(1 Samuel 1:1-2:2) A few days ago families gathered around the table, shared a meal and spent time talking about a special person. Perhaps stories were told and colorful greeting cards given along with small tokens to express gratitude. That special person was mom. The day was designated as her day, Mother’s Day. Generally it’s a day for telling moms how special they are and how much they are appreciated. This is the right thing to do.
God tells us to honor our father and mother (Exodus 20:12). As children, we are commanded by the Lord to respect and treat our parents well. There are no conditions placed on honoring.
But what is the mother’s role in the life of a child? What should moms be like? What should they do that will help motivate a child to be an Exodus 20:12 child? Since moms are God’s idea, He has placed many stories in the Bible that help mothers understand and live out their role.
One such story is found in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel. In 1 Samuel 1, there is a story of a mom whose actions paved the way for the coming of Messiah. What she did moved the humanity a step closer to the Jesus entering our world. The name of the mom is Hannah, and this is her story.
Hannah was one of two wives of a man named Elkanah. He was a man faithful to the Lord in a day when it was not easy to be so. He lived at the end of the time of the judges, a dark and near godless era in Israel’s history. Sadly, Hannah was unable to have children, which was seen as a curse from God. Her rival, Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife (he was a godly man but not a perfect man) would regularly remind and taunt Hannah about her inability. This brought great sorrow into Hannah’s life (1 Samuel 1:1-7).
Every year Elkanah, and his family took a pilgrimage to the Tabernacle. During one of those trips Hannah did something that would alter the course of human history. At the end of a meal she went to the entrance of the Tabernacle and poured her heart out to God. She so desperately wanted a son. The high priest, Eli, talked with Hannah and told her that God had heard her and was going to answer her prayer; less than a year later Hannah had a son. She named her boy Samuel, which means “God hears.”
Now, here’s the truly amazing part. Hannah had promised God that she would give her baby back to Him. He would serve the Lord all his life. At the end of 1 Samuel 1 we find that, Hannah kept her promise. Samuel went to live with Eli and served God in the Tabernacle and later throughout the nation of Israel. He would anoint the first two kings of Israel: Saul and David. David would begin the line of king from which Jesus would come. Jesus would be the last King, the King of kings.
Upon leaving her little boy with Eli, Hannah left not in deep sorrow or a sense of loss. No, she went back home praising her God. She called God perfectly holy, her Rock, her Deliverer (1 Samuel 2:1-2).
Take a moment and read 1 Samuel 1-2:2, the passage from which this story is gleaned. Look for five characteristics found in the life of Hannah; characteristics that many moms can relate to and some that all moms should emulate.
As you were reading, did you find that Hannah was a mom whose life was filled with disappointment (v.2,6-7)? Her life was anything but charmed. Some moms believe that living a trouble-free life will aid them in being better moms. Not so with Hannah. Her troubles strengthened her resolve.
Kevin Durant, a professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Clippers, was named the NBA’s most valuable player for the 2013-14 season. After thanking many of his teammates for the role they played in making his phenomenal season possible, he then turned his remarks to his mother who raised two sons on her own. Time does not allow for all his comments but here’s his closing word to her, “We weren’t supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn’t eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.” Her life as a mom was hard. But she was resolved.
This leads to the second characteristic. Hannah was a mom who knew where to turn when her life was filled with disappointment (vv.9-11). Remember how after dinner she got up and went to the Tabernacle. It was there she knew she could talk to God.
Where can you go to talk to God, to lay bare your heartaches, your direst needs, and your deepest hopes for your children? Hannah shows you where you can go.
We also see that Hannah was a mom who was persistent in prayer. She “kept on praying” (v.12). A mother’s heart does not give up.
Hannah was a mom who kept her promise to the Lord. She said to Eli, “So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” (v.28) It may be hard but it is a must, moms must give their children to God.
Lastly, Hannah was a mom who praised her Lord (2:1-2). She thanked God for the blessing her son was to her even when she had to give him to God. Even better, she was glad to have the chance to give Samuel to the Lord.
What can we take away from Hannah’s story? Two points: First, when God gives you a child take care of that child. And secondly, when God gives you a child give your child to God. How can a mom do this? It doesn’t happen by accident. You must invest in your child’s life by investing your live in Jesus Christ.