This week we are in 1 Samuel 1-7 as we look at the early life of Samuel and how the birth of Samuel is a foreshadowing of the birth of Christ.
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good morning welcome if you're new here among us my name is gene and i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor when you were little did your parents make you do chores do kids still do that today my daughter's like yes i do the little things what did you have to do like maybe taking out the trash that was no fun but maybe you had to make your bed did you have to make your bed first thing in the morning did your parents inspect it you see we give our children little responsibilities at first it's all about getting the little things right the basics that is why in basic training in the army they make you do that you're supposed to get all the little details right whether it be polishing your shoes the right way folding your clothes keeping your locker neat and making your bed starting off the day right i heard an army officer once say essentially the reasoning behind this is because if you can't even get those little things right you are never going to get the big things right it's all about the little things the basics today we are continuing in our series the rest of the story where we're arriving at the book of first samuel now a lot of people don't know because most of us come here from a protestant background but if you're from another background we're a non-denominational church so everybody's welcome you may not see first samuel in your bible it may say first kingdoms so first second samuel first king second kings were once a set one through four kingdoms but today we're going to call it first samuel just in case you're a little confused today we will see another judge actually a couple of different judges so we did ruth last week it brought us to david the bridge between the time of the judges and the time of more judges in 1st samuel everything we're doing is leading to king david here so we'll get there in a little bit in the meantime we have some things to talk about right here in the beginning of first samuel where it's kind of like this composite leader there are different kinds of leaders leading up to the time of the kings so you see prophets you see priests and then you see judges samuel is interesting he's all three and speaking of little things what's cool about samuel is that we get a lot of info about his early life his childhood that can be kind of rare in the bible most of the time they're focusing on what someone did in their adult life some important accomplishments but here you see that samuel does that very early on the story actually begins with his parents first samuel 1 1 there was a man named ilkana who lived in ramah in the region of zaf in the hill country of ephraim he was the son of jerohim son of elihu son of tohu son of zaf of ephraim elkanah had two wives hannah and penina benina had children but hannah did not it's not like panini or penine penina penina or whatever so here they'll also tell us that there are priests at the time hofne and phineas now elkanah he travels to shiloh once a year to worship and he brings his wives with him but we're told that there's a rivalry between his wives and this should be reminding us of sarah and hagar rachel and leah arguments over kids and in fact this is a problem hannah's very upset she cries often because she doesn't have kids but elkanah seems to dismiss it it's like why are you crying isn't having me better than having 10 sons so we don't know how many sons penina has but perhaps it's 10 sons we don't know moving on she's upset about it so upset that she can't enjoy any of this worship the sacrifices she doesn't even really want to eat she's crying a lot about it but when they go to worship hannah prays and she makes a vow for samuel 1 11. she made this vow o lord of heaven's armies if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son then i will give him back to you he will be yours for his entire lifetime and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the lord his hair will never be cut so this should remind you of something samson remember it's like a nazarite vowel some versions actually extend it a little and say you won't drink any wine which would be just like a nazarite vow dedicating him to the lord now hophni and phineas have a dad named eli and he's there he sees her praying and she looks like she's mumbling to herself and he thinks she's drunk you shouldn't be getting drunk here so he says woman throw away that wine no good and she says no no i'm not drunk i'm just praying oh then in that case may the god of israel grant your request proclaims a blessing over her so they go back to rama and sure enough she conceives a child the prayer is answered she names that son samuel i asked the lord for him to be a little confusing most commentaries say that samuel means god has heard but there are some differing opinions so the next year comes so they're worshiping yearly and now hannah doesn't go she says i'm going to wait for the boy to be weaned okay okay and it goes and then finally the child is wean first samuel 1 24 when the child samuel with weaned hannah took him to the tabernacle in shiloh they brought along a three-year-old bowl for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine after sacrificing the bowl they brought the boy to eli sir do you remember me hannah asked i am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the lord i asked the lord to give me this boy and he has granted my request now i am giving him to the lord and he will belong to the lord his whole life and they worshipped the lord there now we get to something quite significant here it's interesting it is a another example of a woman in the bible dictating scripture we've seen this before judges 5 deborah's song moses's sister miriam well here's another example it's kind of long but i want to read it to you because as i go through the rest of the story it will tie a lot of things together if you're paying attention she says this for samuel 2 1 my heart rejoices in the lord the lord has made me strong now i have an answer for my enemies i rejoice because you rescued me no one is holy like the lord there is no one besides you there is no rock like our god stop acting so proud and haughty don't speak with such arrogance for the lord is a god who knows what you have done he will judge your actions the bow of the mighty is now broken and those who stumbled are now strong those who were well fed are now starving and those who are starving are now full the childless woman now has seven children and the woman with many children wastes away the lord gives both death and life he brings some down to the grave but raises others up the lord makes some poor and others rich he brings some down and lifts others up he lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump he sets them among princes placing them in seats of honor for all the earth is the lord's and he has set the world in order he will protect his faithful ones but the wicked will disappear in darkness no one will succeed by strength alone those who fight against the lord will be shattered he thunders against them from heaven the lord judges throughout the earth he gives power to his king he increases the strength of his anointed one important to pay attention to these prayers and these psalms these songs of praise so this is all about those who are lowly and little being lifted up in the lord and indeed she was faithful with her little one for samuel 211 then el cana and by extension family returned home to rama without samuel they dedicated the boy there and the boy served the lord by assisting eli the priest so now the story transitions a little bit to eli's sons and we find out that they are wicked there's more parallels here if you remember nadab and by who aaron's sons a similar thing is going on but this is a repetitive thing they aren't struck down quite yet for doing what they're doing basically they are treating the lord's offerings the meat that is supposed to be sacrificed to the lord with contempt they're sending a servant in with it says a three-pronged sork and fork and he's just taking whatever meat he wants no matter what condition it's in the priests were supposed to burn off all the fat they're not supposed to eat that but the servant doesn't care he's just taking it and giving it to eli's sons but in contrast samuel remains quite faithful he's growing up in the lord but in all of the little things he's doing his chores so to speak and it says that every year hannah visits him when they go to do their sacrifices and their worship and hannah brings him a new coat every year as he outgrows the old ones probably also he wears a priestly garment of linen that is so that they don't sweat and defile themselves or the offerings and eli blesses her and she has five more children three sons two daughters now eli knows what his sons are doing so he warns them don't do that he adds we find out they're also seducing women not great guys he says if a man sins against a man well someone can mediate or intercede but if a man sins against the lord who can intercede he says so again they're taking these offerings they're holding them in contempt he tells them to stop but he really doesn't do anything about it it's just words well lord then sends a man of god a prophet to warn him boiling it down he says you give your sons more honor than you give me to prove that what i'm saying is true both of them will die on the same day your line will be cut off you will be destitute begging for food you won't be able to do the things that you're doing right now so we see some bad parenting in eli he still doesn't do anything he's not faithful with his little ones he's being instructive but he is not following through so first samuel 3 1 says meanwhile though another contrast the boy samuel served the lord by assisting eli now in those days messages from the lord were very rare and visions were quite uncommon one night eli who was almost blind by now had gone to bed the lamp of god had not yet gone out and samuel was sleeping in the tabernacle near the ark of the lord suddenly the lord called out samuel yes samuel replied what is it he got up and ran to eli here i am did you call me i didn't call you eli replied go back to bed so this cycle happens three times finally eli realizes oh that's the lord so he says next time that happens say speak your servant is listening and so he does and when we get to first samuel 3 11 it says then the lord said to samuel i am about to do a shocking thing in israel i'm going to carry out all my threats against eli and his family from beginning to end i have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever because his sons are blaspheming god and he hasn't disciplined them so i vowed that the sins of eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings so samuel says he goes back to bed he gets up in the morning but he's kind of afraid to tell eli all this stuff i wonder if he had to make his bed it does not say but eli demands to know and he says may the lord strike you dead if you don't tell me everything so samuel maybe he's fearful but he's faithful and he tells eli and eli's response is kind of strange a little bit like naomi's to ruth a little shorter than you'd expect it to be he just says it is the lord's will let him do what he thinks is best okay well first samuel 3 19 as samuel grew up the lord was with him and everything samuel said proved to be reliable and all israel from dan in the north to beersheba the well of the oath in the south knew that samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the lord the lord continued to appear at shiloh and gave messages to samuel there at the tabernacle and it says and samuel's words went out to all the people of israel but then for samuel 4 1 a lot of people will break it up here and we're going to see that it all connects that's why it's important to keep going at that time israel was at war with the philistines the israelite army was camped near ebenezer and the philistines were at affect the philistines attacked and defeated the arm of israel killing four thousand men after the battle was over the troops retreated to their camp and the elders of israel asked why did the lord allow us to be defeated by the philistines then they said let's bring the ark of the covenant of the lord from shiloh if we carried into battle with us it will save us from our enemies there are two things at play here but one often the people of israel the israelites would pay a corporate price for sins so you could see it that way they're paying a price for the sins of eli's sons but now they do something very bad which a lot of people don't pick up on they don't consult the lord in this move and what they're doing is kind of what some christians do today they're treating god like a genie in the bottle no matter what the lord's will is we're just going to rub the lamp and we'll get what we want and so that's what they're doing here they're bringing the ark of lord they've already lost but now they're like oh yeah no no no he'll get this done for us we'll just bring this thing out here so they're not thinking of things rightly it's the equivalent of trying to manipulate god so the israelites celebrate they see the ark coming to camp and they're shouting with joy so loudly that the philistines hear it in their camp unlike eli and his sons the philistines actually take it seriously they're like uh oh remember what their gods there's a little plural in there with their gods but meaning god they're talking about the lord did to the egyptians we don't want that to happen to us essentially so they're scared and it motivates them it has the opposite of the desired effect so much so that now 30 000 israelites die in the next round and the ark is captured by the philistines so now a benjamite man enters the store you may remember the tribe of benjamin and he's grieving in the show that he is they do this a lot in the bible i'll explain it because it can be confusing he tears his clothes not going to do that and then he throws dust on his head not going to do that either today i have allergies anyway so he's grieving so if you see that in the bible that's what it means they're showing their grief he manages to escape the battle he comes back he runs into eli eli wants to know what happened he delivers the news your two sons are dead and the ark of the lord has been captured when he hears this it says he falls backwards out of his chair breaks his neck and dies and adds a little something that some people don't like we've discussed it at bible study it says he's overweight it's been brought to my attention that the pc version of that should be husky i'm supposed to say he's husky but that's okay the lord put this in there the lord put this in there i didn't take it up with him go pray to god and deal with it yourself anyway he died or i can pastor you through it maybe i don't know we've talked about it enough uh he died he judged israel for 40 years then also something else happens phineas wife we don't get her name she's pregnant but she dies in childbirth this causes her grief she hears the news and everybody seems to be more concerned with the ark than anything else if you're reading it carefully that's sort of the surprising thing so your husband's died yeah i'm upset about that but then it talks more about being upset about the ark same thing with eli he doesn't fall out of the chair until he hears about the ark now something interesting they named the child ichabod that's a weird name now this is really funny down here in southwest florida maybe it's because i'm getting old i don't know but i talk to people about it especially younger people and they've never heard the story the legend of sleepy hollow is that what it's called in the original version yeah sleepy hollow i lived near that town in new york it's a hudson river valley town and so maybe that's why the story was more popular but it was a disney cartoon and if you remember the disney cartoon you remember ichabot where is the glory his name means and so it's kind of funny if you know the bible and you see this kind of gangly character with a giant adam's apple walking around he's kind of a goofy guy not a very glorious character but then didn't tim burton do a movie and it was brought to my attention gene that movie is old now and it didn't make me feel good so anyway ichabod where is the glory if we keep reading first samuel 5 1 after the philistines captured the ark of god they took it from the battleground to ebenezer to the town of ashdod they carried the ark of god into the temple of dagon false god and placed it beside an idol of dagon but when the citizens of ashdod went to see it the next morning degot had fallen face to the ground in front of the ark of the lord so they took dagon and put him in his place again but the next morning the same thing happened dagon had fallen face down before the ark of the lord again this time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway only the trunk of his body was left intent so to an early reader of this story it would be funny actually because dagon had the lower half his body was like a fish it's almost like you can imagine a mermaid and the upper body was like a man and now it'll say that the strong hand of the lord is against them and inflicted them with tumors and so this contrasts what happens to the false god has no hands now can't do that and so you'll see the steam of the heavy hand or the strong hand of the lord being against them they get struck with a plague of tumors and this should remind you of what happens to the egyptians what they're worried about happens not tenfold like it happened to the egyptians and we'll see again a little bit more fear and respect than eli and sons or even the egyptians do so they say what do we do with this thing and so they move it to another town they move it to gas same thing happens a lot of people die they're inflicted with all these tumors what do we do we'll move it again it gets to ekron or it's on its way there and they're like keep it we don't want that to happen but too late they get inflicted so finally what do we do first samuel 6 1 the ark of the lord remained in philistine territory seven months and all then the philistines called their in their priests and diviners and asked them what should we do about the ark of the lord tell us how to return it to its own country send the ark of god of israel back with a gift they were told send a guilt offering so the plague will stop then if you are healed you'll know that it was the hand of the lord that caused this plague what sort of guilt offering should we send well it's kind of strange but it's symbolic five gold tumors and five gold mice two cows they put it on a cart and they're gonna send it off and again it said don't be stubborn like the egyptians just do this so the tumors the five gold tumors are an offering representative of what they're stricken with the mice or rats some people will say remember that there are five kings five towns remember samson it's like that and so maybe it's representative of them they're rats but probably more likely that this was the delivery vehicle for the plague if you know anything about history you know bubonic plague this is how sometimes these things are spread so they send it back and sure enough it arrives in a place beth shemeth house of the sun the people are there harvesting wheat and they see it coming and at first they do everything right all's good they set up a stone there they offer sacrifices and the levites who are the only ones who are supposed to be handling the ark handle the ark all's good but then there are some people who look into the ark of the lord most versions say that 70 men are killed because of this but the greek version of the old testament gives us little more information it says it's the sons of jeconiah that do this so again problem with the disobedient kids so they don't want it anymore either and so they send notice to kyrie jeremy come and get it and so this is what it says first samuel 7 1. so the men of curious german came to get the ark of the lord they took it to the hillside home of abinadab and ordained a laser his son to be in charge of it the ark remained in kyrie's german for a long time 20 years in all during that time all israel mourned because it seemed the lord had abandoned them and indeed it stays there and we'll see a little later that david will eventually retrieve the ark now samuel says if you want to return to the lord with all your heart get rid of your idols like dagon get rid of all this stuff then he will rescue you from the philistines and now at midspa he judges israel and if you remember this is where the 400 troops gathered to decide what to do about benjamin he becomes israel's judge there now samuel again he's faithful in all the little things so he's offering sacrifices and as he is the philistines are approaching and it says remember hannah's prayer the lord thundered against them throwing them into a panic allowing the israelites to defeat them they set up a memorial stone and there's another name i said it a couple times i think this morning already ebenezer you know that name remember the christmas carol ebenezer scrooge and so the name is kind of ironic or foreshadowing stone of help yes he's kind of like a stone he's kind of cold but he eventually helps another name in a movie or show that comes from the bible come on you guys know that story right i didn't hear anyone say yes i was confused you're just soaking it in right first samuel 7 14. so it says the israelite villages near ekron and gas that the philistines had captured were restored to israel along with the rest of the territory that the philistines had taken and there was peace between israel and the amorites in those days samuel continued as israel's judge for the rest of his life each year he traveled around setting up his court first at bethel house of god then gilgal and mitzvah he judged the people of israel at each of these places then he would return to his home at ramah and he would hear cases there too and samuel built an altar to the lord adrama samuel was faithful with little and given much now i remarked earlier that it isn't common to get a whole lot about well a person's early life again it's usually their accomplishments the things that they do the bigger things not the little things that we're reading about that people want to read about but there's another person whose early life is also documented in the bible jesus in fact we see an account that is very similar to the account of samuel and hannah and jesus's mother mary remarkably similar in fact there's an added person in it so when you put the two together you get a lot of similarities if we begin in the first chapter of luke we will see that an angel appears to zechariah john the baptist dad about elizabeth and he says you're going to have a kid they don't believe it because they're old so he makes it so that he can't speak he's a mute eventually he has to write his name down his name is john name him john but if you know anything about john the baptist it's similar he's basically like a nazirite similar vows are taken then gabriel of the angel appears to marry a similar thing but mary's concern is a little bit different she's actually maybe too young i'm a virgin how can i conceive ah but you will by the power of the holy spirit you're gonna give birth to the son of god well let it be essentially she says according to the lord's will she's very very faithful well she goes and visits her cousin elizabeth who is now about six months pregnant and when she does she hears the sound of her voice she's filled with the holy spirit and the baby leaps in her womb john the baptist before they're even born recognizes the lord and being in his presence and she says you are blessed because you believed that the lord would do what he said mary responded with another prayer oh how my soul praises the lord how my spirit rejoices in god my savior for he took notice of his lowly servant girl and from now on all generations will call me blessed for the mighty one is holy and he has done great things for me he shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him his mighty arm has done tremendous things he has scattered the proud and haughty ones he has brought down the princes from their thrones and exalted the humble he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands he has helped his servant israel and remained remembered to be merciful for he made this promise to our ancestors to abraham and his children forever sounds similar hannah's prayer is like a foreshadowing of what would be fulfilled through mary so here's another woman dictating scripture to us a woman praising god for her child it's also about the little and the lowly being raised up by the lord just as hannah was faithful with her little one so too mary was faithful with her little one jesus and given much if we keep reading luke we get to chapter 19 i know that's a long way and we get to chapter 19 and we see another little one or man zacchaeus now i don't know what the pc word is but he's height challenged am i allowed to say short the bible says short take it up with god if you are not on me anyway he's a short guy and he wants to see jesus coming so he climbs a sycamore fig tree to get a peek at jesus jesus is coming he approaches him he says come down zacchaeus calls him by name today i'll be a guest in your home so jesus invites himself over for dinner he's not always polite anyway the people are criticizing he's going to eat or be with a sinner tax collectors he's the chief tax collector in the region he's rich and so they didn't like these tax collectors at all you're not supposed to charge your fellow israelites interest according to the law of moses so they don't have a good reputation these people but zacchaeus says jesus i'll give away half of everything that i own and if i've cheated anyone i'll give them back four times as much jesus says salvation has come to your household this day but we need to keep reading because jesus is concerned that people are going to think the kingdom of heaven would appear immediately it says in the greek immediately now what's going on there well jesus came the first time to save us right as a sacrifice to cleanse us of our sins but he's coming back in full again to judge a lot of people don't know that us even christians and he tells this parable he says a nobleman he's pointing to himself a noble man is going to go off to become made king to another place but he has 10 servants it's known as the parable of the 10 minas sometimes easy to read version i'll say pounds of gold 10 pounds of silver sorry and so he's going to go off to this other land to be made king and there's a whole bunch of people there's an entourage that don't want him to become king these are the israelites he's going to put his servants in charge of this 10 pounds of gold or 10 minas to see what they do well he comes back he's crowned king and he comes back what did you do servants represents us the first one he does well i invested it made 10 times as much so jesus he says this luke 19 17 well done the king exclaimed you are a good servant some virgins say slave you have been faithful with the little i have entrusted you so you'll be governor of ten cities as you reward second servant how would you do ah i invested it five times as much good you'll be in charge now of five cities third servant we're not going to get to all 10. he said sir i know that you're a difficult man to deal with you harvest what you don't plant says well if you knew i was like this why didn't you at least put it in the bank you'd make some interest he hid it it says some under cloth version say or buried it says you wicked servant then he says this luke 19 24 then turning to the other standing nearby the king ordered take the money from this servant and give it to the one who has 10 pounds the master they said he already has 10 pounds yes the king replied and to those who use well what they are given even more will be given but from those who do nothing even what little they have will be taken away we often overlook the simple tasks looking for what we want to do and overlook god appointments right in front of us or we steward the little things that we have poorly like this one pound of silver we aren't always faithful with the little things sometimes we overlook them looking for bigger things we overlook these little and very important things we want all the big things but are we faithful with the little that we've been given and here's the question if we aren't faithful with the little we've been given why should god entrust us with much if we're not getting the little things right why should we be entrusted with the bigger things are we faithful and little like hannah samuel and mary are we like eli hoffny and phineas we need to be faithful with little before expecting much we need to get the basics right and you see it begins with our prayer life it begins there we need to do what we already know we should be doing the basics if we aren't doing that the right way why should god trust us with anything else and you see i've learned something prayer is more about listening than it is about talking we talk to god a lot but do we listen we should be listening because he says a lot you'd be surprised like samuel we need to listen and be faithful with what we're told to do we need to be in the word not the world you see a lot of people don't think about it like this they don't realize that you have god's instructions right in front of you you have the instruction manual so you need to start there first we can develop a lot of opinions can't we i hear a lot of opinions all the time i started thinking about the people that have opinions and we're talking about it over the weekend and i'm like how do i explain to people when they give me all their opinions in a nice way that they're not in the word enough to give me their opinion how do i say that i think i just did but i think a nicer way would be something like this so what's your favorite book well the bible right they're gonna tell the pastor that lie anyway you know that's my favorite book oh really wow you know like harry potter or something i thought you'd say and i bet in that book you could tell me everything that happens right because you read the book and you saw the movie and you talk about it with your friends and you have the action figures the cloak you go to universal whatever it is you know everything about that that's your favorite book but the bible oh really then why don't you do this for me if that's your favorite book simple really simple we don't need verse we don't need a chapter just name all of the books of the bible that's all just listen that should be really really really easy in your favorite book can you do that no then don't tell me what it says how about that simple but it's right there in front of us with so many people oh lord i want this i need this make this happen do this do that constantly talking at him but are we doing any listening i don't know but i find that it brings me a lot of peace when i really submit i just get in the word and i listen to god and not the world it brings me peace it brings me the fruit of the spirit and that's the key to being filled with the holy spirit the lord's hand will fight for us we don't have to do much but listen and then be faithful with what little we have that submission is key to being filled with the holy spirit and that is the key to everything else in our lives so questions to ask yourself have you really died to your flesh like that song we sing you see because the flesh and the spirit we're told in god's word are always opposed to one another fighting one another because they're opposites are we filled with the holy spirit how do we judge that by the fruit we bear and what's the fruit of the spirit love joy peace patience gentleness kindness oh when we forget self-control it's the fruit of the spirit that's how we can tell if someone's in the word or the fruits of the flesh and that's how we can tell if someone's in the world that's how we know so we have to ask ourselves are we filled with that are we reflecting that are we giving people that type of fruit are we bringing love and joy to every situation it doesn't say like sometimes you just get to ignore holy spirit and do whatever you want it's not in there trust me no are we bringing joy are we peacemakers are we bringing peace to every situation are we bringing anger and anxiety because those are the fruits of the flesh rotten fruit so here let's see three this is why we value the word of god if it's your first time here today you might have been thinking at a certain point man that's a lot of scripture yeah because i'd rather hear god's words than my opinion how about that so we value that here and i just want to leave you with some encouragement there's a lot today we did seven chapters of samuel and we've talked about it at bible study so i want to invite you the bible wasn't meant to be read verse by verse the verse and chapter numbers were put in about 1200 years later it was meant to be understood the way you watch a harry potter movie the whole thing so you don't get it out of context i made this encouragement a bible study on wednesday you can post the verse of the day but let's apply a little rule before you do read the whole book so the next time you want to post anything i was talking about philippians just read all of philippians before you post that verse out of context 99 of the time but be in the word and i want to encourage you come to bible study it's where we go a little further we dig deeper both the word and how it applies to us make that a priority make god's word important to you take the time to listen we try to make it easy you're going to be told today how to download an app and i put all the bible study questions in that app so you can review them go to lunch after church and talk about it with your friends the word of god says we should do that we should be talking about it as we walk along with our children so what's better for those of us who have little ones what should we talk about what should we bring into the house what do you want them to hear do you want to pollute them with the world or should we be talking with our little ones about the word of god i think we know the answer we need to be faithful with the basics so we can bear much fruit let me pray for you lord i thank you for this church everyone who came here today to hear your words to be united together bound together in the holy spirit continue to be with us throughout this service as we worship you more and stay with us as we leave the building because it's just a building the church is your body the body of christ and let us i pray represent you with good fruit the fruit of the holy spirit this week to bring more people into your kingdom the eternal kingdom that has no end i asked this in jesus name amen you