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A Dedicated Life to God

I Samuel 1:11-19

 

On Mother's Day, we honor mothers for all the things they do to make our lives better. This morning we will focus on the things that Hannah did that produced such a wonderful son.

Samuel was an unusual man in Israel's history. He was one of those people that played several roles. Samuel was a prophet that confronted Eli with his sinfulness (1 Sam. 3:15-18 ), a teacher that called the people to true repentance (1 Sam. 7:1-3 )and a priest that anointed Kings (1 Sam 9:16, 1 Sam 16:10-13.)

Hannah could be proud of her son Samuel. And Samuel had every right to be proud of Hannah; she was a great mother. A wise son honors his mother for what she's done for him.

Every time Paul Lo Duca starts a game as catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he scribbles his mother's initials in the dirt behind home plate. Like most children would be, Lo Duca is sentimental about his mother who passed away from cancer in 1996. But there is more to the ritual than that. Lo Duca is grateful for what his mom did to help him make it to the "show."

When he was a youngster, he took batting practice from his mother in their backyard. They didn't use a ball and a bat, instead, she threw pinto beans toward him and he would hit them with a broom stick. Hitting such a small object with such a narrow stick improved his hand-eye coordination and made him a better hitter.

"She did so much for me," Lo Duca said, "and she was such a big influence on my life." Lo Duca has an attitude a gratitude-which is one of the finest gifts a child can give a mother.

(Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

So why was Samuel so successful? Did it have anything to do with his mother?

1. Hannah prayed

1 Samuel 1:10-18 NLT Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. [11] And she made this vow: "O Lord Almighty, if you will look down 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." [12] As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. [13] Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. [14] "Must you come here drunk?" he demanded. "Throw away your wine!" [15] "Oh no, sir!" she replied, "I'm not drunk! But I am very sad, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. [16] Please don't think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow." [17] "In that case," Eli said, "cheer up! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him." [18] "Oh, thank you, sir!" she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.

Hannah wasn't saying her prayers or doing a religious duty, she was pouring out her heart or as King James puts it, her "soul" before the Lord. She knew prayer. 

History belongs to the intercessors! She walked away, knowing her problem was now history, and that God would do great things with her son.

Yes, Hannah knew how to pray, if you look closely you will see the reason.

2. Hannah overcame sorrow.

Hannah's life wasn't easy. She shared the affections of her husband with another woman, Peninnah who teased her unmercifully because Hannah couldn't have children.

1 Samuel 1:6-7 NLT But Peninnah made fun of Hannah because the Lord had closed her womb. [7] Year after year it was the same Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Hannah would finally be reduced to tears and would not even eat. 

In a day when the worth of a woman was measured by the number of sons she bore to her husband, Hannah felt worthless. To make it worse, her husband's other wife was prolific.

Peninnah teased and taunted Hannah until Hannah couldn't eat or function. She was an emotional "basket case." And like many women, she had a husband that didn't have a clue. Listen to his response to her grief:

1 Samuel 1:8 NLT "What's the matter, Hannah?" Elkanah would ask. "Why aren't you eating? Why be so sad just because you have no children? You have me isn't that better than having ten sons?"

She wasn't upset because what she had wasn't good enough. She was grieved because she didn't feel like she was fulfilling her destiny to be a mother.

Could a mother comfort her hurting child if she never knew grief herself? Don't the hardships of life prepare a woman for motherhood?

Perhaps you weren't homecoming queen or didn't graduate at the top of your class. Maybe you didn't have a prom date, didn't get the leading role in the play or wasn't the star on the basketball court.

Maybe your children aren't the cutest, brightest or most athletically inclined. The diamond on your finger may not be as large as the one on the person sitting next to you and you may not have the newest car in the parking lot.

Cancer may have disfigured your body and disappointment may have scarred your soul, but the sum of all these events have made you the caring, compassionate person that you are.

Maybe I've been too hard on her husband, his response may not have grown out of an insensitivity to his wife's pain. Perhaps he understood that the value of his wife was not determined by her fertility. No doubt he loved her.

3. Hannah loved and was loved.

Please look at 1 Samuel 1:4-5 NLT "On the day Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the sacrifice to Peninnah and each of her children. [5] But he gave Hannah a special portion because he loved her very much, even though the Lord had given her no children."

Elkanah made no bones about it he loved Hannah. I've never quite understood polygamy. Men, would you like two "honey-do lists?" Not me. Sibling rivalry brings enough conflict into the home without spousal rivalry.

In my opinion, it was the "special portion" that Hannah received that prompted Peninnah's teasing. Even though she had her husband's sons and daughters, she knew that Hannah had his love. The result was a cat fight of Biblical proportions.

Husbands, if you want your wife to be a great mother, then love her. Ephes. 5:25-26 NLT And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her [26] to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. 

It is not fancy makeup, expensive clothes or dazzling jewelry that makes your wife beautiful, it is your love. When you love her, as Christ commanded, she will radiate with the confidence, purity and holiness of a godly woman.

Prayer, sorrow, and love. Prayer begats holy confidence. Sorrow begats compassion, and love begats security. As a confident, compassionate, secure woman, Hannah gave her son to God.

Yep, I'm sure Hannah was proud of her son. He was quite a man. But she knew that Samuel wasn't really her son; he belonged to the Lord.

Listen to her words, 1 Samuel 1:27-28 NLT "I asked the Lord to give me this child, and he has given me my request. [28] Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life." And they worshiped the Lord there." 

Are you willing to trust God with your children? Have you given them to Him? Will you trust Him with more than your money, your soul or your future? Will you trust Him with your children? 

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