Summary: If you want to raise godly children in an ungodly age, just pray and then give your children to the Lord.
Jean Johnson’s 5-year-old grandson was sitting with his parents at a prayer meeting in Fremont, MI. His mother gave him paper and pencil, and he was busily printing words.
Then he poked his mother and whispered, “How do you spell ‘sex’?”
Shocked, she replied, “What did you say?”
The boy said, “How do you spell ‘sex,’ Mom? You know, ‘in-sects.’”
She looked over, and sure enough, on the bottom of his paper he had drawn a bug. (Jean Johnson, Fremont, MI, “Lite Fare,” Christian Reader)
Sometimes our children and grandchildren scare us, especially when we’re trying to raise them in a culture which is stealing away their innocence at a younger age every year. We live in an ungodly age, and it is getting harder and harder to raise children and grandchildren with godly values.
Yet I believe it is still very doable. You CAN raise godly children in an ungodly age, and an Old Testament mother shows us how. She raised a boy that God used to bring the nation of Israel out of one of the darkest periods of their history. It was the period of the judges when Israel time after time turned away from the God of their fathers. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes, and the nation was overrun by terrorists. Even so, in such desperate times, a mother was able to raise a boy that God used to revive a ruined nation.
He became Israel’s last judge and first prophet, growing up to be a godly man with a godly influence on a godless nation. Do you want to know how she did it and how you can do it today? Then if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to 1 Samuel 1, 1 Samuel 1, where we see Hannah and her son, Samuel.
1 Samuel 1:1-2 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah [which literally means “someone to be pitied”], and the name of the other, Peninnah [literally, “a jewel”]. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. (ESV)
Hannah was certainly someone to be pitied, just like her name implies. She came from an obscure little town 15 miles north of Jerusalem. It was just a wide spot in the road. The biggest thing about the town was its name – Ramathaim Zuphim. How in the world could anyone from such a town have any significant influence on an entire nation? On top of that, Hannah had no children, which was considered a curse in her day. And her husband had brought a real “jewel” of a woman into the home, just so he could have children with her.
Ladies, can you imagine your husband bringing a gorgeous, young woman into your home just so he could sleep with her? Even though it was the custom of the day, at the very least you would be unhappy if you didn’t kill him first. You would feel violated and victimized. This was a dysfunctional home, even though on the surface it seemed very religious.
1 Samuel 1:3-5 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. (ESV)
Do you see it? The LORD had closed her womb. This was no accident of nature; it was an act of God, who “causes all things to work together for good.” God had closed Hannah’s womb for his own good purposes. He was using the hammer and chisel of pain to fashion a woman who could raise a national hero, a son that would have a significant impact on her nation.
1 Samuel 1:6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. (ESV)
Her husband’s other wife provoked her so much that she would literally shake. In other words, Hannah trembled with rage under the provocation.
1 Samuel 1:7-8 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” (ESV)