Read I Samuel 1 in preparation for the message. The message was brought by Eddie Foster.
Hannah is a prime example of motherhood. She personifies it in the Old Testament. I want to share some of her examples. Her son Samuel was the first of the prophets after Moses and the last of the judges. The people of Israel had lapsed from the high standards of morality and spirituality they should have been following. Does that not sound like the world today. Elkanah had two wives. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. Verses 5-6 show us that Peninnah was jealous of Hannah. But unto Hannah he [Elkanah] gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb. And her adversary [Peninnah] also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. Hannah was the favorite wife and Peninnah provoked her with jealousy. It seems that Hannah took this better than I would have.
One one of the trips to Shiloh to the tabernacle Elkanah noticed that Hannah wouldn’t eat. Verse 8 says Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? So Hannah rose up and ate. Later Eli, the priest, noticed her. Verses 10-11 state: And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. Hannah prayed and made a vow to the Lord. Notice some things about this.
(1) It was a troubled spirit that brought Hannah to the Lord. She had no children, and she poured her heart out to God. If during the past two months, people have come to know the Lord, it has been worth it. When things go well we ask why there is a need to pray. But let us lose a job or have a health problem, and then all of a sudden we’re ready to pray. We need to pray all the time. We should take all our requests to God. If things are going well now, then we should bow our heads and be thankful. I’ve asked God to put a hedge around my family. My wife works at Wal-Mart where lots of people come and go. We should pray for nurses and doctors. Will God put a hedge around us? Well, Satan thought Job had one.
(2) Hannah was an example in prayer. Most people in church are here because of a praying mother. I’m thankful for a mom who cares enough to pray that her children will stay out of hell. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see your children excel. But if you can prepare them to stay out of hell, you’ve done your job. How was Hannah an example? (a) She was persistent. She prayed regularly. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. I work. I can’t pray all the time. That’s not what this means. Paul is warning us not to let anything get in the way and interrupt your prayer life. If you do, you’ll be headed for trouble. (b) She fasted, putting God first. Prayer and fasting go together. Fasting means you abstain from something, not necessarily food. Revivals can be brought about by fasting. How about doing some fasting that America will come back to God. (c) Hannah was sincere. She was in bitterness of soul and wept and prayed. Eli thought she was drunk but she told him I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. When was the last time you poured your heart out to God? James tells us that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Much of public praying is for show; that’s a waste of time. We don’t pray to impress others. The most effective prayers are offered in our prayer closets; in other words, prayer done in private. God is concerned with the sincerity of our heart. (d) She prayed definitively. She did not ask for just a child. She asked for a son. Are we throwing too much on God when we do this? How big is your God? Peter said to cast all our care on him. (e) She spoke from her heart. Verse 13 says Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Not all praying is done verbally. You don’t even have to always bow your head and close your eyes. I pray driving sometimes. I’d better not close my eyes. Praying is simply telling God what’s coming from your heart. Romans 8 tells us that we don’t even know what to ask for. When we don’t know what to say, the Holy Spirit takes our heart to the Lord. (f) Hannah’s prayer was answered. Verse 20 tells us that her prayers were answered with the son she had asked for. (g) She gave praise to God. We ask and receive but never say thank you. Remember to do that.
(3) Hannah honored her vow. Ecclesiastes tells us if we make a vow we should pay it because it’s better not to have made one than to make one and not keep it. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t make them. We should. And we should keep them. Marriage vows are an example. We made them and we should keep them. Rededication vows are another example. Romans 12:1 tells us to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God. How many times have we told God we would be more faithful and then weren’t. Stewardship vows are another example. All of us who are saved ought to be tithing. Did you promise the Lord any of these? Have you kept them?
(4) Lessons taught to children early are not forgotten. Eli had wicked children. Chapter 2:12; 22 tell us this, even to the point they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Samuel was at the temple, growing up there. He remained true to God. The world is a wicked place, but we don’t have to be wicked. Proverbs 22:6 says Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Hannah learned this truth. Your child may have been taught growing up about the things of God. He or she may have gotten out of church, but they did not get away from the training. Train them right. Take them, don’t send them to church.
Hannah was a sacrificial mother. She gave her son to the Lord. She vowed a vow and kept it. That reminds me of John 3:16. What did God do? He loved us so much that he gave his son for us so that we might be saved. He never did anything wrong, nothing worthy of dying on the cross. But he was the only sinless one who could do it. He died for what I had done. For what you had done. He was my substitute and yours. He died so that we could have life. Thank God he did it all for me. I’m not fit for heaven in my ability, but through the blood of Jesus Christ God sees me perfected. It’s not about me. It’s about the Lord. He loves us as much as he did that thief on the cross. If you’re not saved, he wants to save you today.