Summary: The conclusion to an earlier message on the true meaning of motherhood.
Text: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11, Title: Mother of Greatness, Date/Place: NRBC, 5/13/12, AM
Background to passage: Israel was at a critical time in it’s history. Loosely organized, politically fractured, morally corrupt, and spiritually bankrupt. But God is not done with them. Much like Mary, the mother of Jesus, Hannah was used of God, not only to bring Glory to His Name, but to accomplish His will at a national and international level. Although God is absolutely sovereign, accomplishing all that He pleases, God’s will is not a mechanical thing in which we simply float along without interaction with the divine to aid in bringing about His plans. Hannah and Elkanah, much like Mary and Joseph, were normal people who were used mightly by God to change the course of the world.
Main thought: On this Mother’s Day, let’s look at the example Hannah set for us all
Woman of Great Pain (v. 10, 16)
The author here begins the story of the birth of Samuel, for his greatness in Israel was crucial to the beginning of the monarchy, with implications even to the coming Messiah because of the dynasty that would begin through David whom Samuel would anoint. Few of us understand the shame associated in this culture with the inability to have children, especially male children. Not only were children gifts from God, signs of His favor, but they were a source of income for the family, a promise of security and stability for the family name, care when parents aged, and provision for the legacy and inheritance of the family’s property and status. Few of us also understand the pain of Hannah in not having children. And this was exacerbated by a mean-spirited rival wife, constant reminder in worship at Shiloh, a husband unable to comfort her, and a clergy who accusingly mistook her actions. The words give depth to the intensity of the pain. Words that were better translated as “bitterness,” accompanied by the feeling of being cursed of God. Same term used for Naomi as she spoke of the deaths of her husband and sons. She not only wept, but wailed aloud. She would not eat. She spoke of “anguish” and “grief.”
Illustration: I read a book on depression that described the feelings of those who struggle with it,
Let me encourage you, most, if not all, great men and women (and ordinary men and women) who have accomplished anything significant in life, had great instances of pain. Spurgeon. For a more complete dealing with the subject, get the messages I did on Wed night a few weeks back on “Why Bad Things Happen.” Suffice it to say for now that God is good, loving, kind, as well as sovereign, allowing suffering for His good and wise purposes. Don’t begrudge the pain. Don’t let bitterness overtake you. Fight despondency with Christ and joy in Him (as Hannah does later). God will use the pain. You have two options with pain, allow it to turn you to God, or let it push you away. Those of you suffering immensely today, run to Him and cling to the hem of His robe with great tanacity. Forsake bitterness, anger, and despair as much as relies on you. And abide in Christ even if the darkness doesn’t lift. Recommend, Piper-When the Darkness Will Not Lift, Tada-When God Weeps, and Welch-Depression A Stubborn Darkness.
Woman of Great Prayer (v. 11, 15)
Hannah did the later of the two choices—she let her pain push her to God. Year after year she continued in brokenness to plead her case before God. And it seemed that any down time she had while there, she spent “extra” time in prayer. It wasn’t simply lots of time or lots of words, it was a lots of heart. And you know that she didn’t just pray like this on her trips to Shiloh with her husband, but that she must have had a constant, ongoing, deep practice of prayer. She wasn’t too busy to prayer, nor embarrassed by the way it made her look. She was accused of being drunk by a preacher.
Illustration: “There are so many mountains in your life, so many obstacles in your life; so many things in your life that seek to derail you−to stop you. And they’re going to stay there because some of those things just don’t go away by counseling. They go away by falling on your face before God until He delivers you.” ~Paul Washer
This is a great example for moms, and for all of us of how to handle great adversity—prayer! Where are the godly women of the church who labor tirelessly in prayer to bring about change! And we do have some of those godly women here. But my fear is that men and women here are horribly weak in prayer. We long for revival, growth, personal deliverance, salvation of kindred, reclamation of the backslidden, but we are not willing to labor for it. Prayer meeting is gone, the prayer room is barely used, and we see very few obvious answers to prayer that demonstrate His power. But be reminded here of the power of prayer and the God of prayer to overcome the most desperate, most painful, more hopeless of situations! It is powerful! It does change things! If we want to see God do things in our lives, our church, our town, we must recommit passionate, persistent prayer. And moms, pray for your children is the most important thing that you can do. I don’t like fad books, but there is a reason that all the Power of a Praying Wife, Mother... books changed lives—they compelled people to pray! Let them see you pray, let them know that you are praying for them, pray with them regularly, pray for them specifically! Oh that the women of New River would be those that could call down the hand of God upon us! You can do it, you can join it, you can start a wave of prayer and bring about awesome things! Hang on, keep praying, you who are weary.