1 Samuel 1:1-2:11
Stephen Caswell © 2000
Countless times each day a mother does what no one else can do quite as well. She wipes away a tear, whispers a word of hope, eases a child's fear. She teaches, ministers, loves, and nurtures the next generation of citizens. And she challenges and cajoles her kids to do their best and be the best. But no editorials praise these accomplishments-where is the coverage our mothers rightfully deserve? - James C. Dobson
Ÿ Let your home be your parish, your little brood your congregation, your living room a sanctuary, and your knee a sacred altar. - Billy Graham (1918- )
Ÿ Motherhood is the greatest privilege of life. - May R. Coker
Ÿ No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you - life.
Ÿ No man is poor who has had a godly mother. - Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
Today is Mothers' Day and it would be wrong for me not to take the opportunity to speak about motherhood. Motherhood today is regarded in many quarters as nothing more than slavery. The media often presents motherhood as the role of ladies who accept second best for their life. The Bible nowhere teaches such things. The role of a mother in the home is very important. Millions of children today are crying out for their mothers love and attention. But their cries fall on deaf ears as their mothers work at furthering their career. The mother I would like to look at today is Hannah. The story we will look at this morning reveals 4 phases that Hannah went through in fulfilling her dreams.
I. Barren II. Broken III. Blessed IV. Blessing
1 Samuel 1:1-5 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb.
The first thing we learn about Hannah is that she was married to Elkanah. The Bible tells us that she had no children. In Biblical terms she was barren. Today that might not seem to be such a problem. But in Israel children were very important. The son would carry the family name to the next generation. Children received the family inheritance and the land they owned. It was very sad for wives to be barren. The fact that Elkanah had two wives probably relates to this. Hannah was his first wife, but because she was barren he married again. The second wife then had both sons and daughters. This made Hannah feel even worse, even though her husband loved her more than Penninah.
Ever since creation God's command was to be fruitful and multiply. In Deuteronomy 7:13-14 God promised to bless Israel if they obeyed His Law. One of the blessings was the fruit of the womb, children. To be barren was shameful and considered to be a curse from God. This was not always right. Nevertheless that's the way people thought. Verse 5 tells us that the Lord had indeed closed her womb. This was not because of Hannah's sin but to accomplish something wonderful through Hannah. The Lord had special plans for Hannah and her long awaited son.
Hannah wanted to have the joy of being a mother. Of looking after the home and raising children. Hannah recognized that motherhood was indeed a blessing from God. These longings are God given and not to be despised. God has ordained that women will be fulfilled in this role. The role of wife and mother was very important in Israel and it is just as important today. Titus 2:4-5 speaks on this: That the older women admonish the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
There are so many women today who can't have children. They long to know the joy of motherhood but can't achieve this. These ladies are very sad. They long to be fulfilled in the role that God has ordained for them, but can't be. Mothers do you realize how blessed you are to have children? Do you realize that they are a gift from God? Do you thank the Lord for your children? Are you devoting yourself to the task of bringing them up? How godly the next generation turns out rests largely with the parents? And mothers have a greater influence here than fathers? They can if they invest their lives into their children. Where are you seeking fulfillment, in the home or in the office? With your children or in possessions?
1 Samuel 1:6-11 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
To make things worse Elkanah's second wife provoked her continually. She probably told her that God was punishing her and that was why she didn't have any children. When they went up to the temple Peninnah provoked her severely and made her life more miserable. This went on every year and Hannah was so miserable that she wept and wouldn't eat. Unless you have been in that situation you won't understand this pain. Hannah was broken in spirit from the continual provocation of Peninnah and her empty life because she was barren. She longed for a family of her own. She longed for God's blessing of children.
As a result of this Hannah prayed pouring out her soul unto the Lord. She wept and shared her grief with the Lord and asked Him to look upon her affliction. Hannah then made a vow with the Lord. She promised that if God would give her a son, she would give him back to the Lord. She promised that he would be dedicated to God from birth as a Nazarite. That was a very selfless thing for Hannah to do. She didn't promise her second or third child but her first. He might be the only child she would ever have. But Hannah allowed God to use her grief to fulfill His own plans. Hannah believed that her child couldn't be in better hands that God's. That for him to be dedicated to God was the best thing for her son too. And she was right.
Have you ever felt broken? Have you wondered who you could turn to for help? God knows your hurts and He can help. Can I suggest that you pour out your heart unto Him. God wants us to bring our grief's unto him. Often it is not until that we are broken that we seek God. He longs to work in our lives. But waits for us to call. Will you bring your burdens to Him?
1 Samuel 1:17-23 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. Then they rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.” And Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the Lord establish His word.” So the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
After the misunderstanding with Eli the priest was sorted out, Hannah went away with his blessing. He asked God to fulfill her request. She had been encouraged and ate once more. She knew that God could help her and that He would answer her prayer. Having had her burden lifted, Hannah went and worshipped the Lord with Elkanah. Then they traveled back to their home in Ramah. God remembered Hannah and her prayer. It is not that God didn't know her situation all along, but now He acted upon her request. He opened her womb.
Hannah conceived and in due time had a son. She called his name Samuel which means a number of things. It means a request or to dedicate. The word ends with El which means of God. So Samuel was both requested from God and dedicated to God. God had blessed Hannah with this son and she knew that. The name declares her vow to God. She remembered what she had promised and was determined to follow through on it. Nevertheless children are one of God's greatest blessings. Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Hannah didn't go up to the temple for about three years. She waited until she had weaned him. This is a term that describes when a child is old enough to be separated from his mother. No doubt Hannah trained Samuel in the ways of the Lord. She told him that he was a gift from God and had been dedicated to the Lord's service. Hannah gave her love and time to train Samuel. True motherhood costs something. It is not cheap. Hannah's husband went up to offer the sacrifice and keep his vow that had been fulfilled. He gave full support to Hannah in all of this and asked for God to fulfill His word. He wanted Samuel to be a servant of the Lord too. After Hannah weaned him she took Samuel to the temple and left him there for life.
Years ago, a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny baby in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blinding blizzard. She never reached her destination and when the blizzard had subsided her body was found by searchers beneath a mound of snow. But they discovered that before her death, she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it about her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life for her child, proving the depths of her mother love. Years later that child, David Lloyd George, grown to manhood, became prime minister of Great Britain, and, without a doubt, one of England's greatest statesmen.
God hears the prayers of broken people. When we call out to Him with a heavy heart He answers our prayers. God was pleased with Hannah's vow and He gave her the son she requested. God also agreed that Samuel would serve Him all of his life. God takes vows very seriously. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed — Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Therefore we should be careful when we make a vow unto God. Have you ever made a promise to God? Have you kept it? God expects us to keep our word. Have you offered your children to the Lord? Are you following through on this? The best thing that we can do for our children is offer them to God for His service. Because His plans are the best for them.
1 Samuel 1:24-2:5,11 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. “Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshipped the Lord there.
And Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. “No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. “Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed.
“The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, And the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, And she who has many children has become feeble. Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.
Elkanah and Hannah took Samuel to the temple and worshipped the Lord. There she told Eli of her vow and how she had come to fulfill it. She presented Samuel to the Lord as she had promised. Then Hannah poured out her heart in praise to God. Here we see how Hannah rejoiced in God's gift to her. She had received God's blessing and was in turn blessing the Lord for His greatness and His goodness. She rejoiced in her salvation and God's sovereign power. She describes how God lifts up the hungry and the weak and brings down the proud and the strong. Hannah's song of praise to God reveals the deep joy in her own heart.
Her longing to be a mother and raise children had been fulfilled. God had turned her misery into joy. She was no longer barren but blessed. Samuel served in the Lord's house from childhood. He too was blessed by God's wonderful plan. Hannah also shared how the barren had given birth to seven and the woman with many children had become feeble. This God performed in subsequent years. 1 Samuel 2:18-21 But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the Lord.” Then they would go to their own home. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.
Taking Children to Heaven
The only thing that parents can take to heaven is their children. Billy Graham's daughter Gigi
God blesses those who put Him first. Hannah called out to God in grief and He heard her prayer. Hannah gave her firstborn son to God fulfilling her vow. She praised God for His goodness from a joyful heart. Then the Lord filled her home with five more children. Samuel grew up in the Lord's house as he served there. He too was greatly blessed and became a priest and prophet in Israel. He in turn became a blessing to the entire nation. Mothers will you devote your life to your children? Will you dedicate them to God's keeping and service? Will you seek your fulfilment in the role that God has ordained? Motherhood is truly an important task. O please don't allow the lies of this world to convince you otherwise.
Num 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’