Friday, October 29th 1 Samuel 1:19-20

The man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear in the presence of the LORD, and remain there forever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time.” Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what seems best to you, wait until you have weaned him; only—may the LORD establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned him. When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh; and the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is given to the LORD.” She left him there for the LORD. 1 Samuel 1:21-28

I’m going to assume that some of those who have been following the devotions this week haven’t heard this story before. If so, today’s verses are a real shock. And for those of you who knew this story well, read it again. It will be a shock to you as well.

Hannah keeps her baby at home with her until he is ready to eat something other than her. And then she brings him back to Shiloh, back to Eli, the priest who had thought she was drunk, and she leaves the baby with him.

Hannah and Elkahah go home. Childless.

Hannah didn’t merely take Samuel to Eli. She also brought a three year old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine. There is quite a difference between her offering and a hastily scribbled check written just before the plate is passed down the aisle. But the intention is the same. It is an offering of gratitude.

Gratitude!

Gratitude at losing the precious child she had literally prayed years to have? Gratitude to a God who could be so incredibly heartless as to take that little baby out of her arms, leaving him in the care of an old man and his two profligate sons??

Yes! Gratitude! For Hannah had prayed that God would give her a son. And Hannah had promised that, if blessed with a son, she would dedicate that child to the service of the Lord as a nazarite.

And maybe this is the ultimate cultural divide between the world of this story and the world you live in at your computer today. This story was written in the days when prayers and promises meant something. A day when God’s servants were open to being surprised by God’s actions and even welcoming the opportunity to give. This story is ultimately not about Hannah and her feelings and her self fulfillment but about Samuel and about God and his purposes.

For Samuel was to grow up to do marvelous things. He would play a key role in the life is Israel. He would serve God, and serve God well, all the days of his life. What godly mother could ask for more?

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, you give us so much and we hardly notice. In the twistedness of our sin, we make all of our lives to be about us. We would take credit for the rain that falls on dry land if we could. So you give us this story of Hannah, a story of your purposes and her response. We pray that you will continue to work through us, limited and broken we might be, that good for others might result. Give us peace in the knowledge that life is not about us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Friday, October 29th 1 Samuel 1:19-20”

  1. Carolyn Novak Says:

    Hannah was also free of the stigma that went with being a barren, childless woman. She may have also been greatful for that. CN

  2. Tina Peterson Says:

    Dear Pastor Kerry:

    How lonely a message this is!

    This kind of sacrifice is heartbreaking. How could a mother make a promise to give up her child as a toddler? How could she bear to make good on that promise?

    Sometimes, the bible is a very difficult thing to accept. Sometimes, the things that happen in life are very difficult to accept. I don’t profess to understand, but I do hope to be able to trust that, like the story of Hannah and Samuel, God will make good use of these difficult things.

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