Summary: A Mother's Day sermon listing five reasons Hannah was a very special mother but those same reasons will make any of us better parents or Christians.
“A Very Special Mother”
Text: 1 Samuel 1:8-11
In recognition of this holiday, I want our lesson to focus on a very special mother in the Bible. You have to love a woman who wants a son more than anything else in the world. Hannah was such a woman and one of my favorites. She can teach us so much about life because she was “A Very Special Mother”. So I hope you’ll open your Bibles to the book of 1 Samuel and the first chapter as we look at five reasons Hannah was “A Very Special Mother”. Those same reasons can help each of us be better Christians as well as better mothers and fathers. As always, I ask you to search your Bibles daily to make sure I’m telling you the truth.
Most of us are very familiar with the story of Hannah but, just in case, I want us to go back and read the first seven verses of this chapter to get a better understanding of her situation: Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the LORD had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. Elkanah had two wives and this was the first problem. God never wanted men to have multiple wives. This is something ignorant man did on his own starting with Lamech in Genesis 4:19 and it always caused problems in the home. Secondly, like most married women, Hannah wanted children but she was barren. Finally, Elkanah’s other wife Penninah made Hannah’s life miserable by taunting her about her infertility. The first reason Hannah was a very special mother was that she was prayerful. She had some very real needs like all of us and she knew to turn to God in prayer. The inspired apostle Paul offers us the same advice in Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Most of us learned to pray from our mothers as they tucked us in bed at night. In 1922, John Vaughan wrote a gospel song as a tribute to his mother entitled “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again.” The second verse is one many of us can identify with:
“She used to pray that I on Jesus would rely
And always walk the shining gospel way;
So trusting still His love, I’ll seek that home above
Where I shall meet my mother some glad day.”
Let’s continue reading how Hannah prayed in verses 12-16: And it happened, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!”
But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” From this reading, we see that Hannah was not only prayerful, she was also pious. That’s a word that has taken on a negative connotation but its primary meaning is this: having or showing a dutiful spirit of reverence for God or an earnest wish to fulfill religious obligations. A good synonym is “godly” or “holy” – an apt description of what God wants all of us to be. There are a few passages that describe a pious or godly wife. One I really like is 1 Peter 3:1-4 – Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 confirm these characteristics are consistent with godliness. As we think back over the first 16 verses of this chapter, we can see that Hannah knew where her priorities lay. First of all, God came first – then her husband. As we shall see in a few minutes, Hannah didn’t have to go to Shiloh every year with her husband. And, I don’t know any woman today who would have put up with Penninah’s nonsense year after year. But Hannah did in order to worship the Lord and be with her husband. Secondly, she made a vow to God that, if He would answer her prayer for a male child, she would give him to the Lord. That may sound strange to us but how many of us parents really want to give our children up in service to the Lord? How many of us have prayed for our sons to become ministers? How many of us have prayed for our daughters to marry preachers? Maybe that’s one of the problems in the Lord’s church today. I’m not saying these are the only ways for us to serve the Lord but I’m afraid these are some of the last things folks want for their children. Priorities for us should all be the same – God first, then our spouses and finally our children. Maybe we can’t take our first son and drop him off at the church to be used in the Lord’s service but helping our children get to heaven should be every parent’s number one priority for their children. The fourth reason Hannah was a very special mother was because she was a promise keeper. I don’t mean she was a member of the men’s organization founded by Coach Bill McCartney. Rather, when she made a vow or promise to God, she kept it. The wise man Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 5:4, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it.” Vows to God are a serious matter including our marriage vows. How lightly these are taken by so many even in the church. Let’s pick up our reading where we left off and read verses 17-28. As we read them, notice how the previous three reasons – prayerful, pious and priorities – are reinforced. Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”