Summary: Hannah, one of the "greats" in the OT shows us how we can succeed in adversity
Hannah - an OT Great!
1 Samuel 1:1-28 and 2:11
Today is Mothering Sunday, the day when we thank God for giving us the one person, on this earth who generally has had the greatest impact on our lives.
Question: Can anyone tell me what mothers do?
Answer: Mothers are:
2 cooks and cleaners.
3 nurses and doctors,
4 psychologists and counsellors,
5 car drivers and coaches - and
6 even football supporters.
Story: Maddy used to drive Jonny and Chris when they were younger to football in Kandern about 20 miles away, when we were living in Basle, Switzerland.
She came so regularly, that at the end of the season, the Kandern football club presented her with a bottle of wine for being their best supporter!!
And mothers are a link to God, a child’s first impression of God’s love.
Someone once said “Mothers are the glue that holds the family together.”
But the one great motherly quality I haven’t mentioned comes from our Old Testament reading this morning – self sacrifice.
Mothers have a wonderful capacity for self-sacrifice – putting the good of their children ahead of their own good.
Today’s reading from the Old Testament reading is all about self-sacrifice.
It is the story of Hannah – the mother of Israel’s first major Prophet called Samuel.
1. The Problem
We see that even the great men and women of God have their problems.
Perhaps the reason they are great men and women of God is because they take their problems to the Lord – in prayer.
In those days, it was a disgrace for a woman to be barren – and not to have a child. It was seen as God’s curse on the woman.
2. The Jealousy
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Hannah was taunted by Penninah. Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Penninah who did have chidren.
It must have seemed so unfair to Hannah. Yet reading between the lines, I get the feeling that Elkanah loved Hannah the more.
3. Real Hurt
Hannah suffered a lot over the reproach.
Can you remember the nursey rhyme:
Stick and stones might break my bones
But words will never hurt you!
Don’t you believe a word of it! Words can hurt
And Hannah cried a lot over it.
4. The Solution
But Hannah took her problem to the Lord.
She prayed about it – and God heard her prayer.
Some of the great men and women of God have been just that because they WRESTLED in prayer over their concerns.
And there is a lovely couple of verses in the book of Revelation – where the apostle John is given a glimpse into the Throne Room of God and we read of Jesus taking the scroll ofGod’s book of destiny (as William Barclay calls it)
7He (Jesus) came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Rev 5:7-8)
It is not our deeds and good works but prayer that find their way into the Throne Room of God.
God values prayer incredibly highly – it is not our deeds that are before the Throne of God. It is our PRAYERS.
Hannah brought her problem to God – with her prayers – and God answered her .
And how he answered her !!
Her son, Samuel went on to be “The Prophet” in the Land. Politically and spiritually he became the leader of the nation for many years.
6. The self sacrifice
Hannah wanted the very best for her son.
However, the only way Samuel would be able to fulfil his godly calling was to go away from her.
He had to go away to boarding school with Eli, the High Priest in Shiloh – because in those days that was the only way - in her day - that he could fulfill his God given calling.
I am sure that it must have broken her heart - to know that she wasn’t going to have him much longer – though she would visit him regularly.
But she was prepared to give up what she wanted - for Samuel’s best. Because she loved him and loved God too.
She wanted Samuel to be a man who would serve God wholeheartedly.
But it cost her dearly too.
Story: I came across a true story that happened during the Holocaust of the Second World War.
Solomon Rosenberg, his wife and their 2 sons were arrested, together with his mother and father for the crime of being Jews. They were placed in a Nazi concentration camp.