Tag Archives: 1 samuel

05. The God of Circumstances: Left behind, a mother’s faith

Her son left behind in a far-away land, Samuel’s mother trusted God. Hannah rejoiced in God’s faithfulness with a prayer of praise in sorrow and dark circumstances.

“My heart rejoices in the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:1).

Hannah’s Prayer of Praise

After Hannah left her son at Shiloh, she said, “My heart rejoices in the Lord.” Read her prayer of praise here:

Then Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

“There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

“Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

“The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.

Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry hunger no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

“The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.

The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.

“For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
upon them he has set the world.

He will guard the feet of his saints,
but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

“It is not by strength that one prevails;

those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

–1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah’s Peace in Parting

After Hannah left her son at Shiloh, she said, “My heart rejoices in the Lord.”

How can a mother rejoice when her son is being left behind, far away from her? How can a mother in our day rejoice when her son has chosen a wrong path and she must send him off for rehabilitation with people she has never met to a place she has never seen? How can a mother experience great joy and peace on what would seem to be one of the darkest days of her life?

This is peace that passes understanding. This is unexplainable.

But when a mother knows that she has steadfastly adhered to God’s directions in raising her son; when a mother knows she has planted God’s Word in her son’s heart; when a mother knows she is following God’s leadership now in the placement of her son — In short, when a mother knows God is leading and she is obeying, she also knows that God is honor-bound to keep his word to her.

The fulfillment of the promise now rests on the Lord. What relief! What peace! What anticipation! What joy!

Hannah was able to express a beautiful prayer of joy unto the Lord, because the goal of her life was that she and her child would live for the Lord. Samuel was the child Hannah had longed for, the child she prayed for, the child God gave in answer to her prayers. Next to her husband, Samuel was the fulfillment of her heart’s greatest desire, save one.

Hannah’s Paramount Passion

Save one — Hannah’s #1 supreme desire was to serve God. Samuel was not #1 in her life. Neither was her husband. The #1 position in her life was reserved for her God. We can only produce children that will honor the Lord as we put God in his rightful position in our own lives.

Hannah’s Pleasure in God’s Provision

In the blockquote above, Hannah proclaimed that “It is not by strength that one prevails.” Hannah uses several other paradoxical statements in these verses to proclaim that what we see is not always what we get.

She may have been thinking back to the mocking she had experienced from Peninnah when Peninnah had children and Hannah had none (See Session 4). Hannah probably did not understand the fullness and prophecy of all God said through her in these verses.

But one thing is certain: God is always working behind the scenes in our children’s behalf to accomplish the fruition of the Godly training we have planted in their lives. We may not always see the fulfillment of God’s work in their lives with our own eyes, but we can trust God that the strength of wickedness will not prevail against his completion of what he begins in them through us!

“But,” you may say, “Samuel was at the house of God. Her child was in a Godly environment, so it was easy for her to trust.”

Ah, but read this:

Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest.

Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD

1 Samuel 2:11-12.

Samuel was thrust into an environment, “young as he was,” with older role models who “had no regard for the Lord.” Yet, in spite of this, Samuel grew to be a man that God could use to minister in his own day, as well as to record part of the Word of God that still speaks to men and women today!

Application

We must allow God to control the circumstances of our children’s lives. We must trust him when we don’t understand the circumstances. We must trust him even when the circumstances seem to be a hindrance to their developing into men and women of God.

We cannot blame environment, role models, or circumstances. We have the same God today that Hannah had. Let us share him with our children then trust them to him!

Thought to Remember

We must trust God when we don’t understand the circumstances. We must trust him even when the circumstances seem to be a hindrance to our children’s developing into men and women of God.

Questions for Discussion

  1. How can we rejoice in the hard times?
  2. What if God seems to allow the wrong circumstances or the wrong role models in our children’s lives?

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

04. The time God gives: Redeem and release

Hannah redeemed the time with her child then released Samuel to the Lord. She trusted God to go where she could not, and to manage the outcome he desired for her son’s life.

“I give him to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:28).

Hannah Leads

Samuel’s father was a Jew from the tribe of Ephraim. He was a faithful and devout follower of the Lord. However, his wife Hannah was the one who led in the dedication an giving of their son, still a small lad, to serve in the house of the Lord at Shiloh. Read their story here:

[Elkanah] had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.”

“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast

Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”

When the man Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow, Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.”

“Do what seems best to you,” Elkanah her husband told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the LORD make good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

–1 Samuel 1:2-28

Hannah did not go against her husband. He gave her his blessing in whatever seemed best to her. Hannah’s husband joined with her in the offering and giving of their son. But Hannah was still the leader in this.

Many times, even in “Christian” homes, mothers have to be the ones to lead in dedication of their children to the Lord. Sometime husbands join, sometimes they don’t.

The Bible never teaches us that we should oppose our husbands in doing what we feel is best for our children Spiritually. But if our husbands do not accept their role as Spiritual leaders, we should provide as much Spiritual leadership for our children as our husbands will permit.

Samuel Learns

“She took the boy with her, young as he was.”

Young as he was, Hannah had already managed to instill into Samuel a love for God and a desire to honor God. No doubt she had taught him he was a promise from God. No doubt she had taught him he was a gift back to God. Young as he was, she taught him he was being raised for the Lord!

Hannah Releases

“I give him to the LORD.” What a lot Hannah said with those words. She gave him to the Lord who first gave Samuel to her. When she said “I give him to the LORD,” she was saying: “I trust God to do the right thing in his life. I trust God to take over his training where I can not go. I accept whatever outcome God brings forth with my son.”

“For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” Again what faith! There was not a hint of fear that Samuel might rebel and refuse to follow the Lord. Hannah had started him out for God. Hannah had trusted God to do what she could not do. Hannah would continue to pray that her Son would live for God. And God would bring it to pass!

Samuel Worships

And he worshipped the Lord there. The boy, “young as he was,” worshipped the Lord. He was being taken from his mother, given to a strange environment where he had never been (see v. 22), yet he worshipped the Lord.

No wonder Hannah could rest assured for her Son’s future. She had taught him to love the Lord his God above everything else and to trust God no matter what. “Young as he was,” he understood enough to worship God even in the face of being taken from his mother and his home.

Application

We may not have a lot of time with our children. Hannah had only the very earliest years of her son’s life. Some parents have only every other weekend or less. Some have their children only a few years until death calls the parent home. Some have them every day, but the influence of another parent in the home threatens to train their children the wrong way.

But if we use the time God does allow us to train our children for him, we, like Hannah, can trust that God will take over where we can not go to see that our children fulfill his promise!

“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Thought to Remember

When Hannah said “I give him to the LORD,” she was saying: “I trust God to do the right thing in his life. I trust God to take over his training where I can not go. I accept whatever outcome God brings forth with my son.”

Questions for Discussion

  1. Which parent should lead in the dedication and raising of their children for the Lord?
  2. At what age are our children old enough for us to begin training them in the way they should go?
  3. How much time does it take to raise our children for God?

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted