Tag Archives: parents

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

02. Finding God’s way: Help for parents

Help for problems facing parents: The first step is do what God shows you, then he will show you more. Start now. Don’t wait until you understand it all, or can do better.

What is the first step?

The Problem

“He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek (Acts 16:1).

Timothy’s father couldn’t lead his son in the way he should go, because Timothy’s father wasn’t walking in the way he should go himself. The first step is that we line our lives up with the way God would have us to go.

In order to do this, it helps to look back at Adam and Eve. At first, Adam and Eve did everything according to the way God would have them to go. But enter the serpent and the apple. After that, they could never again measure up to God’s plan for them. Neither could their offspring, because their offspring would inherit the flawed nature and pass it on down through the ages to all mankind. Adam and Eve were remorseful, but they were also helpless.

The Promise

God gave the first glimmer of hope when he promised a Savior for Adam and Eve and all their offspring in a conversation with the serpent:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

–Genesis 3:15, 21

God still cared for Adam and Eve. In his compassion for them, God made coats of skins to cover their shame. But Adam and Eve had spoiled the perfect creation of God.

After that no one could walk totally in the way he should go, but down through the ages God continued to promise a Savior. God revealed more and more about himself and the Savior he would send. God led those who would believe his promise of a Savior in the way they should go. And those who believed were willing to follow God’s leadership.

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). What the Bible says of Abram was true of all those who believed God: God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham which means “father of many nations.” Abraham is the name he is usually known by today.

This promise was renewed over and over to the people God had chosen to spread the good news about the coming Savior–the Jewish race. Finally the Savior arrived. And when He arrived, God had something very special to reveal about the Savior: the Savior was God’s own Son! No one else could qualify.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The Rejection

But the Bible says His own people, the people who had been given the promise, did not receive the Savior:

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).

This is incredible! First God promised a Savior. Then He sent his own Son as the Savior. But the very people He had been preparing to receive the Savior did not even recognize Him.

The world today for the most part does not recognize the Savior either. Our instinct and our conscience tell us we are missing something, that we are not all we should be. We try to do better. We try to fix our spoiled nature by being religious, by giving to the poor, by participating in ceremonial rituals. But we continue to have this guilty feeling that somehow we are not complete. God sent the Savior to “fix” us, but we don’t even notice.

The Solution

Still God’s love can not be thwarted. God continues to offer everyone the opportunity to receive the Savior. And those who receive His Son come into God’s family and become God’s very own children. This is more than the prophets could ever imagine!

Today, God still leads those who believe in His Son, the Savior, just as he did before Christ came. And those who believe are willing to follow God’s leadership just as then.

What a great God, to give His own Son for us when we were disobedient to his plan. This thing is bigger than you and I can fathom! We cannot imagine what He has in store for us when we become his own children. The prophet Isaiah knew the prophecy he proclaimed was more than even he could understand:

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).

The Apostle Paul commented on Isaiah’s words:

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

–1 Corinthians 2:9-10,12,14,16

The Bible says it is only as we receive God’s Spirit that we can even begin to understand the magnificence of all of this. The Bible says the natural man–the spoiled human race–can never receive these things because they are foolishness to him.

The Time

The first step is to determine not to wait until we understand or until we can do better to get started. It is simply to receive the Savior right now by believing that he died on the cross to pay the price for our sin (going our own way instead of following God). Then we will be willing to follow as God leads us in the way we should go. Only then can we begin to understand. Only with his help can we “do better.”

Application

If you have not already done this, take time right now to tell God that you don’t want to live according to your way any more, but according to the way God would have you go. Tell him you believe in the Savior he has sent, and that you are ready to receive this Savior into your life.

The Scripture quoted above from 1 Corinthians describes the miracle that will happen for you then. You will receive the not only the Savior, but also the Spirit of God. God will begin to help you understand things the natural man–the spoiled human race–can never understand. Things that seemed foolish before will become very precious. Verse 16 says you will actually have the mind of Christ to guide you!

God has provided a way to give a new start to those who will receive the Savior. Talk to him now. Tell him you are ready to receive the Savior and to receive a new start. He wants to become your Savior, and He is waiting for your invitation!

We’ve gathered some materials to help you with this important step. If you have just had this conversation with God, or if you’d like more help, please visit our Seekers page.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is involved in getting this to work?
  2. What is the first step?

Thought to Remember

The first step is to start now. Don’t wait until you understand more, or can do better. God has shown you what to do now. When you do that, he will show you more.

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted