Sunday, May 13, 2012

1 Samuel 1:1-2:11 - A Mother Named Hannah

Samuel Dedicated by Hannah (Topham)
The book of Samuel opens with the account of the woman Hannah who becomes the mother of Samuel the prophet, who would anoint Israel’s first king, Saul, and Israel’s greatest king, David. In the remarkable circumstances which led to his birth, Samuel focuses on the honorable way his mother Hannah prayed, committed, and praised the Lord as He worked in her life.
Hannah is in many ways an example of an ideal mother. Hannah was one of the noblest Hebrews who ever lived. Her unpleasant circumstances produced in her a character which made her life an inspiration and a blessing to this day.
On this Mother’s Day, let’s look at Hannah’s life as an example for all of us in how to live before the Lord in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Key Truth: Samuel wrote 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11 to teach Israel through the example of his mother Hannah to entrust their burdens, their children, and their future to the Lord.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about trusting God with everything.
Pray and Read:  1 Samuel 1:1-2:11

Sermon Points:
1.   Mothers, entrust your burdens to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:1-18)
2.   Mothers, entrust your children to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:19-28)
3.   Mothers, entrust your future to the Lord (1 Samuel 2:1-11)
Exposition:   Note well,
a.   Hannah was the favorite wife of Elkanah, a Levite from Ramathaim Zophim. Levites were required to do duty at the Tabernacle of God for a set time each year, so Elkanah’s coming with his family to the Tabernacle was for him to do his duties as a Levite before the Lord. Elkanah was from one of the most honorable families among the Levites, the descendants of Moses and Aaron’s cousin Kohath. Although he was a Godly man, he followed the local common custom of polygamy in those days of the judges when “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” The curse of polygamy will soon show itself in Elkanah’s home.
b.   Despite Hannah’s great desire for a son, she was barren, much to the delight of her rival Peninnah, who had borne several children, a fact which she constantly used to berate Hannah with her cruel tongue. Hannah would bear the first prophet of Israel, the renowned Samuel, and eventually three other sons and two daughters (1 Sam 2:21)
c.   Hannah’s name means “gracious,” “graciousness,” or “favor,” but there seemed to be little of graciousness or favor in her life, neither graciousness from her rival Peninah nor favor from the Lord in having a child. It seems that most of the graciousness she received was from her husband Elkanah who loved her. Hannah responds in grace to her circumstances.
d.   APPLICATION: It is not about how we think people or the Lord should treat us. It is about how we respond to our circumstances. Grace and favor are how we respond, not what we expect from others and God.
e.   1 Samuel 1:6-11 - Hannah longed for a son. Her battle with infertility was even greater because of the jealous and heartless Peninnah who terrorized Hannah with her tongue. Hannah held on to the grace of God and was able to exhibit the grace of self-control against the hatefulness of Peninnah, who often provoked her for being childless. Still, the constant grind of Peninnah’s voice affected Hannah, making her a “woman of sorrowful spirit.”
f.    APPLICATION: Mother’s Day is a wonderful day for most. Everyone has a mother, right? Of course, but the day is a source of pain to many who desperately want to be mothers. Whatever the source of the infertility, we must remember that God opens the womb. I know a man who was a lineman with an electric cooperative in another state. He and his wife tried for nearly ten years to have a child, but doctors told them that they would never have one. That couple came before the elders of their Presbyterian church and asked for prayer that God would give them a child. The session prayed that God would open her womb, and at last count they were a remarkable and joyful family with eight children. I know a man whose parents paid for his vasectomy because he and his wife had three children and “needed to stop.” The Lord dealt with him and his wife and provided the funds to have it reversed, and they had two more. In circumstances in which a pregnancy would be life-threatening, there are many thousands of children in foster care who would love to be adopted. At the end of the service when I give the invitation, or sometime during the week, I would be happy to pray with you or gather the leaders of the church to pray with you if you have a desire to rear a Godly generation. Come forward at the end of the service or contact me this week.
g.   1 Samuel 1:10-18 - Hannah’s character is marvelous. She was a woman of prayer, and she asks the Lord to take away the cause of her anguish. She even responds in grace even to Eli the priest, a man of no discernment (1 Sam 1:10-16). Hannah’s request was so personal, her prayer was silent. Her lips moved, but no sound came out. She sent up an unspoken prayer to the Throne of God. She responds in grace even to the offensive accusation of Eli the priest. Hannah’s sweet submission to the Lord in prayer is a rare flower in the spiritually deserted world of the Judges. Despite a trying home life and a pseudo-spiritual leader, she knew the importance of going to the Lord for the grace she needed to bear the troubles of her heart.
h.   APPLICATION: Mom, let me encourage you to make your life a life of prayer. Make your family your subject for prayer. Make prayer and intercession the driving force behind all you do. You have the highest calling and the most powerful position on the planet. The hand that rocks the cradle might not actually rule the world immediately, but it has a major positive or negative effect on the next generation. The most important thing you can do for your child is not that he can make the all-star travel team. It is to pray for the Lord to take control of the priorities of his life. The most important thing for your child is not to give her everything she wants. It is to pray that she will want more than anything to please the Lord with her life. The most important thing you can do for your child is not to make sure she gets into the best school. It is to pray for the Lord’s direction in her life.
a.   1 Samuel 1:11, 19-28 - Hannah makes a vow that she if the Lord would give her a son, she would return give him back to the Lord as a life-long Nazirite, only a temporary commitment in the Torah (Numbers 6:1-21). She remembers and makes good on her vow after the Lord blesses her with a son. When her prayer is answered, she quietly makes good on her promise. More than anything in the world, Hannah wanted a son, and when He gave her that son, she gave him back to the Lord. Samuel would grow up to reflect his mother’s Godliness and commitment to prayer.
b.   ILLUSTRATION: Amanda has wanted to be a mommy since she was five years old. Imagine her shock and devastation after we were married when I told her I didn’t want any children. So we compromised on having just one but waiting until three years into our marriage even to start trying. The day I held my firstborn, I told Amanda I would take as many of them as she would give me. After our second child came, we decided to wait several years before considering another child. But things changed. When post-partum darkness descended on Amanda for several months, she decided she was done for good. She couldn’t handle any more children, she said. A few weeks after she said that, her darkness began to lift, and a few weeks after that, we found out why. Our third was on the way – a precious and beautiful surprise. This little one was to teach us more about the importance and preciousness of life than anyone else. For the first time I had to deal personally with the reality that our birth control was called an abortifacient, meaning it makes the womb inhospitable to new life. We were deeply troubled because we had been using that form since we were married. We didn’t know what it did. No one had told us. How could we call ourselves pro-life and use that? The Lord dealt with us in a powerful way. He showed us that He is sovereign; He is in charge of our lives, not us, even in this sensitive area. We named her Ava-Grace which means, “bearer of the good news of grace.” She is a marker in our lives of the importance and preciousness of life. Children are not a burden and should never be reduced to an object of complaint. God entrusts to us little lives to rear them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. That is why we eventually took the position that if the Lord trusts us with a little one, then it is an honor, and every one He trusts us with is a greater honor. He, after all, is the El-Shaddai, the Lord our Provider. We can trust Him.
c.   APPLICATION: Some of you are praying for children. Some of you are in the joys of parenting. Some of you are in the joys of grandparenting. Some of you wonder where the joy went. Wherever you find yourself, the Lord is your Provider, your Sustainer, and your Grace.
a.   Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving proves that she is a woman of prayer. In fact, her prayer is prophetic of the coming Messiah. The virgin Mary over a millennium later will be so saturated with Hannah’s prayer that her Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), thanking the Lord for her Messianic pregnancy, bears a strong resemblance to Hannah’s.
b.   ILLUSTRATION: I discovered that the town from which Elkanah and Hannah hail, Ramathaim Zophim, is the New Testament town of Arimathea. A member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea, was from there. Out of curiosity, I did a study comparing the experiences of Hannah and Joseph of Arimathea, and here is the prophetic picture I was able to put together. Here are a few comparisons which come to mind between these two Arimatheans.
                    i.        Both Hannah and Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, (Mark 15:42-44) were from the same hometown of Arimathea.
                  ii.        Hannah was an uneducated, poor, and powerless woman (1 Samuel 1:1-3). Joseph of Arimathea was a highly educated, wealthy, and powerful man (Matthew 27:57).
                iii.        Hannah lived in the transition from the old tribal Israelite disunity to the monarchy. Joseph of Arimathea lived in the transition from Old Covenant to New Covenant.
                 iv.        Hannah was not ashamed of her faith in God (1 Samuel 1:8-10). Joseph of Arimathea was a secret believer in Jesus Christ (John 19:38).
                   v.        Hannah quietly prayed for the birth of a son (1 Samuel 1:13).Joseph of Arimathea boldly interceded for the burial of the Son (Mark 15:43).
                 vi.        Hannah in great grief and sorrow sought the birth of a son from the Lord (1 Samuel 1:10). Joseph of Arimathea in great grief and sorrow buried the Son, the Lord (John 19:38; Zechariah 12:10).
               vii.        Hannah was involved in the birth of the first great prophet and last judge, Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20). Joseph of Arimathea was involved in the burial of the last and greatest Prophet and Final Judge, Jesus Christ (John 19:41-42).
             viii.        Hannah's intercession was the prelude to the era of the Prophets who made intercession for the people before God. Joseph of Arimathea's intercession was the prelude for the Messiah who ever lives to make intercession for us before the Father (Hebrews 7:25).
                 ix.        Hannah’s Song prophesied the birth of a Coming King (1 Samuel 2:10). Joseph of Arimathea’s mourning care buried the King of Kings (John 19:41-42).
                   x.        Hannah's son Samuel anointed David as king (1 Samuel 16:1). Joseph of Arimathea's sepulchre was the place of anointing for the body of the Son of David, the King (John 19:39-40).
                 xi.        Said another way: From womb of Hannah was brought forth alive a son who would anoint David as King (1 Samuel 16:1ff). From the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea was brought forth alive the Son of David, the King of Kings (Matthew 1:1; 22:42; Luke 1:32; 3:32; Romans 1:3).
It is all about Jesus after all, isn't it, even on Mother's Day? Will you receive that Messiah now and submit to Him as your Lord and Savior?