Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 15, 2015

what an amazing promise!

The depth of a mother’s love is incalculable.  Sure, most men also have an incredible capacity to love their children, but after carrying a child for nine months, giving birth and imparting so much of your life to a child creates a boundless bond between and a mother and her children.  It’s also hard for any husband to comprehend the depth of emotion that overwhelms a wife who is not able to bear children.  Scripture gives us the opportunity to drop in on a Godly woman who was barren, but then gave birth.  Hannah is an inspiration to all women (and men) of someone who went to God with her problem, saw Him answer dramatically and then obeyed from a heart of deep love for God.

Hannah’s family had love, but dysfunction.  Her husband (Elkanah) was a man who loved his wife, but violated God’s principle of monogamy.  He had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Hannah was his first wife, and she was barren.  He then married Peninnah, and it is logical to believe it was because of Hannah’s inability to have children.  Peninnah had children, and she was a definite irritant to Hannah. Can you imagine the pain that would have caused?  I Samuel 1:7 states that, Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle.  Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.

Hannah was godly, and on one of the trips to Shiloh for worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty, Scripture details an amazing scene.  Look at the depth of her emotion in verses 10-11.  

Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow, “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.”

In the depth of her despair, she went to God and prayed specifically for a son, and then made an incredible vow (I will give him back to you).  What an amazing promise!  People often make selfless vows to God while in deep despair only to recant when the pressure is off. Hannah glorified God by honoring her vow.

In the will of God, she gave birth to Samuel. At this time in history, Israel was in need of a godly leader and Samuel filled that role. Interestingly enough, his character bore the influence of his mother.  True to her words, after weaning Samuel (typical time was at about the age of three) she took Samuel to Eli at the tabernacle at Shiloh to live permanently. She gave him back to the Lord and was no longer with her son full-time.  I can imagine the separation was hard (a mother’s love), but Hannah was committed to obedience.  Amazingly, God chose to then bless her with three more sons and two daughters.

Hannah’s story has relevance today. Dysfunctional homes are normal, and real pain is a natural result. Hannah’s response also has relevance. She sought God specifically in the midst of very intense struggle.  Beyond just praying for a child, she made a vow that would require obedience … and she obeyed!

This great woman’s example is dropped into our lives as a model of how all Christ-followers should respond to life. Seek God with our every burden and then live with obedience. And oh, by the way … Hannah also teaches us that God gives us children so we might give them back to Him. For most parents, Hannah’s sacrifice of obedience will never be required, but will we live by the vows we made dedicating our children to the Lord?

Stop right now and pray for your children, and live as God would choose in front of them today!

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