Summary: Using What God Has Given A man from out east had always dreamed of owning a cattle ranch and had finally saved enough money to buy his dream spread in Wyoming. His best friend flew out to visit and asked, “So, what’s the name of your ranch?” His buddy
Hannah: A Model for Motherhood
In a recent Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, Calvin is standing by his mother’s bed when he says, “Hey, Mom! Wake up. I made you a Mother’s Day card.” His mother was very pleased and started to read it out loud.
“I was going to buy a card with hearts of pink and red.
But then I thought I’d rather spend the money instead.
It’s awfully hard to buy things when one’s allowance is so small.
So I guess you’re plenty lucky I got you anything at all.
Happy Mother’s Day. There, I’ve said it. Now I’m done.
So how about getting out of bed and fixing breakfast for your son.”
It’s not easy to be a mom. A mother was talking to an old college friend and said, “I remember before I was married that I had three theories about raising children. Now I have three children and no theories.” Almost 90 years ago, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. He established the day as a time for “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” It’s certainly true that no nation is ever greater than its mothers, for they are the makers of the next generation.
While we certainly want to magnify motherhood today, I recognize that this is also a very tough day for some of you. In this week’s issue of Newsweek, Barbara Bush has said that she’s not thrilled with Mother’s Day, referring to it as a “big rip-off.” Maybe you feel the same way for different reasons.
This morning we’re beginning a new series called, “Keeping the Story Alive.” We’re going to study the lifestyles of six of the not-so-famous characters of the Old Testament. These stories of three women and three men can stay alive in our own lives as we follow their example.
Hannah: A Model for Motherhood
Gideon: Learning How to Trust
Ruth: A Loyal Love Story
Samson: Dealing With Fatal Flaws
Esther: Maximizing Ministry Potential
Job: A Father With Staying Power
Before we jump into Hannah’s story this morning, turn to the very last verse of the Book of Judges. In our English Bibles, the Book of Ruth comes after Judges, but in the Hebrew Bible, 1 Samuel follows immediately after Judges. The situation is bleak. The nation of Israel is torn apart by a lack of leadership and a pervasive perversity. According to Judges 21:25, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”
The nation of Israel was often oppressed by the surrounding nations. God would appoint a judge to lead His people, but their freedom generally lasted only as long as the judge was alive. On top of that, many of the judges, like Samson, had some fatal flaws. Their spiritual decay was linked to the absence of a king. When we come to 1 Samuel, we’re introduced to Hannah, who is the mother of the prophet who will designate Israel’s chosen king.
As we look at the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, we’ll see 5 Defining Traits of a Woman of Faith. The first one may surprise you.
1. Women of faith exhibit real problems (1:1-8). It’s easy to think that the heroes in the Bible were somehow different than we are. We might think that it’s tough to relate to them because their lives were so perfect and their culture was so different than ours. Actually, the Bible is filled with real people with real problems, who face them with real faith.
In 1 Samuel 1, we’re introduced to a man named Elkanah. Verse 2 tells us that “He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Penninah. Penninah had children, but Hannah had none.” The wife’s chief role in those days was to provide children. A barren womb was considered a curse and Hannah would have been looked down upon. She was spiritually disturbed, socially disgraced, and emotionally depressed. She joins a long line of other women of faith who battled barrenness: Sarah (Abraham’s wife), Rebekah (Isaac’s wife), Rachel (Jacob’s wife), Ruth (Boaz’s wife), and Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother). In Scripture most of the childless women are righteous women, matriarchs of the faith, and many of those who easily conceived children were often wicked women out of the will of God.
At this point in her life, Hannah would have thought Mother’s Day was just a big rip-off. Some of you probably didn’t want to come to church on Mother’s Day because your mother is no longer alive and you really miss her. Others of you don’t care much for your mom and you’re a bit turned off by all the syrupy sentiments in Hallmark cards. Some of you may have a mother who is very sick right now and you wonder how much longer she’s going to be with you. Maybe you’re a single dad and hurt for your kids as they struggle to find out why their mother has hurt them so much. A handful of you have experienced the devastating loss of a child’s death. There are probably some mothers here this morning that wish they didn’t have kids and I know there are women here who would give anything just to have a child.