Murray Keene - First Testimony - Rochedale, Greater Manchester, England Convention - 1978

Hannah's life. When so many things are provided for us, it is quite possible to become self-indulgent rather than to sacrifice. God loves to move us to sacrifice more. How possible to be looking after our own interests rather than seeking to be a sacrifice, rendering unto God that which will be a blessing unto ourselves and others? Hannah going up yearly to worship. Shiloh - the place where the ark of God was - that place was out of his state - other things were left behind then they went to Shiloh. It is not easy to leave things behind in our lives; trying to retain something that may benefit us later. Then we should try to retain the things that are spoken unto us, that can be bought back later in the time of need.

I Corinthians 2:14, the natural man receiveth not the things of God. A yearly feast and they would be there if possible. One man in USA said, "The shortest 4 days in the year are not in December (according to the calendar) but the shortest days are the days we spend at convention in June."

These people went up with a purpose. What is our purpose as we gather together at convention? Purpose to learn to serve and sacrifice as we recognise how much is behind it all. We would like to make the very best use of the time here. Learning how to worship and sacrifice unto the Lord. "Worship"' means "Adore." Depends on our willingness to give of ourselves. Hannah's life barren and fruitless and the enemy caused her to fret. She wept and she prayed. Eli even thought she was drunken but she said, "I am a woman of sorrowful spirit." When Eli understood her better, he encouraged her to give him back to the Lord. "The Lord grant thee thy petition." Hannah's prayer was answered.

What can we offer to God that will be acceptable and pleasing to him? She had a broken and a contrite spirit, and she was offering that before she had Samuel to offer. A broken spirit God will not despise. A broken spirit says, "I am sorry," and a true heart says, "I am willing." The greatest thing that God would desire of us is that we would give ourselves to God - true unselfishness, so different from unfaithfulness. Elkanah and Hannah were honouring God in their home life. Elkanah was sharing in Hannah's prayer. She did not take him up the first year, and Elkanah said, "Do what seemeth good to thee." Only the Lord establish His word. If you keep him too long, it will be harder to give him up, easier to do it sooner. Just as anxious as Hannah to give him to the Lord. "I have behaved myself as a child that is weaned of his mother." A child before it is weaned can cry and get all that it cries for, but a weaned child takes what it can - maybe the very opposite from what others are getting.

"This is the child that I prayed for" - he shall be lent to the Lord, this is what I prayed for. Good to pray for the right thing and God can give us what we pray for. A person needs to have a purpose to spend part of the time alone with God. Others can encourage us to sacrifice to God. We appreciate people that would help us to die. Samuel was lent to or granted to the Lord "As long as he liveth" - she was parting with him, her son, as long as he lived. Things were at a low ebb in the Kingdom at that time, and the men that should have been responsible vessels were not honouring God. She sent him to the Lord with the faith that God would guide him and overrule, he grew. How could be a child minister to the Lord when as yet he did not know the Lord, but children can even minister unto the Lord. The little girl said, "I am a candle that has not been lit yet" - she was trying to do what she could.

God spoke to him and he thought it was Eli speaking. Eli said, "You say, 'Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.'" What he heard was not easy for him to speak. He heard God pronouncing against Eli, but Eli made it easier for him, "You tell me every word." Eli said, "The word of the Lord is good." When Hezekiah was told that God's people would be taken into Babylon, he said, "Good is the word of the Lord. There shall be peace and truth in my days." We have to conclude this that when God speaks to correct us, we may not understand what we ask when we ask God to speak to us.

One time in a meeting, one of our older sister workers spoke on that verse in Isaiah 50, "He wakeneth me morning by morning. He hath given me the tongue of the learned that I may know how to speak a word to him that is weary. Wakeneth me to hear -our inner ear be awakened morning by morning.” Sometimes when the Lord tries to waken us, we are not fully awake to what He has to say to us. If the Lord could only awaken us, it would be possible to have the word in season to him that is weary; we could comfort and help them, and inspire hope in them. Coming to the feast with the purpose of sacrificing to the Lord of Host. Sometimes we have not been waiting on the Lord and we are not in a condition to receive what He has to give us.

Meditation - it means to the soul what digestion does to the body. Not enough just to eat but it must be digested to help the body. Turning it over and over and over again. It is not what people earn that makes them wealthy but what they save. Not only reading, but learning, not preaching but practising that makes us Christians. Sacrificing unto God. Jonah had gone a long way from God - down to the sea, down to the ship, down to the whale, and yet from that position, he prayed unto God. "I am cast out, but I will pray again to thy Holy Temple. I will sacrifice to Thee with the voice of thanksgiving." He had tried to evade the sacrifice, but he found that it would not do. I will not only sacrifice, but I will do it with the voice of thanksgiving.

Hebrews 13, "By Him, therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Part of the worship to God is the sacrifice that will be pleasing to God. 3 bullocks - a bullock of 3 years old. Not that a babe may have seemed a lesser sacrifice, but there was a great test because this was alive and full of future possibility, and that it would mean much to the people of God.