“Am I not more to you than ten sons?” (I Samuel 1:8)
The Lord was more to Hannah than her only son. Click To Tweet
These are the words of Elkanah, the husband of Hannah, who was grieving because she could not bear a son and was being taunted by Elkinah’s other wife, Peninnah, who had already born him sons and daughters. We know by Hannah’s words to the Lord in verse 11 that her sorrowful spirit had nothing to do with her being discontent with her husband but rather, it was a cry to the Lord, perhaps for mercy on her barrenness and vindication before her provocateur, Peninnah. In I Samuel 1:11, 27-2:10 we realize that this woman’s heart esteemed the honor, pleasure, and priorities of the Lord more than even her strong, natural desire to have her son near to her, to raise and to enjoy. In other words, the Lord was more to Hannah than her only son, who was wholly given to the Lord at age two or three and taken to the Lord’s house to be raised and trained there. She indeed loved the Lord more than anyone or anything else, to the point of giving up her rights to her firstborn! We also see this tender, surrendered heart in King David in more than one instance in the Old Testament.
Loving the Lord more than comfort, more than needs being met, more than preserving our lives…
David was more concerned with honoring and pleasing the Lord than satisfying his natural needs. Click To Tweet
In Psalm 132:3-5 David declares: “Surely, I will not go into the chamber of my house, or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids until I find a place for the LORD, a swelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” His own comfort, and even needs being met, were of secondary importance to David; rather, he was willing to deny himself these until the Ark of the Lord – the Presence of God Himself – had a sure dwelling place. Like Hannah, he was more concerned with honoring and pleasing the Lord than satisfying his own natural needs.
Likewise, when David had the opportunity to kill Saul – an act that some said would be legitimate and justified – he wouldn’t touch him because as unstable and murderous as he was, he was still God’s anointed ( I Samuel 24:5-10). David loved the Lord more than his own life.
” …more than these“
They were more interested in the Presence of their loving, faithful, forgiving Master and Friend than with the huge haul of fish and their need for breakfast! Click To Tweet
We read in John 21 about the failed fishing sortie of seven disciples after Peter had declared, “I am going fishing!” They fished all night and caught nothing, but in the morning they heard a Man call to them from the shore, asking, “Children, have you any food? After they replied “no”, and after His instructions had brought in a haul of fish that they could hardly handle, John recognized the Man and cried out, “It is the Lord!”. Upon hearing that, Peter jumped into the water and swam to shore to greet Him. In the verses following it seems that the disciples were hardly occupied with fulfilling their natural need for food, even after toiling all night, although the Lord had prepared breakfast for them. Indeed, they seemed more interested in the Presence of their loving, faithful, forgiving, compassionate Master and Friend. Then, in verse 15, Jesus asks Peter the well-known question: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” I believe He was asking Peter if it was more important to him to follow after this natural vocation of fishing or to follow Him, the now resurrected Christ. A little under 2,000 years later this question is still very relevant to us as His followers today.
” … more than my necessary” (Job 23:12)
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Another situation where men were tested by the Lord vis-à-vis whether or not their affections were set on things Above or on things below (Col.3:1,2) is seen in Judges 7:4-7, after the Lord had told Gideon that he needed to reduce his army before going to battle against the Midianites- even after 22,000 people had already left! The next cut in Gideon’s army came as follows: ” … bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. … Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” The former group, numbering 300, were chosen to go with Gideon against the Midianites. Why them and not the other group? Perhaps they of the kneeling drinkers were less aware of what was going on around them because of their posture; they were totally absorbed in fulfilling their natural need for water. It could be said that their eyes were set on something below. Also, they were not looking to their leader, seeing where he was, what he was doing, where his eyes were. Was their “necessary” more important to them than what was happening in the kingdom at that moment? “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of … food and drink, but instead it is Righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17, Amplified) Furthermore, is it more important what I eat and drink than the Presence of the One Who is Love, Who is my Shepherd and promises that I will never lack what I need? “Better is a dinner of herbs where Love is than a fatted calf with hatred.” (Proverbs 15:17)
More than serving Him …
The Master was present; and Mary did not want to miss what He said. Click To Tweet
Mary sat at the feet of the Lord Jesus and listened intently to His Words, even when there was a lot of work to be done in her house at that moment. But the Master was present; He had not come primarily to be fed but to feed those around Him, and Mary did not want to miss what He said; she had chosen the good portion, the better option which was to her advantage (Luke 10:40-42, Amplified).
More than holding onto what is rightfully ours …
Mephibosheth was totally satisfied with the return of the king and wanted nothing more than David's presence. Click To Tweet
After Saul had died, King David made good on the promise he had made to Saul’s son Jonathan, and he asked if there any left of the household of Saul to whom he, the King, could show kindness. Mephibosheth, the lame son of Jonathan, was found and given a permanent place at the King’s table as one of his own sons, as well as all that belonged to Saul and to his house. The King also gave to Mephibosheth Ziba, a servant of the house of Saul, as his own servant (II Samuel 9). But when the King had to flee Jerusalem during the Absalom rebellion, Ziba deceived Mephibosheth in such a way that the lame man could not follow David. Ziba then lied to the King and slandered Mephibosheth to him, making it look as though the latter had turned on David. When finally the King returned and met up with Mephibosheth, who told David the truth of what Ziba had done, the King said that he and Ziba could share the land originally left to Mephibosheth. But this grateful, loyal, lame friend of David’s simply replied, “Rather, let him take it all, inasmuch as my lord the king has come back in peace to his own house.” (II Samuel 19:30) Mephibosheth was totally satisfied with the return of his master and wanted nothing more than the king’s presence. He did not insist on receiving what was originally promised by the King nor even the half of it. Having a permanent seating at the King’s table was enough for him.
More than our lives …
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The brethren mentioned in Revelation 12:10,11, overcame the devil by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, “for they did not love and cling to life even when faced with death …” (Amplified) The Lord Himself, of course, had given them His example to follow: “He “stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant … and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the Cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8, Amplified)) He loved the Father more than His earthly life, and the Will of the Father was more important to Him than His human will. The Apostle Paul perhaps understood this more than most in his time and was able to honestly write: ” … I do not count my life dear to myself” (Acts 20:24), after the Holy Spirit had told him “that chains and tribulations” were awaiting him (verse 23). We as well, by God’s Grace, can certainly be of the same mind as Paul, loving the Lord Jesus Christ more than anyone or anything, and counting everything about our own lives as rubbish that we might know Him and “progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him” Who so loved us first (Phil.3:8)
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