1 Samuel 1:1-11, 19-20
Moms who shape the future!
There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.
But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her.
Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said,
“O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
skip to v. 19 ...They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”
Ahhhh, the JOYs of Motherhood!! A woman, who shall remain anonymous, submitted an article to Parenting Magazine, entitled, “Things I’ve learned from my Children.” She listed them:
1. I learned that a King size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2,000 square ft house, 4 inches deep.
2. A 3 year-olds voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
3. If you hook a dog leash to a ceiling fan, the motor is NOT strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing batman underwear… but it IS strong enough, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all 4 walls of a 20x20 room.
4. I learned that you should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
5. Glass windows don’t stop baseballs hit by ceiling fans
6. When you hear the toilet flush and the words, “Uh oh,” you know it’s already too late.
7. Certain Legos WILL pass through the digestive tract of a 4 year old.
8. Playdoh isn’t microwave safe
9. No matter how much Jell-O you put into a swimming pool, you can’t walk on water.
10. Super Glue really IS forever
11. Garbage bags don’t make good parachutes
12. DVD players don’t like peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches.
13. Always look inside the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys don’t like ovens.
14. Our fire department has a 5 minute response time
15. Cats don’t like the spin cycle of a washing machine. It makes them dizzy.
16. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy!
LOL! Isn’t that Great?!?!
Children really do teach us some amazing things. And ONE of those things is JUST HOW IMPORTANT MOTHERS REALLY ARE!
As a mother, you face relentless pressure. Juggling your roles as Mom, Wife, employee, church member – not to mention the roles of teacher’s aide, nurse, chaperone, chauffeur, den mother, and cheerleader. You are asked to cook, clean, correct, care, and cuddle - ALL with a happy attitude. You really ARE a tireless wonder!
BUT Wonder Woman you are not. You try so hard to be all things for all people, but at times you are an emotional wreck. Be honest, there are moments when you feel your failures so deeply that you can hardly hold back the tears.
TODAY we celebrate you, mom. ‘Thank you!’ for your sacrifice.
Of ALL the duties resting on your already slumping shoulders, minding the spiritual store that is your child CANNOT be passed on to someone else. Our morally bankrupt society needs young men and women who refuse to bow to the pressure of the world… spiritual playmakers, people who stem the tide of darkness in an evil world.
It is imperative, mom, that you SHAPE that fledgling tree into a spiritual giant that will stand for God in ungodly times.
Is it possible to have such an effect on a child that they grow up to make a significant difference for God and for good?? Is it possible to raise up a mighty army of righteousness in these days of moral decline??
Yes – it IS. But to do it, you must follow the example of Hannah, in our text.
The Book of 1st Samuel begins AND ends with failure. The early events of the book took place in a time when “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” There was no spiritual leadership who would challenge the people to focus on God and His Word… the priesthood was corrupt and the High Priest was a feeble old man who couldn’t even lead his own family, much less a nation.
Eli was his name… and Eli had two sons who served WITH him in the priesthood, BOTH of which had made a mockery of God and all things holy. Because these fleshly men were in leadership, God allowed Israel’s enemies to oppress them.
Into this scene, the Holy Spirit brought a remarkable woman of faith named Hannah, who would shape a nation through her commitment to raise a young boy who would grow to be a mighty man for God. She was able, in spite of the prevailing indifference of the times, to raise a difference maker.
And as you consider YOUR role on this Mother’s Day, you will see through Hannah’s example how YOU TOO can raise a child or children to be difference makers. There are three things to notice:
1. First, we see her Circumstances. Everyone has them. When we read the Bible, we tend to HIT the high points and MISS many of the hardships God’s people faced every day. It isn’t hard to see why. After all, when a person’s life is summed up in 3 or 4 hundred words, there’s not much room for detail!
But to gain a proper perspective on our OWN situations and the calling God has placed upon us TODAY – it is imperative that we read between the lines of the Biblical narrative to consider the pain Hannah was facing.
Verse 2 says of her husband, “He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.” That one verse shows us all we need to know…
First, we are introduced to the MAN of her life. Hannah’s husband was Elkanah – a good and godly man who could trace his spiritual heritage all the way back to Moses and Aaron. He was a Levitical priest of the family of Kohath. His forbearers were entrusted with the important ministry of caring for the Tabernacle.
He was more than godly, according to verse 5, he was also LOVING. He cared for Hannah very much. But no matter HOW much he loved her, the MAN of her life could not protect her from the MALICE of her life. Though a good man, her husband was married to another woman too – Peninnah. The relationship between these two women was rocky at best. Every chance she got, she reminded Hannah of her inadequacies as a woman. She was a constant source of strife and envy in Hannah’s life.
Peninnah touched Hannah in the place that hurt the most – her barrenness.
So, verse 2 indicates the Melancholy of her life, when it says, “And Peninnah had children… but Hannah had no children.” Hannah’s rival took every opportunity to rub it in her face too. She knew that her husband loved Hannah best. So she would often remind Hannah of the one thing she couldn’t have ⇒ children.
Hannah’s circumstances… they remind us of:
- the harsh reality of living in a fallen world
- How things will never be ideal…
- How serving God is never easy… there will always be challenges we have to face and overcome.
- How living the Christian life in a hostile environment IS hard, but it is nonetheless what God has called you to do.
Sometimes our challenges are fairly easy to navigate. Other times they are harsh and lingering.
Either way, as a mother who knows the Lord, you cannot allow your circumstances to become excuses for why you can’t serve God. If you are waiting for life to be IDEAL before you serve the Lord – you will be waiting for a VERY - long - time.
2. But not only do we see her Circumstances, the passage goes on to show us her Character. Instead of growing bitter over her circumstances, she allowed them to drive her into the presence of the Lord.
As you read further into the chapter, you find Hannah pouring out her soul to the Lord. She was so engrossed in prayer that she was oblivious to her surroundings. Eli, the priest, watched her and assumed anyone so emotional, so engrossed in prayer, must be drunk. But before we throw rocks at Eli, we have to remember that the sinfulness of the times have a way of making ministers a bit SKEPTICAL.
Notice v. 14, “And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”
You learn a lot about people when you watch how they handle adversity.
- Hannah didn’t shut down.
- She didn’t even lash out at her enemy or blame God for her trouble.
- She took her circumstances to the Lord in prayer. She went to Shiloh and the house of God, and she cried out to the Lord in desperation. And when she finished, she was content that God had heard and would answer.
How often do WE allow our circumstances to drive us into the presence of God?
How often do we cry out to Him about our kids… wanting so much that even those yet unborn would grow up to serve God?
As she prayed, she told the Lord that SHOULD He answer her prayer, she would do everything in her power to raise her son to live for God. In v. 11 she promises to raise her son as a servant of God.
You can't beat that right there! You want your child to grow up staying out of trouble? You want your kid to be honorable and respectful and to become a good citizen??? Teach him the Fear of God!
What are YOUR hopes and dreams for your kids?? That they be HAPPY? That they be SUCCESSFUL?? There is no greater ambition as a parent, than to raise your child to serve the Lord. Making sure they have all the tools they need to pursue a career is wonderful. Providing them opportunities for sports and social interaction – is all well and good. But THE GREATEST thing you could EVER DO as a parent is to set your child on a path to know and love Jesus and do whatever is necessary as a parent to ensure that they stay on that path.
Raising a generation to serve the Lord doesn’t happen by chance – or accident - it requires:
- sacrificing yourself
Hannah took responsibility for the spiritual development of her yet-to-be-conceived son. And because of that, Samuel became GREAT!
3. But not only do we see her Circumstances and her Character, as we read on, we see her Commitment.
God heard her prayer and gave her a son. And from the very beginning, Hannah never forgot her promise to God. As soon as he was weaned, she gave him back to God. Notice vv, 26 through 28: She brings her son to Eli “And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord.”
God’s solution for the Apostasy of His people was a baby boy.
When God could not find a difference-maker among men, He raised up a godly, praying woman who was willing to serve the Lord… a woman willing to be part of God’s solution – willing to devote herself to the spiritual training of a boy who would grow up to a prophet and a priest!
When she did HER part, God did HIS. He honored her commitment and used her son to be a difference maker.
Make no mistake about it, her commitment required ALL she could give. She had to give up the very thing that was nearest and dearest her heart. And God took that gift and used it to bless a nation.
THAT’S how you raise a young person to make a difference for God. In spite of your circumstances, the problems and hardships of life, through character and commitment you can raise up a child who will become MIGHTY for God.
I wonder Mom… are you willing to do what Hannah did… and come to the Lord in prayer, seeking His favor and blessing as you give your children back to Him? Are you willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that your children have the right spiritual foundation that they can go ON and become great for God?
If it all depended upon YOU, would your children serve the Lord or themselves?
Your Role is VITAL … will you ask God to help you raise a “difference maker?” Our world needs them.