“WISDOM OF LIVING (52) JUDGMENT”                 By Pastor YAU

Text: 1 Samuel 1:9-18                                                     June 3, 2007.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A modern day issue: Today, April 25, 2007, on a news channel, an interview conducted by a TV station with someone from “Wakeup Wal-Mart”, an anti Wal-Mart organization. The focus is on the announcement of a new plan by Wal-Mart to start medical clinics in 400 some stores in the US. Before Wal-Mart even publishes the details of their plans, the person from that anti Wal-Mart organization smears everything Wal-Mart is doing. He assumes that this new plan is another way Wal-Mart is trying to monopolize medical clinics so the company can control their employees on medical services they have freedom to choose from. Being an ordinary consumer, I can see how blind people can be in dealing with others when they have their own assumption or agenda.

2)   An ancient story: When Elkanah and his family went to Shiloh to worship God and to offer sacrifice, Hannah was miserable because she couldn’t have children. When they had finished the ceremony, Hannah wept bitterly on her soul and she prayed to the Lord. As she kept on praying to God in her heart with her lips moving without being heard, Eli, the elderly prophet, observed her and without knowing her situation or listening to her prayers, he had an assumption that she must had been drunk. He admonished Hannah, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine,” Eli said. But Hannah told Eli, “Not so, my lord, I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking. I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.” How wrong Eli was to make this kind of assumed judgment without knowing the truth.

 

WHY WE MADE ASSUMED JUDGMENTS?

1)   We don’t know all the facts:  As Eli only observed the movements of Hannah’s lips without knowing that Hannah was in prayer, he made assumed judgment on her. Often times we make the same mistake by judging people from what we see on the outside without knowing the fact of that person on the inside. Without knowing the facts, we mostly make wrong or bias judgments which can only make things worse.

2)   We are influenced by our past: Most likely Eli made that judgment against Hannah because he, being a prophet for many years, had seen too many people got drunk in the name of worship. Some of those who came to Shiloh not to worship or give sacrifice but to get drunk on the occasion. When Eli had seen so much, he assumed that Hannah was just one of them. Our past experience will certainly influence us in passing unfound judgments on others. We need to know that no 2 persons are all alike. We just can’t judge all people the same way when they are not all the same kind.

3)   We are too lazy to learn: If Eli would have spent a few moments to talk to Hannah, he won’t make such a fool of himself. All he did was sitting in his chair by the post of the temple and watching people come and go. It may not be his duty to ask all people about their prayers. But he should get to know more about Hannah before he passed assumed judgments on her without even talking to her. We see too many people do this today: they don’t care to find out anything about anybody. All they want is to pass judgments on people whom they have never talked to or know anything about.

4)   We may have vicious intent: There are people, more than we want to know, who will judge others harshly to create false feelings that they are better than others. These people may be very wrong in their own lives but they will pass unfound judgments on others to make them feel good of themselves. They may think, “After all, they are as bad, or worse, than I am.”

 

THE DANGER OF CASUAL JUDGMENTS:

1)    They misrepresent fact: This is a courteous assessment. Acts like this twists facts, not just misrepresent them. When we make casual judgment against others, we inject our assumptions on them as facts and that is very dangerous and could create far-reaching ill effects on them. People who didn’t know the facts but take your judgments at face value may form unfair impression about those whom you placed your ill judgments on. If people believe your unfound judgment, they may never know the truth to form fair impression about others.

2)    They cause unnecessary injuries: When Hannah heard the unfound accusation by Eli, what do you think she might feel? She already had enough grief and sorrow in her heart. She didn’t need another assault from anyone else much less from a prophet. Casual and unfound judgments we pass on others certainly add more burdens on their already heavy hearts.

3)    They expose our ignorance: I don’t mean we need to hide our ignorance from people at all cost. But I do mean we don’t need to expose our ignorance by passing unfound, unfair and uninformed judgments on people or things. When we don’t know anything, we better keep our mouth zipped. If Eli didn’t say anything to Hannah, we may respect him a little more. The Bible says, “Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly.” (Prov.  13:16)

4)    They may jeopardize relationship: Good that Hannah had a big heart and was easy to forgive. She explained the facts to Eli right there. She went back to him a year later after the Lord answered her prayers and gave her a baby, Samuel. (1:24-28) But in real life not all people are as forgiving as Hannah was. Why did an elderly prophet have to insult a poor woman with such unnecessary judgment? Many otherwise normal relationships had been badly injured or shattered because of casual and unfound bad judgments.

 

LESSONS WE MAY LEARN:

1)    Time to seek God: Although we know we need to seek God in all things at all times, it seems helpless times are the best time to do just that. Hannah did the right thing when all she had tried but failed and there wasn’t anything she could do about it---to have a child. Many times when God puts us in those hopeless and helpless times, that may be the best time God want us to seek His face and grace. Pour out your heart to Him like Hannah did was the right way and the only way in time like hers. God is never too far away to hear our cry.

2)    Time to encourage: Although Eli mistakenly made judgment that didn’t fit the needs, he was quick to admit his mistake and showed Hannah his support and encouragement on what she asked of the Lord.  The elderly prophet gave Hannah his blessing, “Go in peace and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.” (1:17)What a beautiful thing for an elderly prophet to see his fault and turned around to bless Hannah when she needed that the most. A kind word, a friendly assurance and a gesture of support and care all mean so much when someone is in desperate situation.

3)    Time to build faith: After hearing the blessings and kind words of Eli, the prophet, Hannah grieved no more. She went to eat and had no sad face any more. In Hannah time, a prophet was the medium between God and man. She said to Eli, “May your servant find favor in your eyes,” as she wished that from God. When we seek God in time of helplessness and have turned our problem to Him, we need to begin building our faith in Him, knowing that He will answer our prayers better than we have asked. There is no need to continue grieving, crying or worrying. What is the point to seek God and at the same time continue to carry our burdens?

4)    Time to keep promises: Hannah made a promise to God when she asked for a son. She promised God that if God give her a son she will give him back to God to serve Him all the days of his life. We often times make sincere promises to God when we ask Him extra ordinary things in desperate situations. Our problem is we tend to forget our promises when God has granted our prayers. This is a sign of being ungrateful and unfaithful to God. God never needs anything from us. He owns everything even our lives. But when we make a promise to God, it is our honor as well as duty to fulfill that promise. Hannah did just that. (1:21-28)Have you made some promises to God in the past? How much have you kept those promises? It is never too late to fulfill your duties. God loves to see you being faithful and grateful to His blessings.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Be wise and slow: Next time when you are being tempted to make hasty judgments, hold yourself back, be wise and be slow to do so. No one will blame you of not saying anything but everyone will blame you when you say the wrong thing.

2)    Be kind and merciful: If you really want to say something, say good words, kind words, give blessings and encouragements which will hold others up and bring them back to God the source of all blessings.

3)    Be humble before God: There will be times when life is too much for you. There may be times when there is nothing you can do to change the situation. Be humble before God. Come to seek His face and grace. He is always near to answer your cries, to save you from your pain. He will never forsake you because He loves you as His child.