"And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the Lord."
I Samuel 7: 15 -17, King James Version
"A Place Called ‘Home'"
"‘Home' is any four walls, that enclose the right people."
What comes to my mind when I hear the word "home"?
What kind of memories do I have of being at home as a child?
What kind of memories am I making today that others will think of as a "home" for themselves throughout the years?
"Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort!"
"There are homes you run from, and homes you run to."
Back when my father was orphaned, children were either sent to live in orphanages or if they were lucky, some person would come along and take them into their home. In my dad's case, a neighbor-lady took in three foster children because she was unable to have children of her own. Her husband was not thrilled with taking on "others' cast-offs" and he made it very clear to my dad that he had no joy in my father's presence. It wasn't until a lady in town met my dad, when he was a young boy, that my father really learned what the word "home" meant. He found out, it wasn't the place you lived, it was the place you were loved.
Life ended up with a surprise for my father because the lady he met had three children of her own, along with over twenty other youngsters she mothered. And my dad ended up marrying one of the lady's daughters - my mother, Ellen.
When they got married, my parents decided that at Christmas, no matter where they were, they would drive home, to my grandparent's small home, on Maple Avenue, which was the place that embodied the love they now shared as a couple.
Every year, as long as I can remember, no matter where we lived, we'd drive all night if necessary, to make it to Grandma and Grandpa's for Christmas Eve. We never missed! Why? Because it was home - and for my parents, especially my dad who had no parents, going home meant so much more than it did for most people, because he knew what it was like not to have a home.
There are two reasons I want us to take a moment to think about what the word "home" means today.
First is from something I always wondered about Samuel's life. This promised child lived with his parents in their home for a very short time and then off he went to the temple to serve God and to be under the care of the elderly Eli. I always felt sorry for Samuel, removed from his home so young. And as a woman, I also felt sorry for Hannah who unselfishly shared her child.
But one of the blessings that comes from studying through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, as we are doing, is that there are so many times we have found golden nuggets revealed and here at the end of I Samuel 7 we find the words in our text for today, "and his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the Lord" (I Samuel 7: 17).
Samuel went home. And I just wonder, if it wasn't because his precious mother needed him for we are told that this was where Elkanah and Hannah lived (I Samuel 2: 11). What's more, they had more children after Samuel's birth and so there were brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. All those elements that help turn a house into a home.
The second reason I want to think about what the word "home" means is that so many people in these terrible economic times here in the United States, as well as in countries around the world, have either lost their homes or never ever have had a place to call their own home. Both Jim and I grew up in families that did not have the means to purchase a home. Most of my childhood, my parents rented a house or apartment and the same was true with Jim's family. However, both of us have agreed, it wasn't the physical building that made us feel "at home" or encouraged us to want to "come home."
Home for us was something more than wood and bricks. Interestingly, I Samuel 7: 17 gives us insight into what home is really all about, for we are told it was a place where there was family, friends and an altar of worship - that's what it took to bring Samuel "home."
If today you feel as though the promise of "home" has been ripped from you because of a financial catastrophe or if you feel that your family ties have been strained - why not build the altar and work to bring that joy of home into your life again - for home can be your place of worship with those whose love and safety wrap you in a blanket of acceptance and happiness.
A Prayer at Home
"Gentle God, we thank Thee for the love and friendship in our home. May this be a place of rest, laughter and forgiveness. Bless the working, the relaxing, and the loving and sharing that will happen here; and may the spirit of Christ rest in all who share here together."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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