Monday, May 9, 2011

Hannah and Samuel

Yesterday, Mother's were celebrated all over the country.  Sons and daughters loved on, gifted, and cherished their maternal parent.  I love the Bible stories that involve mothers.  One of my favorites is of Hannah.

I Samuel 1:1-20
There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite[a] from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
 3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6 Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
 9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on 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.”
 12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
 15 “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. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
 17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
 18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
 19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[b] saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”

How many of us ask God for something and then follow through on our promise to him?  Once we get what we want (and usually it isn't as important to as as we would like to think), we don't think of how we have gotten it or how we can cherish it.  Hannah dedicated her son to God.  She poured out her heavy heart to the Lord, but I'm not sure she really thought he would give her the desire of her heart, a child.  When the priest, Eli talked to her and told her that God had granted her wish, it didn't happen immediately.  Verse 20 says, that "in the course of time" she became pregnant.  It doesn't tell us if she was unhappy that it took some time, or if she was patient.  But God did honor her.  He gave her a son and in to motherhood she headed.    How precious that time must have been for her.  I know that I loved being pregnant.  I never felt better (after the first trimester), and we were so excited for the new editions to our family.  I know that Hannah must have been so excited. The excitement of pregnancy is wonderful and scary.  But knowing that God has granted this gift of a child to me is how I still, after sixteen years of motherhood, feel about my children.  Yes, I get frustrated with their actions and decisions, but I love them more than they will ever know.  I'm sure Hannah felt that with Samuel.

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