Summary: Stewardship - Sort of; Everythiing we have in life, everything is from God. Some thoughts early in the sermon are taken from other guys, but I can’t remember who -.
The story is told of a ship that was sinking. When it was evident the ship was going down, the captain called out to his crew, “Does anyone here know how to pray?” One replied, “I do.” “Good,” the Captain replied. “You pray while the rest of us put on lifejackets – we’re one short.”
The last part of the book of judges tell us that Israel was in a state of apostasy. Everyone did what was right in their own opinion. The people were adrift, generally without a moral conscience. No real external definition of what was righteous. Leaders were perverse. Many people wicked. Israel was headed for certain disaster – unless God intervenes.
In comes Samuel, born at a momentous moment. His birth will give salvation to the people. Like the birth of Moses did.Like the birth of Saul did. Like the birth of David and like the birth of Jesus did.
Ever since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, Israel was a loose confederation. Each tribe had acted independently. Joining together for war, led by a divinely appointed judge: Samson, Gideon -Samuel also a judge, and a prophet.
Samuel’s Family. Elkanah – his father. A long line is given, which means he is from aristocracy. He appears to be wealthy and is from a line of Levitical priests, a Kohathite. These were the ones responsible for carrying the ark of the covenant. He is seen as faithful – makes frequent trips to the Tabernacle. The law of Moses mandated regular trips to the Tabernacle for worship. He gives sacrifice for himself and his family.
The tabernacle at Shiloh. No temple yet. The Tabernacle is what was used in their wanderings in the desert years ago. It was located at Shiloh during this time.
Peninnah – Elkanah’s second wife. He took second wife because first wife, Hannah could not bear children. Here a second wife is not directly commented on – neither good or bad. Yet, Jesus tells us what God intended in the beginning - one man, one woman. Children were very important in that society. They must carry on the family name. A wife’s most important role was to bear children (we may not agree with that – I don’t think God would either, but that’s how it was) In this society it was embarrassing to a wealthy man, and his wife, especially when there is another wife providing children. Paninnah – is probably not thrilled about being second and tries to build her ego whenever possible by pointing out the many children she has.
A question for us all - Have you ever known anyone named Paninnah?
Neither have I. That tells you something about her character.
Hannah. Clearly loved by her husband. Clearly in anguish. 8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
He doesn’t understand Hannah’s anguish does he? His answer to her tears would not go over well on Oprah. What is he to do? Society puts pressure on him to have a child. Remember Sarah and Abraham?
They tried to have a child through Hagar- THAT didn’t work out well.
Why is it that Hannah, who we can see is a good woman - suffers so much? Is God ignoring her? Is God mean? Is God not able to comprehend?
To anyone here who has had a difficult time, or an impossible time trying to conceive, knows some of what she is going through. She has an added intensity - To not have children is to be cursed by God in her society. It was viewed as a act from God so wherever she went – there was gossip. How painful. A woman in her place would have tried all sorts of folk cures. From fertility foods, to fertility figurines. But there is no mention of that. So most likely Hannah only turns to God.
Question: Was it wrong for Hannah to be upset? Do you blame her for being so despondent? She can’t even go shopping, or get a latté, even ice cream, or take in a movie. She’s stuck with Paninnah. Her life is barren for years.
Have you ever driven back and forth through a parking lot, no places, nothing. You see one – but it is a walkway not a parking place.
Finally you see one, your spouse yells – get it, before that car does. You pull in – exaltation …its just a parking place, but you life was barren of a parking place…the longer and more intense it is…the harder it is. I believe this about Hannah, which means grace, by the way, her years of bareness have convinced her that any children born to anyone, are a miracle from God.