Summary: When we turn to God and turn ourselves over to Him, He will hear our prayers and grant us what He knows is best for us, in ways beyond all that we ask or think.
The Lessons of Hannah
Text: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:21
Happy Mother’s Day!
Special days celebrating mothers in the United States go back to the late 1800's. In 1872 Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) staged an unusual protest for peace in Boston, by celebrating a special day for mothers. She wanted to call attention to the need for peace by pointing out mothers who were left without their sons and husbands after the Franco-Prussian War.
In 1907 a Mother's Day observance was suggested by Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia. Ana hoped Mother's Day would increase respect and love and strengthen family bonds. She persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May. Ms. Jarvis and her supporters began began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day and by 1911 every state observed Mother's Day. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official proclamation of Mother's Day as a national holiday to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May. Part of the proclamation states that the U.S. flag is to be displayed on government buildings and at people's homes “as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”
The tradition of that first National Mother's Day observance brings us to this day, the second Sunday of May, and our lesson for today in which we will consider the story of Hannah, a woman who wanted very much to be a mother and what her story has to teach all who follow after God.
We will find this story in the first and second chapters of the book of 1 Samuel and where the story begins we find that Hannah is not yet a mother.
The Story of Hannah 1 Samuel 1:1-20
A. The family of Hannah
1. Elkanah had two wives: Peninnah who was fruitful and Hannah who was childless. v2
a. But Elkanah loved Hannah more than Peninnah. V5
b. Elkanah was a very religious man. Every year, he would take his family to Shiloh to worship and offer sacrifices to the Lord (1:3).
c. We should note that under Mosaic Law several patriarchs had multiple wives but Jesus made it clear that it was God's intent that marriage was to be between one man and one women.
1. Peninnah would repeatedly taunt Hannah for her barrenness until she cried and refused to eat.
a. In the mind of Hebrew women, to have children was a sign of God’s blessing and to not have children was a source of shame.
b. Hannah suffered this abuse for years. v7
1. Finally Hannah decided to take the matter to the Lord. v10
I. Lessons To Be Learned
A. Troubles come even to the Godly
1. But it is God who allows good things and bad things to come into our lives. God is in charge and as such we should echo Job’s faith in Job 2:10: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Ecclesiastes 7:14 puts it well: “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.”
2. Being Godly does not equate to a free pass in this world. The Godly will have difficulties in life, it is part and parcel in living in a fallen world.
c. Hannah wanted to have children but was barren.
d. Her own grief was compounded by Elkanah's decision to have a second wife, and then play favorites.
e. Having troubles does not mean we abandon living a Godly life. Hannah persisted and persevered even in the face of merciless in her ridicule and taunting.
A. When troubles come, turn to God.
1. Hannah's first step to relief from her burden was taken when she went to the temple.
a. Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;
b. 1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
1. Hannah prayed from her heart not even able to express her deep need in words. v13
a. Romans 8:26 the Spirit Himself intercedes for us
b. Although first mistaking her to be drunk, when the priest Eli knew the heart of Hannah, he blessed her and expressed his hope that her request would be granted. v17
c. Having given her burden over to God, her spirits are restored. V18
A. Trust in God and leave it in His hands
1. She knew she was praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the one who had delivered Israel from the clutches of Pharaoh, and had brought them to the Promised Land.