| Hannah And Samuel
|What You Sow Is What You Reap|
In the Bible we see many relationships between parents and children go down the wrong way. Adam and Eve with Cain, Lot with his family, Noah with his sons, Eli with his two sons, David with Absalom, the list goes on.
What was common among them? Disaster, yes but the cause was lack of spirituality in all their cases.
Though these men did great things for God, but when it came to their own families, they FAILED.
Today you maybe leading a church, a sector, a zone, a Bible Talk or maybe just your own family, but your spirituality or lack of it would either help you succeed or bring failure in your life.
What you sow is what you reap. Lets look at a great example in the O.T. Hannah with Samuel and pick up a few insights into their lives.
1 Samuel 1:1-18
1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.
2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD.
4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters.
5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb.
6 And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.
7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.
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?"
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple.
10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.
11 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."
12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth.
13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk
14 and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."
15 "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.
16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."
17 Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."
18 She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
1. Attitudes are more important than facts.
Vs. 5-8: Everything was going against Hannah, though her husband Elkanah loved her, she faced stiff competition from Penninah, Elkanah’s other wife.
Obviously from vs.6 this woman as unspiritual, mean and insensitive and Elkanah could do nothing about it.
Moreover she had children which elevated her position in the family.
Everytime she watched the kids play, eat or sleep it must have caused her grief, because the facts were, she couldn’t bear children.
All that Hannah could do was weep.
Have you felt like Hannah at times, Do you feel the whole world is against you, nothing is ever going right for you, where you cannot see light at the end of the tunnel.
When you look around everyone seems to be happy, your brother boasts about his new job, your friends talk about their new car, your friends talk about their awesome relationship with their parents, and everyone is changing! - Except you.
And sometimes you wonder why do bad things happen to good people?
The answer is that good people only become better people.
Even though the road ahead seems lonely, hopeless and unsure, there is good news! All that you’ve got to do is change your attitude-get spiritual about the problem.
Vs.10 -Even though Hannah was discouraged, she forced herself to pray.
Vs.12 -She kept on praying. She never gave up till she changed her attitude.
Vs.15 -She poured her heart out to the Lord.
Vs.18 –By the end of her Quiet Time she had overcome her grief.
She had left everything to the Lord and was once again, ready to take on the world.
What’s your attitude like when you face the unknown, difficulties and problem?
Do you skip your quiet times because you have a better reason?
Do you get distracted on account of your problem?
Are you spiritual enough to pray the problems away or do you become bitter, lose heart and may even give in to your thoughts about leaving God.
Challenge - Get vertical with God, change your attitude regardless of the facts and you’ll be a happier and better person.
2. Your gift that would glorify God.
1 Samuel 1:11
And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."
This verse shows the depth spirituality Hannah possessed.
All that she anted was a child and the best thing that she could offer God for his goodness was the same thing she had so desperately sought - a son.
Hannah was confident of her relationship with God, that
a) she calls herself the Lord’s servant,
b) asks specifically for a son,
c) approves of her son working for the Lord.
Hannah asked God unselfishly. So many times we use the gifts for our own glory.
Today the world is looking for talented people, who are sharp, educated, intelligent and sporty, sometimes we are blessed in our families, our finances, in our marriages, in college and even in the church.
But the question is how much of this goes to glorify God and how much do you keep to yourself?
Vs.11 - Hannah gave to God the thing she treasured most, her son.
Think about your life today. What’s most precious to you, children? family? job? relationships? career or education? would you give it up if need be for the Lord?
These are some of the questions that challenge us.
1 Samuel 1:21-28
21 When the man Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow,
22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, "After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always."
23 "Do what seems best to you," Elkanah her husband told her. "Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the LORD make good his word." So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh.
25 When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli,
26 and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD.
27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.
Vs. 21-28 - Hannah kept her promise; she was a good mother who taught him spiritual things. She taught him to fear God- that’s where it all starts.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
1 Sam 2 - Hannah’s prayer was filled with rejoicing, when the time came to give the boy to the Lord, she gave with all her heart and never grumbled - we’ve got to have the same attitude.
In Chap 3. - We see Samuel grows up to be a great prophet, but we never hear anything of Peninnah’s children.
That’s the key for all of us today, whether it’s one to one discipling, or studying the Bible with someone or discipling our children or even preaching.
Like in Psalms 111:10 we’ve got to teach people to fear God.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.