Summary: The importance of family

1 Samuel 1-8: Family Matters

This morning, there is one simple question that I want to ask you, and it applies to each of us:

What are you going to do about your family?

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have family problems. And it is no different whether we live in the 21st century AD or BC. We have been going through the OT together, looking at God’s choosing to speak and lead a people for himself. We saw the Jews come to the land he had promised them, and then fail to possess it. They lived in comfort, attacking the Canaanites until the battles were to hard. Then they left the Canaanites alone, and their idolatry haunted the Jews for the next thousand years.

We saw when we come to the book of Judges, the people have settled down into cycles of sin. They obey God when a strong judge, a strong political/military/religious leader is present. But when the judge dies off, the people drift away from God. When the pressure is off, we sink back to the lows of following the path of least resistance. We saw last week the story of Ruth, and the reminder for us to consider how well we love. Regardless of our situation, we can choose to show love. This past week, how good of a job did you do at overcoming prejudice and biases, and showing unconditional love even towards the difficult people in your life? Take 10 seconds and rate yourself - how did you do this week at showing love? (Wait) You have 7 more days this week.

Today, we come to the book of 1 Samuel. And this morning we want to look at the other side of love: discipline. We are going to look at three examples from the first few chapters - each showing us the need for discipline in families: Hannah, Eli, and Samuel.

We want to look at the importance of discipline in building strong families.

And that is as important today as ever before.

The story of 1 Samuel takes place right at the end of the period of the judges. Remember the key phrase from Judges (21:25)- every man did that which was right in his own eyes - that characterized the thinking back then. But it also is very characteristic of our day today. We live in a day where parents believe they can do whatever they please. We have a society that was raised with Dr. Spock - don’t spank your kids; give them what they want; let them make up their own minds about things - don’t try to influence them with your views. And as a result, we have a society that is rushing headlong into hell!

What is wrong with our society!? We need to take a stand for truth in an age that teaches there is no truth. We need to be the salt and light that God calls us to be. So that brings me back to our one question for this morning:

What are you going to do about your family?

Let’s pray. Prayer for us to lead our families to take a stand for truth.

Look with me at 1 Samuel 1:1-8. We want to first look at the example of Hannah. Work thru text. There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.

Elkanah is from Ephraim, the tribe that settled about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. And while Elkanah is from Ephraim, he is really part of the tribe of Levi: he is a priest. 1 Chronicles 6:22-27 gives us his genealogy. He is a priest who lives up in the hills, ministering to the people there. It is interesting that the last chapter of Judges starts out with the story of a priest living in Ephraim, and how his concubine is attacked and raped all night long by the men of Benjamin. It wasn’t a good neighborhood for raising a family. Yet, here is a godly priest who seeks to honor God in the midst of a lawless society and a degenerate people. It goes on to tell us . . .

No matter how bad your surroundings, it is always your CHOICE whether you choose to be faithful to God or to give in and go along with the crowd. There is always a choice.

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

As we look at the story it appears that Hannah is his favorite wife. She is his focus of attention

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.

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