Archives: 1 Samuel

1 Samuel 1:20 – Samuel – Given by God and staying with God!

Again and again, children in their teenage years walk away from the church and from Christ….

Despite the fact that their parents having cried out to God for their children…..

At the sports field where my son was playing cricket, we began to talk to a parent who told us that her son was a miracle baby. She went on to tell that she was 38 years old when she had him. He is her only child.

As such, she chooses to raise him herself rather than putting him in the boarding school.

Today we looking at the story of a man whose life was a grant from God and whose life was lived as such…..

  1. Given by God!

His name was Samuel: A name that his mother Hannah, whose faith in God was unquestionable. She had given him the name Samuel declaring that – “I have asked for him from the Lord”. 1 Sam 1:20

We are dealing with someone whose mother had instilled in him not only an understanding that states:

“You are what you are because of God”……but also “You are for God’s purpose” – she had dedicated him to God.

Look at the prayer of Hannah….

She was unmistaken about who was behind this blessing of a little boy…..

“My heart exults/ rejoices in the LORD, my horn/strength is exalted in the LORD.”

In our English bible where LORD is in capitals it always refers and highlights the name ‘YHWH’ –

Which means the God who is self-existent, self-reliant and the God who is over all, created all and above all.

She says, “My heart rejoices in YHWH”, I wonder of you can see this?

She was unmistaken about who her God is and who has granted her this child.

I have no doubt that she must have instilled in this little boy his true identity in God- the couple of years that she had him before she handed him over to the temple in the care of Eli.

I believe, just as it was necessary in those days and for Hannah to know her God……. I believe it’s of utmost important that you and I know who is our God.

In this day and age we are told that it doesn’t matter which god you believe as long as you believe, (it’s just one god after all)……

The God of Hannah was different; he was not the one to be found in the Koran or Hinduism book…..

The God she had prayed to is the God she was now declaring her strength to be.

He was the God of Israel as presented to Moses in Exodus 3:14-15

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, “The LORD, the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.”

I believe it is utmost important that we know we are calling to: if we are Christians we are calling upon the “the great I AM” – YHWH.

Again and again Jesus claimed that he was YHWH, that he was the “the Great I AM”, for example:

John 8:58 “Truly, truly I tell you Jesus answered ‘before Abraham was born, I am.”

John 10:14 “I am the good Shepherd.”

Elsewhere he says “I am the resurrection”. “I am the way the truth and the life”.

The God Hannah prayed to is the same God YHWH, whom Christians pray to – he is different from the God of the Hindus and Muslims etc.

He is the One who died and rose again…..

It is to this God that we enter through the blood of Jesus…….

Give credit to your God…..

Hannah knows who her God is……she knows who she owes her blessing to…..she knows that her son is a gift from this God…..do you know who yours is? If you pray to any that seems near you at the time……I have bad news for you…..

Your prayers can never be answered by Jesus……

Let me also hasten to say that just as Hannah owed her child to her God….. and Samuel owed his life to this God of the bible……

The bible also says that you and I owe our being from the same God……..

Yes, in some way Samuel was a miracle baby;

Hannah would come and pour her heart out to God in prayer for a baby…….year after year she cried out to God…..one day God looked with favour to her and she conceived and had the baby….

Yes, we are dealing with a miracle baby, but I would contend that every conception and birth is a miracle on its own and this miracle is owed or belongs to God: turn with me to Psalm 139:13-18.

The psalmist declares that his life is a finished product / a design of God…..

For this he praises YHWH (vs.1 says “you have searched me YHWH).

I am wonderfully made by YHWH…….Hannah knows this God to be her God and she praises him…..

That is the God of those who claim to be Christians – that is the God who answered Hannah’s prayer.

That is God who made every detail of your life – this is the God you must have confidence in.

Samuel was given to Hannah by this God….

  1. Samuel stayed serving this God till the end!

His name was Samuel and he grew up in the temple……he must have known why his name was Samuel. He must have known why he didn’t grow up like any other child.

He must have known he was dedicated to God….he was a grant from God…..

As such, he would serve the Lord forever. (see 1 Sam vs1:22-28) “For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord”. (Meaning for the rest of his days on earth).

His mother had stated this about him……his mother had fulfilled her part of the promise to God……

As the story unfolds, one wonders if anything will deter this boy Samuel or will he serve God for the rest of his days on earth……

Let’s have a look at what happens to him and if he stays the course for the rest of his life:

Chapter 7:15 declares “Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life.”

Let me give you some highlights of his service to God:

  1. Regards to the calling of Israel to repentance (see 1 Sam vs 7:3)

Leaders who do not call people to repentance are not godly leaders;

I listened to an interview of Somizi, a self-professed gay man. He declared that he had been at his church for over 20 years and he had never been told that homosexuality was a sin.

Samuel was a servant of God….Samuel was willing to call people to repent….

The church needs the Samuel type of leaders…..

Leaders who will tell people that if you are saying you want to be a child of God……then turn

to God genuinely. Turn away from idols and serve him only….

  1. Regards to listening to God’s voice (see 1 Sam vs 8:1-22)

The voice of God is what he listened to……and he gave them a king as they had requested and God had instructed…..

There are many things that go against our natural self…..and our sinful nature……

We must be willing to listen to the bible for in it the voice if God heard…..

How are you doing there? Do you follow your preferences or do you follow the voice of

God?

  1. Regards to practicing what he taught (see 1 Sam vs 12:3)

In the final speech, Samuel declares and calls upon the people and reminds them that he has, as far as humanly possible practiced what he preached……

Today there are wolves feasting with God’s people……in the church and outside the church you see this……

I had of a story of a founder of a private school in Johannesburg South…….the founder and principal had an affair with a matric girl and when this was discovered, he was asked to leave. He sold the school for R10m and walked away a millionaire…..

You get such stories with churches as well……

We need leaders who will practice what they preach…..Samuel was that kind of leader – he walked with God till the end……

Conclusion:

As he was given by God and dedicated to God for the rest of his days, Samuel dedicated his life to serve the God, who in the first place had brought him into being.

I believe there lies a crown of glory for such people, as Paul would say in 2 Timothy regarding his own journey on earth and in heaven:

2 Timothy 4:6-8

Those like Paul and Samuel – those who dedicate their lives to God – to serve him with their few days on earth, can rest in comfort as Paul would say “there is instore for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award me on that day”.

Elsewhere he says 1 Cor.15:58 “Give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, for your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Samuel 1:1-20 – Hannah – Rising above disappointment and ridicule

Hannah’s situation

  • Hannah had no children

As a result, (vs.2) possibly, her husband took another wife who bore him children.

Though he took another wife, the writer points out that “her husband loved her” despite having no children. Because of this, (vs.6), the other wife used to irritate her and ridicule her.

You couldn’t think of a more fertile situation to a life of continual misery than the one she finds herself in….

The other wife continually aggravated and mocked her inability to bear children. This continued year by year (that was her life).

As she went to the house of the Lord to pray and sacrifice (her situation remaining the same), we are told that at this particular time, Hannah would weep and not eat, which gives us an indication that she will go through dark clouds of despair and depression for what was going through her life.

I think it’s easy for us to think that God’s children do not go through depression during periods of dark clouds……

I mean you can imagine the situation for this woman – she continues to go to the temple and seek for God to change her situation but every year she returned to the same situation……

Her rival in marriage tormenting – you could hear her saying “Where is you God? Why do you have no children yet you go and pray?”

You can imagine the disappointment in her eyes…..the disappointment which eventually reaches a state of depression (continual weeping and not eating).

There are times in the life of God’s children when all seems to be going wrong……..you pray and nothing seems to be happening (disappointments lead eventually to state of depression).

She weeps and she stops eating……

We must understand this; the greatest of God’s servants have known this period that I call “periods of darkest cloud”….

David in Psalm 42-43 when his own flesh and blood, Absalom had staged a coup d’état in his own kingdom………

He knew this period of darkest cloud and even though we go through these periods – we can rise above them….. (see 42:5, 6 -11, 43:5).

Hannah is a clear example:

Number one – she has the support of her husband

He plays some part…….how privileged she was to have a husband like hers……he doesn’t say to her “gather yourself”, but rather he reasons with her.

Vs.8……Though you don’t have children – I am standing with you…..I am yours…….

It helps to have someone reasoning with you, but sometimes there is no one…….

Number two – She has a persistent faith in God….….

Hannah’s persistent faith and prayer

We are told in vs.9 that after she ate and had something to drink “she rose” and went to the temple of the Lord…..

She knows that the comfort of her husband is but temporal – she needs more than man’s words…..she needs God……hence she rises to God’s arms as it were….

As human beings we do not undermine the value of others helping in our time of need…….a counsellor may help you rise and eat, be it a professional or a just good wise Christian …….

But we are not to fool ourselves – we need more than man’s motivation, we need to turn to God in our time of need………

For man’s help is but temporal – but God’s strength remains forever……

Psychologist and Christian counsellor Dr. Larry Crab emphasizes the need for man but also the need for God in times of need:

“The witness of the Scripture, the Holy Spirit and a few Christians persuades me that there is really a path to knowing God in the midst of any circumstance.”

You can rise above any circumstance – all you need is persistence in faith…..

You must persistently trust in God……you must declare that my hope is found in no one else except in Christ…….

You must accept and declare as the prophet Hosea calls Israel to do: take words with you and return to the Lord – Hosea 14:3 “Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war–horses. We will never again say ‘our gods to what our own hands have made for in you the fatherless find compassion’.”

This is declaration that my hope is in Christ alone……not in man…..not in idols…..

But in Christ alone……

Hannah rises above her circumstances because her faith in God was unshakable.

Put your faith fully on Christ and you will rise against whatever situation even if things remain the same……

Let us now note Hannah’s persistency that God honours……..

Look at her prayer of praise (what an amazing revelation she had)

  1. Hannah’s prayer of praise (2:1-11)

This is a song of praise i.e. vs1-2

But then afterwards it is a declaration that

  • Man’s fortunes depend on God

Have a look at vs.3ff…….

As I read the story of Hannah and her subsequent praise song, I could not miss the fact that there was Hannah going to the temple as always…..to pray.

Little did she know that this was the moment that God had ordained for her?

The God whom she praises as the One who determines seasons and periods for his children……

I always say, we don’t know what tomorrow brings – it only takes a phone call from somewhere……a decision from someone can change someone’s life…….

Today we can be full – and it is for this reason that we must be humble ourselves for we don’t have our future in our hands.

Today we can be is so much need – but then tomorrow may usher something new…….

We are therefore people of faith – unshakable faith……people who never lose hope but are continually waiting upon our God…..

As we conclude look at the story again, and realize that our hope ought to be in God……in Christ alone…..

In Christ alone my hope is found…….

Amen