Monday, May 6, 2013

May 7, 2013

"In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. 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." As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine." "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. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." I Samuel 1:10-17
The second godly woman we will honor is Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel. Her name means "favored by God".
Initially that was not the case, however. She was the favored wife of Elkanah despite the fact she was barren. There was no greater shame for a married woman in that culture than being unable to bear children. It was a burden that nearly crushed her and certainly tested her faith.
One day during an annual feast she went to the tabernacle and was crying out to God with such earnestness that she was thought to be drunk by Eli, the priest. He began to chastise her for her totally inappropriate behavior. When she explained herself and her woeful situation, Eli blessed her and assured he that her prayer would be answered.
Indeed it was! She became pregnant and had a son she named "Samuel" - which meant "heard by God". Samuel went on to serve Eli and later became one of the great priests and prophets of Israel. He would be the one God used to choose David and later anoint him as king.
I want to focus on three things that are admirable about Hannah that modern women can emulate:
1) She called upon God in her time of trouble. She turned to prayer rather than despair.
2) She promised God to consecrate the son to God if God would honor her with a child. If God would deliver her from her shame she would dedicate the child to Him.
3) When God answered her prayer and gave her the long-desired child she kept her word. God delivered on His promise and so did she.
Modern mothers would benefit from being women of prayer like Hannah. Peter reminds you to "cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you." Turn to prayer and don't despair.
Recognize that your child (children) as gift(s) from God. Like Hannah, you are a mother by virtue of a sacred contract with God. He gives life and you are to nurture and shape it.
Dedicate your child(ren) to the Lord. Give back to Him what He has trusted to you.
Hannah is a model for modern motherhood. Read the story. Learn the lessons. Live it out!