Tuesday, May 24, 2011

1 Samuel 1:21-28

21 When Elkanah went up with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vow, 22 Hannah did not go. She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the LORD, and he will live there always.”

23 “Do what seems best to you,” her husband Elkanah told her. “Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the LORD make good his word.” So the woman stayed at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

24 After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. 25 When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, 26 and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you think you could have kept your promise to God? Would you have been able to give up your ONLY child?
  • What do you think of Elkanah's response?
  • What do you think Eli thinks about Hannah's presentation of her son? Does it seem strange to you that so young a child should be sent to live at a temple?
  • Who does Hannah acknowledge as the reason she has this child? Is that acknowledgment important?
  • What lesson(s) do you learn from Hannah, a woman who prayed for a child, was granted that child, and then gave that child away to be wholly a servant of the Lord?

Possibilities for prayer:

Again we see in Hannah so much courage! Can you imagine taking your toddler aged child, the child that you wept passionately to God in order to even conceive, and dropping him off to live forever in a temple, knowing that he would never be fully your son again? I don't have any children of my own, but I still can't imagine doing that.

Clearly, the "easier" and less courageous option for Hannah was to "forget" about the promise that she made to God when she asked for a child...or to alter the terms of the agreement so that Samuel could remain with her. And yet, she does not do this. She does not take the easy way out. She presents a sacrifice to God in the form of a bull AND she gives her little boy over to the care of an aging priest. Such courage! Such boldness. Today, ask that God would give you the type of courage that we see in Hannah here, in choosing not to take the easy way out. If you're facing some difficult decision(s) in your life right now, ask that God would give you the courage to face them boldly and not simply to look for the easiest solution.