1 Samuel 1

1 Samuel

 

Bible Passage:  1 Samuel 1

We start the new year with a very familiar story.

What can we learn from Hannah?  And how does that relate to us as we start this year?

Hannah’s Desire & Dedication of Samuel

Not being able to bear a child was already bad enough already.  But to suffer the taunting of another woman… this was certainly adding oil to fire.

What would you do in Hannah’s situation?

When it comes to responding to criticism and unpleasant circumstances of life, the example of Hannah is certainly worthwhile for us to learn from.

In no way do we see Hannah retaliating against Peninnah.

I recalled back in my school days – now this was a long, long time ago –  but the memory of this still rankles and I am ashamed to admit that I was very un-Hannah like.

I was playing football and being on the under-tall side for my weight, I was playing as a striker (so that I don’t have to run too much).  The opposing goal-keeper was one of my best friends.  But during that game, he kept taunting me… calling me names that made fun of my corpulence (ok… fat… I was fat… and still am today).

Anyway, I was getting progressively angry and when a long ball came in and he tackled me from behind, I snapped and punched him in the stomach.

Immediately I regretted my actions.  But I did not apologize.  And after more than 35 years, the memory of that incident still makes me shameful.

Though Hannah was hurt and humiliated, she remained hopeful and faithful.

In God’s timing, her sorrow was turned to joy.

What struck me was her strong desire to have a son when she did not have one.

Many of us have things we want.  But our desire (not the lustful kind) for these things very often are not reflected in our actions.

Hannah hurried to the tabernacle.  Hannah poured her heart out to God.  Hannah made a vow to God.

And what made it even better was that Hannah’ desire was not just for herself.

Yes, she wanted a son badly.

But when she had the son, she dedicated it to God totally.

Despite knowing that she will give up he long-desired first born son, Samuel’s birth gives Hannah great joy.  If we jump a little into tomorrow’s passage (1 Sam 2:1-10), we will see the joy she had and the prayer she made in response to the birth of Samuel.  Hannah’s prayer was addressed to God and reflected her praise and thanksgiving.

It seemed rather strange that after desiring for a child so much, she would now be so willing to give him to God for Him to use.

How many of us would do that?

This reminded me of what Elder James said….

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

~ James 4:3

Many a times our prayers are for our own selfish desires. And that is why we do not receive what we asked for.

Hannah prayed for a child.  But she wanted this child to be used by God.

And this son was instrumental in turning Israel from its self-indulgent mentality into a powerful nation that once again had a godly leader and received abundant blessings from God.

As we make our prayers for the year ahead, let us learn to ask for the right things.

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One comment on “1 Samuel 1
  1. It is already the second day of the New Year and the fourth day of the week. Sometimes, time itself has become so surreal.
    Even so, time, just like God, has never changed, and may very well truly be the only two precious constants in our lives.

    I’d like to go back to the basics for today – prayers to God.

    No matter who or what you are, no matter where you’ve come from, no matter how, when or why you’ve set time aside to pray – prayers are no strangers to us.

    More often than we actually are bothered to notice, we make our numerous requests known to God during our prayers, because we know we desperately need God’s intervention in our lives, after realizing that we couldn’t possibly have attained the things that we wanted (or needed) on our own.

    Other times during our prayers, we do our best to squeeze in a little room to repent and confess, give thanks, and/ or bare our souls to God.

    John 1 : 12 – 13
    “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

    Let us all bear in mind that we are all the children of God. God has known and always will know our thoughts, our feelings, the ultimate truths; He knows our everything.

    So why do we always forget or overlook the fact that we can treat God as someone far closer than a father, someone far closer than a sibling, someone who knows us better than we know ourselves, someone who literally is our soul mate for all eternity?
    Why can’t we treat prayers the same way we treat afternoon lunch breaks with our dearest buddies?

    It is true that God is perfect, extremely holy and powerful, and that no one should ever even try to underestimate Him.
    However, He considers us His children, and wants so much more than we could and would ever imagine, to draw nearer to us.

    Having total fear and reverence for God is one thing, but that should not take away the reality that we count on this one God for everything, that because He’s seen and recognized our ugliest and most frail stages in our lives, we can just howl out to Him, (Literally, if you really have to.) and have a genuinely meaningful chat with Him.

    Treasure the times you have to talk to God, and keep a spring in your heart when you do because, who knows, any one might be your last.

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