Summary: Two qualities that Mothers need most.
Mother’s Day, May 9, 2004
A Mother’s Love
I Samuel 1:4-18; 26-28
Introduction: The family into which Samuel the prophet was born was a devout family. His father, Elkanah, went up to the tabernacle at Shiloh to offer sacrifices and to worship God year after year. Elkanah was called a country Levite--more of a lay person--who was not required to do this but he did make the trips up there to offer sacrifices. Hannah also went along but women were not required to go even if the men were. They were people who set a good example before their family and neighbors even though they did not have a perfect family. At this particular time in the land it was not the popular thing to serve God. There was a general neglect of religion in the nation. I Samuel 3:1 says "there was no open vision--meaning the Word of the Lord was rare." People had really not much interest in God--although there was the worship of other gods.
Elkanah had two wives. This caused some division in the family. Penninnah had children but Hannah didn’t and she gave Hannah a rough time about this. In those days it was a disgrace if women didn’t have children. This could be why that Elkanah had married a second wife in order to have children.
This is the setting in which this story took place. What does it say to us on Mother’s Day? There are two main things about Hannah and these are important today:
1. Consistent--Hannah was CONSISTENT in seeking the Lord for her need year after year. She prayed, but she didn’t get an answer right away. Does she give up and say, "Oh, well, I guess the Lord doesn’t want me to have any children?" Verse 7 says she "wept and did not eat" when she went up to the house of the Lord that year. Verse 10 says in "bitterness of soul she prayed unto the Lord and wept sore."
Verse 15 said she said, "I have poured out my soul before the Lord." And in this prayer she was very specific about what she wanted:
1. She prayed for a son
2. she made a vow that had two parts to it. She did not have to do this:
a. She would lend him back to the Lord for as long as he lived.
This was not for just a short apprenticeship.
b. The Nazarite Vow--His very childhood would be sacred--devoted to the service of God and set apart for this service by the way he dressed, what he ate, and how his hair was cut.
This prayer came from our heart. She poured out her prayer.
Her husband said, "if this is what you want to do, it is OK with me." She had his full support in this.
But the question is this? Would she be able to keep this vow? Did she realize the full impace of this vow?
How many times do we pray and say, "God if you will do this for me, then I will do...?" We bargain with God, but then when He answers we go on our merry way and forget all about our vow.
Hannah had shown a previous consistency in her life year after year. It wasn’t just an empty promise. She didn’t have things go perfect for her--Penninnah taunted her and even Eli at the temple thought she had been drinking. Her consistency was shown even in trying circumstances. Finally she was able to get Eli to undertand, and he said, "Go in peace and may the Lord grant you your request."
She had committed her case to the Lord, and she was no longer sad. She believed that God would either give her her request or if not, make her content.
When we are praying about something we need to pray earnestly and consistently as Hannah did and then commit the entire thing to God. Her day by day, year by year CONSISTENT lifestyle probably was a key factor in helping her to do this.
Is your lifestyle one of consistency before your family, your children, and your grandchildren? Do they know that they can count on you to be living the life when they need you to pray for them? Grandmothers when your grandchildren say, "I am having a tough time this week, Can you pray?" Do you have to say, "Well, I’m really not in touch with the Lord right now. I don’t know what to say. Maybe you could call a prayer group and see if they can pray for you."
No, we want to be living CONSISTENT lives like Hannah who had a relationship with God. Verse 10 says she "prayed TO the Lord." She knew what to say--mothers and grandmothers--know how to pray for your children and grandchildren and all other children you are coming in contact with. Extend your CONSISTENT Christian lifestyle out to other children as well--nieces and nephews, neighbor children, etc.