Christians had for a while checked out of the culture in America is their eschatology (study of the end times) said that they would be leaving soon. Most evangelicals believe that Christ could return at any time and take them from this phase of existence. Under this eschatological system getting people saved might make the most sense. I'm sure many pre-tribulationist, premillinialists would say that is a characterature, but at the same time it is sort of inescapable to say, if you don't know how much time you have left, you have to set priorities. Priority one is getting people into the kingdom.

Have you noticed how the TV series LOST has pitted two eschatological courses of action against each other. Said wants to say on the beach because a ship or plane may come by any moment and save them. They are about to be extracted any moment. Dr. Jack wants to go live in the caves near fresh water, shelter, and develop a community. The two approaches show the two mentalities; focus on rescue or focus on living.

My wife said that they should establish a list which assigned times for the people to stay on the beach and look for that ship and/or plane. This by the way is how she assigns chores at our house. If I get stranded on an island I need her to keep me organized and facilitate peaceful divvying up of the chores.

Now for the questions...

Where was Clare, the pregnant blond, in episode 6?

Did the guitar appear or did Locke see it all along?

Where were Shannon and Boone?

What is up with Locke? He is acting so weird.

How did the wreckage get near the cave/water source?

Why were the bodies they found laying on top of the ground and not mutilated by wild life? (Gross I know, but a practical concern of life in the wilderness.)

Will Kate side with Sayid or with Jack?

Is Jack really post-mil or a-mil?

Is Sayid pre-trib or mid-trib?

What was Sun doing with his father-in-law's watch? (If it was a gift it is his watch.) By the way, after watching the scene with my daughter who came home from work after the show aired, the watch is obviously the issue. Watches are paraded around like 2 caret diamond ring by a newly engaged southern bell.

RSS

During a recent trip for work I bought a Linux Journal to read on the plane. An article Resources for Syndication with RSS was helpful for me to understand what is going on. It is a little technical, but anyone who has hand jammed some html should be able to follow it with a little patience. After reading the article I had some observations.

1. RSS was created to make the world wide web machine readable. Being machine readable makes it possible for the machines (computers) to do some repetitive tasks for the people. Like for instance, go to the bookmarks of your favorite site to check out what's new. In essence, when a person writes a webpage or a blog with RSS he or she is writing two pages; one for human consumption and one for computer consumption.

2. The technology has not settled down into a groove yet. It's a little early in the life of the technology to get set on a particular variant. If you enjoyed the Windows versus Apple debate you will probably be disappointed for the lack of fire in the issues. If you came out of the browser wars, Netscape versus Explorer, thinking that there should more web browsers not less in the end, this may turn out to be something that ratchets up consumer/user choices.

3. I want to use all of the variants so that anyone can view or use the syndication of my blog.

4. It is essential that some server run code to create a RSS feed, so who ever hosts the blog has got to enable the service on their server or let another server somewhere else create the feed. In short, you and I are dependent upon sysads somewhere to help us out to create the feeds. (Of course those of you with your own servers, you know who you are, you "are that sysad".)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Biblical Theology Blog

I encourage you to check out the blog by Dr. James E. West. He is a pastor and scholar. He deals with linguistic, history of the text, and archeology. All favorite subjects of my own. He has some other resources on the web but you can get to those through his blog.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Wyoming Figures Big

If you are interested in the short videos check out how Jerry and The Man of Steel go out to eat and go on vacation. Its more like misadventures than adventures. Could Jerry, Krammer, Elaine or George go on an adventure and it not turn to misadventure?.

The Next Big Thing

I when through some online course materials with MIT's Open Courseware project on digital media. It is an excellent course from the stand point that the lectures are on video. The lectures are mostly talking heads but the variety of instructors and quality of what they say is outstanding. (What else would you expect from MIT?) A predictions that one of the professors talked about was that the next big thing on the Internet was video. At the time I thought that was not true. My objections to his idea was

1. We already have video deleivery systems that do an good job; TV, Cable, Video, DVD, Pay-per-View, and now TiVo. I don't think TiVo was a going concern when he made the lecture.

2. Most of our Internet connections go to a small screen at a desk. Video is a couch, not desk chair medium.

3. Who would put their content on the Internet for it to be peer-to-peer copied? The television and cable production studios are already putting it out there with cable TV.

The Answers To My Objections

1. These deveivery systems are built on the 30 minute, 60 minute and 120 minute formats. Deleiver something shorter.
Check out Jerry Seinfield's commercials about American Express. They are creative, entertaining, but do not fit the TV or movie models.

2. Again shorter clips would be more suited for the desktop/laptop environment.

3. Advertisers, hobbiest, public service agencies, churches, hobbiest would all put their content out there if they could make it easier to produce and put out there. For pictures we have webshots. For written media we have blogging, wikipedia, and reviews on Amazon. Perhaps we need a place to put short video content on the web.

Video is an important medium for communication on the desktop computer environment. Let TV be TV, video on the Internet needs to be different. Now if you can hook your TV to your internet connection, your longer 30, 60 and 120 minute formats are applicable again. Its the couch versus the deskchair issue.

Friday, October 22, 2004

LOST In Questions Episode 4

Other questions I have about LOST.

Why doesn't any of the characters learn any Korean and why does the Korean couple not learn any English? I think learning to say hello is at least something that they would be through in a day or two.

What was Kate's crime? Is she really guilty?

The sixteen year old recording was on the tail section? Or am I hallucinating that Jack found both in the same spot? If the recording was going on sixteen years, why have they been there only seven days?

What is the deal with all those dolls at the water hole?

Why does Jack's torch drip flames? If the torch was dipped in a flamible liquid where did he get that?

Is the reason Jack can't find his father's body is that Jack is dead, so both are now in eternity? If they are in eternity, where are the dead people on the plane?

Why would you burn the bodies in the fusalage? I would take them out, burn them some where else, and use the fusalage as raw materials for building shelter or use it as shelter.

Where is the washer and dryer? All those clothes look too good.



Thursday, October 21, 2004

KJV Only

Rebecca has done it again. Check out her entry on KJV Only. She has solid logic and is not strident in her tone.

Some of my own thoughts on KJV Only is that it seems centered on having all the loose ends tied up. Textual criticism, this is not about being mean and critical, is the study of the text of the Bible and what the original text was. Some people who have studied this field have lost their faith in God's scripture and the God of the scriptures. I think the concern of the KJV Only folks is that we do not have to worry about the authority of scripture. They try to cut the confusion and help God out a little by selecting an authoritative text. Do I trust the United Bible Society to do that selection for me? Do I trust the translators of the NASB to do that. In essence, the KJV Only crowd have sided with a particular version of the Bible that was not particularly developed for this purpose of having an authoritative text. It was printed to have a printed Greek text. Not bad or evil, just a text, the best the printer of the day had. Most Christians do not need to worry about textual criticism. Pastors should understand it but it is a technical field that is difficult to develop competencies in. Most pastors are fortunate if they can master and maintain their skills in the original languages. KJV Only attempts to solve a problem that most people are not really concerned about. In a sense the variants of the oldest New Testament documents are not really all that different. The real solution to the problem is to read and compare the original records. If one does this he or she will see that the variation really is not all that significant. We have a good text. It does not rest with one official copy, but within the life of the church which as preserved the text. The texts by the way that Jesus and the apostles quoted was not always the Masoretic Text. It sure would be nice to have the originals locked up in a vault, but then again, which ever group owned the originals might claim a superior hold on scripture.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Proper Place of Theology

I've noticed that some people see theology as a higher calling than Bible study. (By the way, I'm not talking about you in particular, I'm talking about a lot of people in general.) In other words, these folks find the Bible as a good source for their study of theology. To my mind, theology is one of the steps in studying the Bible. When we have studied a passage, do we understand all the definitions of the different concepts of a passage and are we logically consistent with other scripture at a surface level, and logically consistent with the teaching derived from scripture. If not we need to re-examine our interpretation of the passage.

I just sat through an all day meeting. The group was made up of people from various backgrounds and a lot of issues were discussed in depth. I think how modern theological statements are done. We get one or two champions who hammer out a statement on an issue and then a large body votes it up or down. Possibly there will be amendments, but products of intense study and discussion are not common in theological circles. So we are not able to make a new creed. What a shame.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Reading Moses

Studying Exodus I see how God took the children of Israel out of Egypt and then amazingly, he provided food, water, safety, and government. Manna, water from the rock, miraculous delivery in battle as Moses lifted his hands, and the 10 Commandments are all very unusual ways for these things to be provided. I think God did it this way coming out of Egypt to draw attention to his provision. We should remember though that all provision comes from God.

Jonah Chapter One

My Bible study is group has been studying "post cards of the Bible". We define that as any book under five chapters. So right now we are discussing Jonah. The whale (fish) gets discussed a lot when one talks about Jonah but the cross cultural interaction is also a part of the story. Jonah's story takes place before the northern Kingdom Of Israel were carried off by the Assyrians. In a sense Jonah is an example of interacting with the Assyrians. Jonah may witness to the Assyrians (Nineveh) by his righteous life or he may show the power of God in judging his sin. God gets his work done either way. Later on the Northern Kingdom would have their sin judged by God allowing the Assyrians to drag them off into exile. The Samaritian people would be a result of that conquest, a half Assyrian - half children of Israel mix of people. By the way, a small group of Samaritians still exists today.

Another interesting observation is that Jonah mentions to these sea going people that God is LORD of both land and sea. We often see in the Old Testament passages a deviding of the different environments like this. Jonah says...

"I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD , the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."


While their classifications of environments may not fit the modern ones, it is interesting how the Old Testament treats this concept.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Ravi

Listening to Ravi this morning I could really relate to something he said. I have been for so long attempting finish seminary and get ordained. It has been a long process and it seems like it is going to be a whole lot longer. Any way Ravi's comment was, the children of Israel were just a few days from the promise land but God took them on a 40 year tour to get there. The reason? They were not ready yet. I know for myself God has been maturing me and changing me. It is taking a long time, but I think he is wiser than me. He knows what I need.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Biblical Archeology - Take 2

Since I've been reading about biblical archeology I have had some thoughts banging around in my head. One of the thoughts, no one I've read says the same thing, but we can read into the archeology things that are not there. For instance, we might think all of ancient culture was pottery. Pottery and baskets were simply packaging. We fill up our landfill with packaging, and some might call us a consumer society, but movies and books are much more important culturally than packaging. Packaging is a part of our culture, but not the main feature.

People and individuals who may have been important in a sense of God's covenant and revelation might have been relatively unimportant in comparison to other people. If we do not see evidence of these people in the dirt, it really does not matter. As the book of Hebrews says that they wondered around and dressed in skins. What kind of physical evidence would we expect would be left behind from such a nomadic society? Additionally, we should not think that what is recorded in the scriptures some sort of pristine society which was all pure, all Israeli and all worshipping God. Instead we would see a mixing of cultures, a mixing of religions and a mixing of morality. Given this, when an archeologist digs, they should not be expecting to find the idea, but the ordinary physical residue of living. While we can learn a lot about a society through archeological research, we should understand the limits of the discipline. How much would we learn about our society by digging around in a land fill?

LOST

I have a few TV shows that I really like but the new series LOST has grabbed my attention. I think it is the element of mystery. Who are these people? What are their stories? What is the deal with these animals on the island? How do you get a distress call radio to transmit continuously for 16 year? Even in an episode telling a particular character's story, you don't get all the answers. The past Wednesday's episode featuring the character Locke we still don't know why he was disabled or why he was healed. We still don't know what he saw in the jungle. The episode featuring Kate the does not tell you much about her crimes, if she is indeed guilty. We just know she was/is a fugitive. (Are you still a fugitive if everyone outside the island? Can you be on the run if there is literally, no place to go?)

Lost gives you the all the elements of a great mystery story. A ticking time bomb; where are they going to get food, water and other supplies? Lots of "who dunnit?" Containment; they have somehow missed thousands of miles of ocean and hit Gilligans paradise.

Speaking of Gilligan, the characters are somewhat analogous to the Gilligan characters at time.

Thurston Howell III and Eunice Wentworth 'Lovey' Howell were people who lived a pampered lifestyle before his adventure and now on the island they continues their habits. Charlie (Dominic Monaghan)and Shannon (Maggie Grace) fit this. But Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) and Sun (Yunjin Kim), the Korean couple also fit this type of couple, they maintain their separate lifestyle.

Professor Roy Hinkley, Jr. has scientific skills which seem to allow him to create anything from coconut shells but he can't get them off the island. Locke (Terry O'Quinn), Sayid (Naveen Andrews) and

Jonas Grumby (The Skipper) is Jack (Matthew Fox) since he is the leader. But then again, how about Hurley (Jorge Garcia) being that person since he is large and sort of disarming in personality.

Gilligan is the main event and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) seems to be the center of action.

Ginger Grant is Shannon (Maggie Grace) since she relies on her attractiveness to get what she wants and needs.

Mary Ann Summers nice girl, attractive girl. Claire (Emilie De Ravin) is nice, she helps to bring dignity to the dead.

I don't think all the characters on LOST fit the Gilligan theme but it is kind of funny how many do sort of.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Biblical Archeology

I just finished reading a couple of books on biblical archeology. Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament by Currid and Archeology and The Old Testament by Hoerth. I guess the most important point that I gleaned from the books was biblical archeology should be used to illustrate the life of the Bile times. For instance, the archeology can help to illustrate typical laws, religious practices and beleifs, social structures and laws. Archeology can not prove that God is good, nor can it disprove it. It can not prove the doctrine of inspiration. When I read a novel, I like to read it and get into the story. Reading about the environment of the Bible times helps me get into the "story".

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Studying The Book Of Obadiah

We have been studying "Post Cards Of The Bible" in my Sunday night small group. By the way, all of you are invited to come. We have finished all New Testament books under 5 chapters and now we are into the Old Testament. Obadiah was the first Old Testament book we tackled, or should I say tackled us. Any way, I'm including some of our study notes.

Outline of the Book of Obadiah

Verse 1 Introduction: About Edom

Verses 2-3 Pride Lifted Up

Verses 4-9 You Will Be Desolated

Verses 10-14 You Took Advantage Of Israel’s Disaster

Verses 15-18 Turn Around Is Fair

Verses 19-21 You Will Go Into The Hands Of Foreign Nations Permanently


Principle: God will judge those who oppress those who are beaten down.

Alternative: Just because someone is experiencing a crisis does not mean you should take advantage of his or her weak moments.

Here is a artistic rendition of the rugged terrain in Edom.

And here is a photograph of some of the cliff homes.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Calling

In Romans chapter one Paul talks about his calling. He was called to be an apostle. He also addresses the issue of his apostleship as a calling to call the nations to Jesus Christ.

Romans 1

1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-- 2the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. 6And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Emphasis mine.

Our calling is not something I hear people talk about a lot. Calling is a word which implies that the person who is called is taking direction from the one doing the calling. We would be defined in terms of the person doing the calling. Men and women are hesitant to even let their spouses have expectation, or be defined in terms of their roles in the marriage. The post-modern sees self-definition as a means of expression and sometimes sort of like a style. "It is arbitrary but it is mine." Blogger allows a person to define themselves in terms of interests. I see a lot of people even work hard to defy the category of interest. Interests--cats, bridge, anything happening after work, broken records and movies. (By the way, none of those are mine. If you want to see mine, check out my profile.) The calling that Paul had was not arbitrary. He was fitting into a bigger plan for his life and the life of the nations who were being called and in to the life of the Jewish beleiver communinity. The sense of calling was not even totally about God or Paul, but God's plan for Gentile beleivers. Today we often want to throw off any outside expectations but Paul's faithfullness to God required self-sacrifice and a sense of calling. I have a passions to see every tribe, every tongue, and every nation serving the one true and living God. I want to preach the gosple where it never has been preached before. I want to see people live in community, community that goes beyond an individual, or family, it extends beyond a single congregation. I want to teach and preach the Word of God. What is your calling?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

What Type Of Home Schooler Are You? "I'm Abe Lincoln"

HASH(0x8b61508)
Abraham Lincoln You have a Bible and a library
card what more could you possibly need? You
prefer the Charlotte Mason Method of reading
living books for everything: historical
fiction, biographies, real histories, nature
guides, etc. No soon-to-be-outdated textbooks
for you. Visit my blog:


What Type of Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Blogstreet

I'm still working to get an RSS feed to work on my blog. I did not realize the one from Blogstreet was not dynamic.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Places Named In Paul's Letters

I have posted a new web page regarding the places named in Paul's letters. I have linked to pictures of the places and Wikipedia articles on the places when available. Some places had no good pictures that I could find and there were some articles lacking. I eventually want to create a database on the web which could be used as a dynamic reference.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Blogger Fitness

I've been tracking my work outs with the President's Challenge website. Basically it is an automated log which has a easy to use interface for logging the level of your work out. If I want to do something light, it quickly logs a 45 minute frisbee work out gives you 131 points. If I run for an hour and 15 minutes to the airport overlook, I get a lot more points for that, 761. By the way, the airport overlook is what I did today. Today I started a group there called Blogger Fitness. If you want to join, go to the website and start your own profile. After you log on, hit the Your Groups tab. Once there add the group ID number 23235, the group name is Blogger Fitness. Look forward to adding members to the group.

===========================================================
INVITATION
TO JOIN Blogger Fitness
GROUP
===========================================================

YOU'RE INVITED TO JOIN THE PRESIDENT'S CHALLENGE!

Pruitt Communications has started a group to take the President's Challenge together: Blogger Fitness. And you're invited to be part of it!

WHAT IS IT?
The President's Challenge is a series of programs designed to help improve anyone's activity level. Joining a group is a great way to make staying active easy.

To learn more about the President's Challenge, go to: http://www.PresidentsChallenge.org

WHY JOIN?
Staying active with others can be a lot of fun. They'll help keep you motivated - even when you don't really feel like it. Groups are a great way to meet new people. There are even programs for people at different activity levels: the Active Lifestyle program aimed at beginners, and the Presidential Champions program for those who are already active.

Signing up for a group is simple. And there's no limit to how any you can belong to. You can join or leave at any time. All you have to do is register. It's quick, and there's no cost just to participate!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

HOW TO JOIN:

1) Go to http://www.PresidentsChallenge.org/login/register_individual.aspx

2) Fill out the registration form.

* Be sure to include the following info during registration *

Your Group ID Number: 23235
Your Group Member Number: Blogger Fitness

3) After registering, start logging your activities. As you log activities you'll be able to track your progress toward winning a President's Challenge Award or Medal.

Good
luck!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

-- The President's Challenge --

http://www.PresidentsChallenge.org
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Another Urban Legend

Recently I have heard many people say something about scripture that is not true. They seem to believe that the current modern translations are not from the original languages, that they are depending the Latin Vulgate and then the King James Version and what we have now are rewording of earlier English translations. Of course this is NOT true. While other ancient translations and modern translation are helpful in understanding how others understood scripture, the modern translation use the original language text as what they are translating. I find it strange and somewhat amusing that this falsehood would be oft repeated in casual conversation.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Who Writes The History

I have heard it said many times in recent years that history is written by the winners of wars. At times I have simply passed the phrase over, knowing that there is a certain truth. But I have started to re-examine the saying since the evolving meaning has come to mean that there is no lessons we can draw from history since it is just propaganda. There are many examples of history not being written by winners of some battle. Josephus was an ancient Jewish historian who was defeated by the Romans. He does seem to have written in a way that would be pleasing to the Romans. But he did not win those wars. After the U.S. Civil War there was plenty of people writing who were not on the side of the North. We could go on and on for examples. This phrase is one of those sayings that has an element of truth but when often repeated is a disaster. It makes people want to discount all history. There are no legitimate lessons from history for modern living. There is no need to study it if it is mere propaganda. Any argument using history is trumped by the phrase. Sounds like someone ought to write a book about it.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

A Sermon On Hannah's Prayer

1 Samuel 2:1-10
By Terry L. Pruitt

Introduction:

The temptation for this passage is to read it as an underdog story in which one woman, Hannah, won over her competitor in her own family, Peninnah. That is my temptation at least. Perhaps you don't have the same temptation. These two women were both the wife of Elkanah. Elkanah's favorite wife was Hannah however Peninnah had the advantage because she was able to bearing children. In answer to prayer Hannah also is given a child, Samuel. This child she gives to the LORD as an act of gratitude for his deliverance from her shame. While in our day and age people don't always want children. Some are very content to be childless. We may be puzzled by someone placing all their self worth on this issue of being able to have children. People have many more capabilities than to have children. But the family was the center of life more ways than one in the Old Testament times. The family economic situation was based on the extended family. The extended family provided an economic base for shared resources, provision in old age and a means of organizing for economic activity. The extended family also provided a means of physical security and personal safety. If you remember the story of Abraham when he took 300 trained men to pursued Lot's captures. That is not to say that security and safety situations were not changing over time. But often, the corner stone of security was extended family loyalty and looking out for one another. The extended family was a place that a person's ranking was established. Was a man the first or second son? Was the woman a slave of the head of the family or was she the daughter of the second or third son. Today American society ranks people based on the neighborhood they live within, the school their children go to, and the position they have obtained at work. We still have a ranking system. We care much more about the neighborhood. Is it middle class? Some people really like the whole living down town Baltimore because they feel it is not suburban banality while other feel they have achieved something by leaving the city to live in the suburbs. We will not attempt to decide today which ranking system is right or wrong, just to say it exists. Your ranking and my ranking in society is not tied so much to the extended family. Yet there is a great deal competition and comparison in our society. Children often are overt in their comparisons and rankings. “I bet my Dad can beat up your Dad.” Who as a child was not petrified by the prospect of being the last kid picked when forming a team for gym class or a pick up game of baseball. But as adults, our ranking is much more subtle. We know the chain of authority in the work place. We know who has signature authority. And we could go on and on. While we have much different criteria for society ranking, both in Hannah's day and in our own there is a lot of emphasis on one's personal status in terms of others.

The underdog is someone who does not have the advantage in a competition. The formula for a good sports movie is that a team that is unlikely to win through forming team bonds, overcoming a reputation and disciplined practice, win the big event of the season. This past year before the Olympics the movie “Miracle” chronicled the U.S. hockey team's success at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Russians were the favored team to win those Winter Olympic Games. If you saw any of the interviews of our U.S. Olympic athletes during the Summer Games in Athens you may have heard them make references to the movie “Miracle” or them repeating the phrase that they play for the United States Of America. Not all stories of competition are stories of the underdog coming out on top but it is a common theme. Again at first glance we might think that this prayer of Hannah's is a response to her own underdog story, but in reality there are some more important happening here. Strictly speaking, Hannah is not the underdog in the sense, she was the favored wife. Peninnah was the wife with children but she did not have the favor her husband. Hannah had this advantage, however, Peninnah vexed her to the point of tears. She is the underdog in terms of number of children, but she was favored by her husband. She Hannah will not only acknowledge that God is the source of her success but she will teach us this morning about how God is in control of every up and down in our life. How God is the only one gives a correct assessment of our value, our works and our hearts. How God ultimately we are dependent upon God for His deliverance from the trials of this life and the next.


I. Rejoicing in God (Verses 1-3)
Exalting In God (Verse 1)


“My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn is lifted on high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies
for I delight in your deliverance.”


The word here deliverance is the same word as salvation. In fact it is related to the word which would become our saviors name, Jesus. Deliverance is a good translation. I find sometimes when we use the word salvation, we use it to means something a long this lines of being a member of the Christian church, that we personally have spoken the sinners prayer or that we have had an emotional experience during an alter call. But in fact, this deliverance is not any of those. Salvation is that we are in trouble, actual or potential, and God delivers us from that trouble. In many of the stories in the Old Testament, the deliverance is deliverance from the nations that would oppress the children of Israel militarily. Alternatively, it is deliverance from the oppression of Egypt. Or perhaps it is the deliverance from those who would kill them. But in the case here, Hannah is delivered from her shame of being childless. It would be easy to put deliverance of God into that category of deliverance from national disaster, but in this case it is deliverance from personal shame. In the New Testament we see salvation turning to a deliverance from sin, death and the grave. We will talk a little more about that in a bit.

When we recognize God's merciful salvation, whether from temporal or eternal danger, is something that should cause our heart to sing. Here Hannah has her whole being involved in praising the LORD. Her heart rejoices, her strength is glorifying the LORD and her mouth is praising him. The LORD commands us to love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul and might. We are not to merely have an intellectual acknowledgment of the historical facts that Jesus came and died for us. We are not only to establish a pattern of worship each Sunday or to establish a pattern of daily Bible reading. Our attitudes must be those of gladness and joy because we understand just what He has done for us. Our mind engaged, yes. Our habits and actions acknowledging God's place in our schedule. Of course he owns all our time, but if we don't have anytime set aside for him he does not own all our time.

I would like to share a story of personal temporal deliverance. The members of our Bible Study have been praying with Barb and I about my employment after I get out of the service this next year. Nancy, Woody, Darla, Maggie, Kim, and Susan have prayed about this. I have been concerned about it so we have made it the subject of prayer. I was also concerned about wisdom to take the right position. I have put my resume out to several companies. An acquaintance from several years back called me out of the blue and asked me to meet his boss for an informal meeting so I could get to know him. As far as I know, he did not know for sure I was getting out of the service. I signed on with this company this week. I was thinking I would have to go through a lot of interviews and the process would be long and hard. I feel that God has answered our prayers and I'm grateful for the job and that I don't have to spend months looking. Perhaps once I start my next job will stretch me. Perhaps I won't stay there as long as I would like. I don't know the future but I feel that God has answered our prayers and this is a blessing.

2. No Comparison To God (Verse 2)

“There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.”


Repeated in this verse three times is the phrase “there is none”. There is none like the Lord, there is none besides you, and there is no Rock like our God. The poetic form here as well as the words express the exclusive attributes of God, the otherness of God. Often we use an anthropomorphism to talk about God's actions and attributes. He interacts with us based on our own limitations. He asks us questions as if he did not know the answers. He is persuaded by us as if we had any influence over him. Many of the interactions with God are him coming down to our level. He is different than us, he is also different than other false gods. He is not comparable to either. False gods are not mentioned in this passage but this passage is a parallel passage to Exodus 15:11 which says,

“Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?
Who is like you –
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?”


This parallel passage spells out the comparison of God to the false gods, they are not comparable in holiness, glory or their works. While this is true, the emphasis in this passage seems to be more focused on comparing the boastings of proud men and women against the salvation of God. Remember that Hannah's adversary was also participating in the worship of the one true God and was a member of her household. In a sense, it was from within the family of faith. The other woman was an adversary but not an outsider. Some of the most bitter rivalries are from within the family. Siblings can be cruel to one another. Spouses can be cruel to one another. Parents and children can be cruel to one another. The family of faith can be hurt one another. These people can have a lot of power over us because they share the same household. They have the inside track to pain. They know each other's weaknesses. Just to clarify I'm of course not saying this is a good thing. If those who hurt or vex you the most are not members of your own family, count yourself blessed! Perhaps it is someone at work. If the most strident areas of your life are not any of these, could yourself doubly blessed. But you know, God is more very different from all that. All these people in our lives who appear to have so much power over us are not really all that powerful at all. God is a Rock according to this passage. We talked a little bit before how in the days of Samuel cities were built up high on a rocky area so that their enemies would have a difficult time attacking up hill. A high rock was used as a place of refuge, basically a naturally occurring castle. God is the place of protection.


Boasting Is In Opposition To God's Judgment (Verse 3)

“Do not keep talking so proudly
or let you mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.”


This part of the prayer uses a common Hebrew form of poetry. It repeats an idea. Poetry of the Bible often rhymes in terms of concepts, not word endings. The word ending quite naturally rhymed with little effort from the natural structure of the language.

Of course when we hear the part about arrogant or proud speech, we can think of Peninnah's vexing words. Often things people say to us burn into our minds. The worst of them repeat in our mind time after time, sometimes late at night. Sometimes in our idle moments. Whether they are true or they are false, they can hurt. People often engage in trash talk. They inflate their own strength, their own threat, and their own position. Big words are often spoken in order to intimidate, not inform. Proud, self-aggrandizement stands in contrast with how God knows and judges the deeds of men.

This is not just something that is done by children. Adults brag too. There is a man at work who talks trash. You see it in the realm of political speeches and sports. It is not all World Wrestling Entertainment, but of course you do see it there too.

The weighing of the scales gives allusion to the weighing process. In those days a scale was a set of balance scales. An object or amount of a commodity was placed on one side of the scale and a known weight was placed on the other. Often in ancient times this is also how they pictured the end of our lives when we enter eternity. God would weigh our heart and determine our eternal fate. It is a picture of the judgment to come. Some people who look at this like to say that life is a balancing act. Of course this idea that we need a balanced life does have a sense of truth in it. We need a balanced diet, we need to balance work and play. We need to be balanced in how much time we spend at work versus how much time we spend with our family. That is not the image here. The balance is your life being weighed against God's perfect, righteous standard. This is where that holiness of God is either a great thing if we are in his grace or a terror if we insist on living according to our own ways. We will be weighed. Sin is simply not obeying God's law. A sin can take place in thought, word or deed. The LORD who knows all will judge these. If you have placed your faith in Christ, he will count you as righteous not because you said a prayer or because you walked an aisle. He will count you righteous because of the righteous work of Christ on the Cross. He made an atonement for your sins. Perhaps today you do not know Christ. Perhaps the LORD has been pursuing you and you have been resisting. If God has been tugging at your heart, know this that today is the day of salvation. Saved from what? Saved from your sins.

I was talking to a man not too long ago who said that he did not see how God could forgive sin. He knew his own heart that when someone did him wrong he did not forgive easily. He wondered how God could forgive him. He was right, God does not merely ignore our sins. That is why Jesus died on the cross. He atoned for our sins. He paid the price for our sins by dying in our place. If you have placed your faith in Christ, when your heart is weighed at the judgment, you will NOT find yourself lacking. Jesus has paid your debt for you. If you do not have faith in Christ, you will find that your sins will disqualify you from entry to the kingdom of God. We will talk a little more about that later.

II. God is in Control Of Our Station In Life (Verses 4–8a)

Reversal Of Human Strength (Verses 4-5)

“The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry hunger no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.”


You and I are creatures of inherent need. We must breath air. We must eat. We must sleep. We are inherently dependent upon our environment for food, water and air. We are dependent upon others for many things. I have heard a lot of people talk about the difference between a need and a want. I have even heard it from Sunday School teachers. And there is that scripture which says that with food and clothing let us be content. In a sense it is true that we should be content whether we abase or abound. But do we really think God created us for mere survival. He created us not only to be abase but to also abound. In matters of necessity like food and clothing we are dependent on God. But in matters of life's enrichment we are also dependent upon God. Whether it be the beauty of nature or the pleasure of learning a new skill like how to make a quilt, we are dependent upon God for our eye sight, our finger coordination, our ability to imagine.

We are by nature dependent creatures. We like to think of ourselves as independent but space travel tells us that we are not. I suppose you all heard the news that a privately funded crew left the earth's atmosphere this week. Space flight makes us painfully aware of how dependent upon our environment we are for basic life functions. God made us this way on purpose.

Even when we believe ourselves to be strong, in reality we are just moments away from eternity. When Barbara and I were living in Germany a godly man in our church was also a doctor for the military hospital in Germany. His name was Dr. McDowell. He was an example of faith and steadfastness. He and his wife sacrificed so that he could make it through medical school. They had almost paid off his medical loans. He was the doctor who delivered Elaine. He and his wife had five children. He was playing basketball one day. He had an aneurysm and died. He had everything looking up. I don't believe in anyway that he was judged by God. It is just that reversals strength and weakness can come quickly. These remind us of how even when we are blessed with children or with a skill or with provision, they can all turn quickly. Again, I'm not saying that every reversal is a judgment, but they all are a reminder that we are ultimately dependent upon God for our skills, our food, our wealth or our children. If God gives us a gift, how are we to respond when he no longer gives it. All my skills are really something he has given me. All the wealth that we have are gifts.

God Give Abundance And Want (Verses 6-8a)

“The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.”


Here Hannah gets into a deep topic. If we were to look at how she treats the topic you might think that she has some of it backwards. She talks about how the LORD brings death but then makes alive. Shouldn't she say that the LORD gives life and then brings death. Her point is not that we have our ups and downs and in the end we die. Rather there are a lot of reversals in this life. Those who have strength in battle will find their equipment failing. Those who were stumbling will find strength. Those who had enough to eat are having to hire themselves out. Those who were hungry are full. Now she has prophetic insight to a transcending reversal. We will die and though we die, God will raise us up. He has sent death as a punishment for Adam's sin. We are children of Adam and we are sinful like Adam. We were in Adam while he sinned and we sin of our own accord. We die because we are sinful But even though God has brought death upon the human race he will also resurrect those who are in him. He will also raise us up when he judges us.

This passage describes both the eternal reversals, death but followed by the resurrection, and then also the reversals of this life, things like cycles of wealth and poverty, seasons of honor and seasons of humility. The weather in our part of the world has four seasons. Spring and summer bring time of agricultural production. Autumn and Winter are a season of rest. The land of Israel has basically two seasons, one dry and one rainy. These cycles contribute to the character of the agricultural environment and the natural environment. In my own life I have seen honor followed by humility. I personally have been sometimes discouraged by the low cycles, feeling that I had somehow stumbled outside of God's will. These seasons of humility were sometimes just after great successes. Rather than trust God for the up and down cycle, I focused on my own weaknesses. As we talked about before, we really are not strong except in a dependent manner. The cycles of abundance and poverty help us understand our dependence on God.

In this passage do you see who is ultimately poor? Those who are ultimately poor are those who are dead. They are in the dust or ash heap not figuratively but literally. They have died and decomposed. But he will raise us in the last days. What will God do for his elect? He will seat them at the marriage feast of the lamb. God's elect will be seated on thrones of honor.


III. God is Sovereign In His Providential Control (Verses 8b-10)
He Who Established This World Keeps His Saints (Verses 8b-9a)


“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's;
upon them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his saints,
but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.”


God created this world that we see. His creative works established all that we see through his Word. He spoke and brought light, the oceans, the sky and the land into existence. These environments he created he also populated. He not only created the material world but he maintains it. He created the material and maintains it, he also created life. By the same power that he created the world, he is also able to sustain the life of his people. He protect those who follow his ways but he will judge those who are walking in wickedness.

Barbara and I met while we were in college. Some of the ministerial students were involved with a youth event. It was February weekend and there was snow on the ground. I was driving some of the other students from college to a church in Aurora, Missouri. I was driving too fast for the snowy conditions. It on the flat river bottom plain of the boot heel area. I can still visualize the flat terrain. Ahead of us a car was stopped in the road. I don't know why they were stopped in the middle of the road. I pushed on the breaks and put our car into a spin. I could see that we were about to crash into the car which was stopped. I could see the tail end of that other car was going to slam into the door, right where I was. Just as we got to within a few feet of the other car I cried out in prayer to Jesus. As I did the other car speed out of the way.

This is an example of God giving temporal safety. But ultimately there an eternal safety that we are concerned about. It is not simply God keeping us from harm when we are foolish or that God is keeping us healthy. Ultimately we are looking for his protection for eternity. We are looking to be in his care for eternity.


Human Strength Will Endure; Messiah's Strength Will Be Exalted (Verses 9b-10)

“It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven.
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”


In your life, are you opposing the LORD? When you have heard his gospel message of his free gift of eternal life, did you reject it by putting off any sort of commitment? The word gospel means good news. The good news is that there is a deliverer, he has delivered us from our sin. He has redeemed us, purchased us by his sacrificial work on the cross. It is not by our works that we are saved from our sin, but rather by his works on the cross. Salvation is a free gift and it can not be earned or deserved. If you have not placed your faith in Christ, you are bearing your sins under you own strength. This passage makes it clear that those who are depending on their own strength will be judged. This judgment is not a small thing of God saying, “Tisk, tisk, you should have done a little better.” In our modern idea of what holy living is all about, we tend to soften the requirements and the punishments for sin. As you can see in this passage, God will shatter his enemies, he will judge the ends of the earth.

What is the answer to our problem? It is that strength is found in God's king. That is not a human political king but the one who would come from the lineage of King David. His strength was not found in human institutions but in his nature of being very God. His strength is found in his sacrificial work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. There was not a king in Israel in the days of Hannah. She anticipates the acts of her son anointing a king. King David is an type of the King who would come later. She anticipates the coming of the Messiah. Messiah means anointed one. The one who has the anointing of the Holy Spirit without measure. Our ultimate hope is in the Messiah, God's Son who died on the cross for our sins.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, we have examined a prayer about a woman's temporal troubles of not being able to have children which led her to the grace of God. She found that there are cycles of abundance and want, cycles of honor and humility. She pointed us to the fact that we are ultimately dependent upon God and we experience this temporally during these changes. While we could count without end the various ways we experience ups and downs, in the end, our eternal rewards are what matters. This passage is clear about he judgment to come. We will be judged. If we are depending on our own strength, we will be found wanting. The answer found here is that God has sent his Messiah. His strength is what has prevailed of death and the grave. Have you placed your faith in the Savior? Is he calling you today? I would like to ask that everyone close their eyes and bow their heads. First for you have faith in Christ I want to ask you to pray that you would understand whether you abase or abound that Christ is all sufficient for you. And again if you are a Christian, I want you also to pray for those around you who may not know Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit would call the lost to the Father through the work of His Son on the Cross. To those here who do not know if you have faith I would like to talk to you also. Perhaps you sense that you have been walking in your own strength and doing it on your own. Perhaps today you know God is calling you to himself. You know in your heart that you need Jesus, that you can not do it yourself. Perhaps you don't know where you will spend eternity. If it is your desire to follow Christ what I am going to ask you to do is pray right where you are. Where you are sitting, right now, I would like you to pray this simple prayer silently .

“Lord, Jesus, I come to you asking to know you and be known by you. I have depended on my own strength. I have thought I could do it on my own strength. I acknowledge myself to be a sinner who has no hope without you. I want your gift of eternal life, LORD. Give me faith because I have no faith of my own. Thank you for paying for my sins on the Cross. Thank you for Jesus who died in my place. Thank you for creating me. Thank you for redeeming me. And it is in Jesus name that I pray Amen.”