17th May 2023
Read - 1 Samuel 1:21-28
Message Alan Burke
This week I will be away on training and to allow me to focus on that you are getting three devotions from the best of 2021, I hope they are helpful to you. “First posted 8th September 2021”
It can be easy for us to get ourselves into the situation where we are left thinking “why did I say that”. Some times it’s because we said things that we shouldn’t have, had a barney with a loved one for example, there are other times though, it’s because we have got ourselves into something that we wish we hadn’t. Then we spend months or years trying to get ourselves out of it even though we feel obliged and if we said were going to stop we feel we would be letting someone down. In her prayer, in her brokenness, Hannah had prayed to the Lord, she had 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, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life…”. Here’s the thing though, the Lord had answered her prayer and the question is now will Hannah keep her vow or keep her son, would she try to wrangle out of it.
The time comes for them to make their annual sacrifice to the Lord and Hannah decides to stay behind with Samuel (21-22). Instead she tells her husband that after he was weaned then she would go. Now today things are different we have all types of different alternatives to breast feeding, many brands of formula milk although none of it is as good for a child as breastfeeding. In our culture babies are weaned from 6 months, as solids are introduced and the world health organisation recommends that breastfeeding should continue up to two years and beyond. It was not like this in Samuel’s day, as we know from sources at the time of Samuel mothers would breastfeed their children as long as three years. Knowing this, Elkanah tells to Hannah “do what seems best to you”.
What is most surprising in all of this is Elkanah. He supports Hannah in the decision that she has made, in the culture of the time this is a big thing. Elkanah could have simply refused, brought her with him, he could have said that ‘you are not presenting this child to the Lord for he is mine’ and Hannah would have been unable to do anything else. If Elkanah had have refused her decision to take Samuel to Shiloh and present him there, Hannah would have been released from her vow (Num 30:8). But she did take him there, she gave him over to the Lord for her prayer was answered and she knew he was a gift from God.
Two things I want to leave you with. Firstly some of those of you who are reading this may not have children, or your children may have flown the coop years ago, for others you are still a full time dad or mum dreaming of being able to drink a cuppa while it is still warm. If you are still full time dad or mum then know your children are a gift, teach them the faith, read and pray with them, bring them to worship, make it the priority for they are a gift of God and they are only lent to us like Samuel was with Hannah. Secondly For Hannah she gave the son she had longed for to the Lord, but for all of us in this life we should bear in mind the words of Jesus in Mark 10 when there seems a great cost what ever that cost may be. “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. (Mk 10:29-30)
Q48 What are we specially taught by these words [before me] in the first commandment?
These words [before me] in the first commandment teach us, That God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God. (Ezek. 8:5–6, Ps. 44:20–21)