1 Samuel 1
Today we honor moms – particularly those who trust in the Lord – and their God-given role in the family. We value the moms in our congregation and the many ways they serve the Lord. Moms truly matter.
Yesterday our ladies’ collected welcome kits for Safe Harbor, a ministry that provides a safe shelter, counseling and support to women who are victims of domestic violence. This morning we consider Hannah, a mother who suffered for a different reason.
I. Moms Who Suffer: Broken ( I Samuel 1:1-8)
To be human is to suffer the effects of sin’s curse on the planet, but there are sufferings especially painful to women and mothers. Some are called upon daily to forget self and serve others who often do not even seem to notice the cost.
All the difficulties of household duties and the demands of a marriage relationship can sometimes be made worse by unwise and unjust conditions.
Other circumstances that would cause moms to suffer include:
- A husband with a divided heart — polygamy.
- Barrenness — deep pain for a woman with a mother’s heart. Sometimes caused by delayed marriage, infertility, still births, miscarriage—the hunger for motherhood left starving, parenthood dying, sense of significance and calling in question.
The LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, which is hard to endure in and of itself, especially in a culture where having children is considered evidence of God’s blessing and not having them, evidence of His curse. Yet how often God sends this test to women of faith — Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah’s wife, Elizabeth — all suffered this stigma, but look what God did through their offspring – the promised seed; the father of the nation; the deliverer Joseph; the mighty judge Samson; the forerunner of Messiah.
Ever considered the pain and disgrace Mary suffered as the virgin mother of Jesus? “A sword will pierce your soul,” Simeon predicted.
God’s deliverance starts when we reach awareness of our total inability. The history of redemption goes from one miracle to another—all in the face of impossibilities and devastations.
Hannah’s fertile rival finds pleasure in cruelty. Home should be a joyful place of security, warmth, and care. Instead, cold and cutting cruelty. The sanctuary a refuge for worshipers of God, but her enemy used occasions of worship to drive the barbs deeper into her bleeding heart. Hannah could not even eat. Her tears were her food.
How often dissension, critical spirit, lack of kindness, ill-tempered behavior invade the sanctuary—as if God is blind and deaf, or dead—or as if He finds pleasure in pride, scorn, malice, and slander. Surely such religion is shear form and no heart. And no recognition of God’s character at all.
Carnal weapons prove most deadly and poisonous in the place where people expect to find evidence of God in the lives of others.
A husband that just doesn’t understand the pain of it all — yes, she loved her husband, but did there have to be a choice between him and having children? Why does the villainess of the story have all the children?
Theological significance: Broken world full of broken people. It is those who realize their brokenness—the poor (bankrupt) in spirit—to whom the kingdom of Christ belongs (Matthew 5).
Where do you hurt and why? You likely have found the very place God will prove His power, wisdom, and love.
II. Moms Who Pray: Seek God (1 Samuel 1:9-18)
Her desperation and deep pain drove her to pour out her heart in prayer. Our best prayers are not masterpieces for publication, but heart sobs that plead infinite mercy and impossible rescue.
When we are broken, struck down, unable to rise, in despair, gripped with gut-wrenching anguish, we cling to God alone. Our hopes have been reduced to One. Our security is stripped away to nothing but Him. “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
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.”
LORD of hosts—of armies—the righteous Judge with everything at His disposal to accomplish what He desires—“You can do anything!” When you’re in despair, such a God is the only kind of deity that will do.
Your servant — 3x (see also 16, 18) — humble submission in prayer and in her response to mistaken rebuke
Such praying is not the routine worship Eli was used to. He thought she was drunk. But what he was seeing was a woman pouring out her soul to God. Her first ray of hope was his apologetic remark, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.”
“We ought to be cautious how we censure the devotions of others, lest we call that hypocrisy, enthusiasm, or superstition, which is really the fruit of an honest zeal, and accepted of God.” – Matthew Henry
Theological significance: Realization of our brokenness causes us to hunger and thirst for what only God can do.
When do you pray and why? God does not answer every prayer with “yes.” We know so little what is best when all things are in view. And even when God’s answer is yes, He often waits till we have come to the point of desiring Him more than His gifts and His will more than our plans.
III. Moms Who Rear Children: See Their Part in Redemption History (1 Samuel 1:19-23)
Hannah named her son Samuel, “Heard/asked of God.” She never forgot why he came into existence at all; he was given to God from the start.
It was not uncommon for Jewish mother’s to nurse children till they were about three—then wean them from their mother’s milk. We do not know for sure how long Hannah took with Samuel We just know that Hannah’s time rearing Samuel was short.
She had him for the time when what you’re doing as a Mom demands much but seems to matter little because so much of it is so mundane and tiring — dirty diapers, runny noses, messy hands and faces, broken sleep, at first helpless, entirely dependent on you.
Milestone events: lift head, roll over, crawl, stand up, walk, talk. Rejoicing!
But the more ability the child develops, the more his sin nature displays itself. Terrible twos—starting about 18 months—confirms what you’ve been starting to see in small ways earlier on.
I’ll never forget the moment I knew it had arrived—at the dinner table, upon a small correction, it showed itself, like some rebel demon, full of stormy frowns, had taken possession of my sweet, happy son.
This is the only time Hannah had with Samuel. Is there any doubt how significant that 36 month time period was?
This boy would be worshiping the Lord while grown sons in the priesthood defied God most Holy, defiling worshipers, stealing from God’s offerings, indulging their sinful passions.
This child would hear from the Lord while the high priest slept and the nation starved for revelation from God.
He would preach God’s Word. He would lead a nation to repentance and revival. He would serve years as prophet and judge.
He was God’s appointed instrument to lead Israel into the period of monarchy, anointing the first two kings. The second would be a man after God’s own heart, the ancestral king of the ultimate Son, the Messiah, Christ Jesus.
Obviously, not every mom rears a prophet who turns out to be a pivotal leader in the history of the nation and of redemption history. But there is a connection nonetheless.
Every believing mom who pours her life into her little ones, teaching them the ways of God by precept and by example, is herself part of redemption history. Her husband may be an unbeliever, but she sanctifies the home. Her children may be very young, but they cannot help but benefit from her loving touch, her faithful labor, her prayerful spirit, her God-centered devotion. Later they may for a time refuse her counsel and forsake her godly ways, but the eternal treasures she shares with them are often rediscovered when God finally breaks through their walls of resistance and gives them life in their souls.
John Newton had a godly mom and an unsaved dad. His mom died when John was 7, but God used her teaching to convert him twenty years later when he was going through a time of personal upheaval and pain.
Pour yourself into your children early, during the tender years when they bend instead of break. Plant truth and love in their little souls. Make your passion to show them Jesus.
Each child master-designed by God for a purpose—a godly mom or dad do their best to help their son or daughter discover what it is.
You’ve been given a book with no title–read it! A CD with no cover–listen to it! An island with no owner–explore it! Resist the urge to label before you study. Attend carefully to the unique childhood of your child. What S.T.O.R.Y. do you read in your children? Uncommon are the parents who attempt to learn these given abilities--and blessed are their children
Read my name among the blessed. Crankcase Oil coursed my dad's veins. He repaired oil-field engines for a living and rebuilt car engines for fun. He worked in grease and bolts like sculptors work in clay; they were his media of choice. Dad loved machines.
But God gave him a mechanical moron, a son who couldn't differentiate between a differential and a brake disc. My dad tried to teach me. I tried to learn. Honestly, I did. But more than once I actually dozed off under the car on which we were working. Machines anesthetized me. But books fascinated me. I biked to the library a thousand times. What does a mechanic do with a son who loves books?
He gives him a library card. Buys him a few volumes for Christmas. Places a lamp by his bed so he can read at night. Pays tuition so his son can study college literature in high school. My dad did that. You know what he didn't do? Never did he say, "Why can't you be a mechanic like your dad and grandfather?" Maybe he understood my bent. Or maybe he didn't want me to die of hunger. But somehow he knew to "train up a child in the way he should go."
God doesn't give parents manuscripts to write, but code to decode. Study your kids while you can. The greatest gift you can give your children is not your riches, but revealing to them their own. (Lucado, Cure for the Common Life, 126-27)
Theological significance: Women have been key to redemption history. The very first gospel promise, Gen. 3:15, declares that the offspring of the woman will crush the serpent’s head. In response Adam called his wife Eve (life), because she was the mother of all living. Through a woman the Savior would come. The promise was fulfilled when Jesus Christ was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), Immanuel—“With us, God!
It is amazing that any human being, members of a sinful rebel race, get to take part in God’s redemptive plan. But that is exactly what God has chosen to do—to make us part of that history, each with a purpose to fulfill, the gospel to declare, God’s character to display—no matter how we make our living.
IV. Moms Who Worship: Glorify God (I Samuel 1:24-28)
And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child 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. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
He is but a child, but he worships. Where did he learn? From whom? Hannah — her name means grace, and she knew herself recipient of God’s amazing grace — so she worships not just from duty, but out of gratitude and joy and love.
Their fulfillment of what the Law of Moses prescribed was costly and meaningful: grain offering, drink offering, burnt offering. All we have comes from you, O Lord. Our lives are best used poured out to You, O Lord. All on the altar. Not without blood—no one can commune with you unless blood atonement has been made, innocent life for our guilty ones.
Saints Old Testament and New understand that they have no right to enter the presence of the all-holy God unless their sin is purged by blood. Animals slain pointed to Jesus Christ the mediator between God and man. He is our representative. His blood removes our guilt and reconciles us to God. No further sacrifice is needed.
What kind of worship (worth-ship) did Hannah ascribe to God? Her view of Him shaped her son’s.
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
2 “There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
Heart exulting in the LORD
Strength magnified in the LORD
Fear and hurt inflicted by enemies banished by rejoicing in God’s incredible deliverance.
Nobody’s like God — none so holy, none so mighty. Unmatched power, stability, reliability.
Hannah sees in her personal experience the ways of God throughout history. His grand redemption of His people becomes the theme of her song. The God of grace who rescued her did so not just for her, but for an entire nation, and beyond that for the world throughout generations yet to come.
Hannah’s legacy lives on because she is among those virtuous women who fear the Lord. They shall be praised. They are great because they understand how great God is.
Theological significance: Created purpose recovered—to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
How big is your God? How do you show it?