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The birth of Samuel. 1 Samuel 1
The Birth of Samuel

-last of the judges who ruled Israel
-priest/prophet/judge (a type for Christ who prophet/priest/king)
-anointed Israel's first two kings, Saul, David
-a special birth since mother unable to have children
-he did not have a normal birth or a normal life (consecrated to the Lord as Nazirite-- dedicated to God, never to drink the fruit of the vine, never to cut his hair)
-his name means "Heard of God/asked of God"- for his mother asked God for him
-born during the time of Israel's history when "Every one did what was right in their own eyes"-- which in this case even included the priests (for we learn that Eli's sons were wicked men who were serving at the Tabernacle)
-born during the time of Philistine oppression (under his leadership Israel delivered from their hands)
-1 and 2 Samuel named after him (1 book in Hebrew scriptures)

The account of his birth: 1 Samuel 1 READ

THINGS TO NOTE/LEARN FROM THE TEXT

1. God's intent for marriage is one man/one woman for life.
Genesis 2:24, Mark 10:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2

In our text we learn that Elkanah (though a righteous man who serious about following God) has two wives (It is thought that perhaps he had married Hannah first and that since she could not have children that he took another way that the family name might be carried on)

We learn that Hannah was the true object of his affection. This favoritism plus the natural conflict that would exist between 2 women sharing one husband caused big problems in the marriage and between Hannah and Peninnah (the other wife).

Interesting: Hannah, would have been spared much trouble if her husband had only one wife.

Lessons

a. God's intent for marriage is one man/one woman for life (so don't rush into marriage and when you do marry, do everything in your power and with Christ's help to make it work)
b. If you are single and want to be married. Pray. Prepare by pursuing after Christ and holiness. Learn to be happy in your own skin-- for someone else can't do that for you (except Jesus)

FYI: The Bible does not recognize homosexual marriage.


2. Favoritism in our relationships is never a good thing. 1 Samuel 1:4-5

Case in point the favoritism between Hannah and Peninnah. Also note what happened when Jacob favored Joseph over brothers.

3. Not being able to have children is painful, so we need to be sensitive, caring, and guard our speech as regards having children

When it comes to funerals and the subject of infertility (which affects both men and women), people tend to say a lot of silly things

i.e It's not a good thing to say to a grieving spouse "Your young, you'll get married again"
i.e It's not a good thing to say to a couple struggling with infertility "You just need to relax... Have you tried... If you have enough faith, God will give you a child. You must have some unconfessed sin in your life, etc"

Application: It's a good thing for us to regularly pray that God would direct us in our speech!

In 1 Samuel 1 we learn that Hannah is unable to have children

A few things

a. Having children was the desire of her heart. It was the one thing she wanted that couldn't have.
b. Hannah's inability to have children was used by Peninnah as a weapon to attack, demean, and tear her down. This broke her heart and went on for a number of year. What a wretched woman Peninnah must have been to mercilessly attack another woman over this issue.
c. In a strange twist we learn that Hannah's inability to have children is actually God's doing v.6

This is perplexing and leads to the natural question "Why?" and "What purpose might this serve?"

Hannah not able to have children because of an accident, sin (hers or someone else's), an illness, or a birth defect, her age, or some deficiency -- but because of God.

Though one may be inclined to think it, this does not make God cruel. This does not make God sinful. Rather, it introduces to a bigger thought-- God is purposeful, there are reasons for everything (most often we don't know exactly why). God does things for a reason. In the case of Hannah, we learn why--- For He had something special planned for Hannah. THIS REMINDS US of the NT passage when Jesus' disciples asked Jesus if a man was born blind because of his sin or his parents. Jesus' response was neither-- for it was the glory of God. Jesus then proceeded to heal him as further proof that He was God in the flesh. (see John 9)

In Isaiah 55:8-9 it says; "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.


4. Though there be a mystery to His ways-- God is good all the time.

5. He works all things for His glory (Samuel brought glory to God by the way He lived and served God). We need to keep on trusting God!

Hannah distinguishes herself in this-- though tormented and sorrowful, she still kept trusting God

2 MORE LITTLE POINTS BEFORE WE GET TO A BIG ONE

6. When wronged we are not to retaliate SEE V.14

In the midst of praying to God, Eli saw Hannah moving her mouth but heard no sound-- so he thinks she's drunk and rebukes her. v.14 Rather than retaliate (which we are not to do when wronged) and slam with how horrible his two sons were (both were serving as priests but stole the sacrifices belonging to God and regularly slept with the women who served at the Tent of Meeting" Hannah tells Eli that it is because of a broken heart that she was praying as she was.

We to turn the other cheek Matthew 5:38-40
We to leave judgment to God Romans 12:19


7. Jumping to conclusions can get us in big trouble

Proverbs 25:8 says; "What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame? (The message version says "Don't jump to conclusions...."

Eli assumed Hannah drunk and that she was a "wicked woman"

Get the facts before acting/speaking/writing/posting, etc


8. Bargaining with God. While He sometimes graciously allows it. It's not necessary

In Matthew 6:6-8 while teaching on the subject of prayer, Jesus says; "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Jesus then proceeds to give us a model for what our prayers should look like.

With that said, in 1 Samuel 1, Hannah seeks to bargain with God as it regards her wanting, not just a child, but a male child.

With her heart broken yet again-- by Peninnah, and ironically while at a festival to God celebrating the harvest and fruitfulness, Hannah goes to the Tabernacle (built at God's command by Moses-- the centre of worship in Israel and the place where God presence'd Himself in a special way) and tries to make a DEAL with God.

The DEAL

"Give me a son and I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head" v.11

Interesting: Hannah's promise to make Samuel into a Nazirite instantly reminds us of Samson who failed to live as one.

Thoughts

1. There are a few examples in Scripture of people bargaining with God and God taking them up on it. Jacob in Genesis 28:20; Jephthah in Judges 11:30 (total disaster for his promise was rash and his follow through was sinful), the Israelites in Numbers 21:1-3.

2. Sometimes people try to bargain with God but their motives are sinful i.e If you let me win the lottery...

3. God has allowed people to bargain with Him--- the key of course is to keep ones word to Him (Hannah did--- for when Samuel was about 3 years old she brought him back to the Tabernacle and left him there, dedicated to God, to serve Him for his entire life). She did this, but not without Elkanah saying in v.23 "Do what seems best to you," "Stay here until you have weaned him; only may the LORD make good his word" --- for you see, Elkanah had some questions about whether or not Hannah would have any more children after giving away Samuel.

On keeping ones word: The Bible counsels us not to swear or make vows! While people used to do so, Jesus says to us

Matthew 5:33-37 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.' But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil."

4. While we sometimes want to bargain with God and try to do so, it's not really necessary.
God knows what we need before we ask Him. God loves us. God wants to give the best to us. God knows whats best for us-- even if we think otherwise. The key is to seek His face and surrender to His will.

Further: What position of bargaining strength to we come to God with? NONE.

God owns everything. All we have belongs to Him.

GOD is gracious. God is merciful. God accepted Hannah on her word- ultimately having a great plan that went beyond her wildest dreams--- a son that would be a type for Christ. A man of faith and faithfulness. A boy who grew up to be a great leader and who called people back to God.


CONCLUSION

Topics we've covered today

1. Favoritism-- not good, always causes problems (marriage, children, church, workplace)
2. Marriage-- one man, one woman for life--- don't rush into it. If single pray and prepare (my pursuing holiness and growing in integrity and purity)
3. The difficulty some have in having children-- and the sensitivity we need to have on this subject.
4. Mystery as it regards God and His ways-- for many times He does and allow things that don't initially make sense to us
5. The goodness of God-- even when we doubt it
6. Not retaliating when wronged (Hannah accused of sin but innocent of it-- did not lash out)
7. Trusting God
8. Our prayer life and the subject of bargaining with God-- sometimes people do it, sometimes God goes with it, but its not necessary - for God is the giver of every good gift and knows what we need.

Next week: We'll pick up with Samuel and the ministry he had as we look at 1 Samuel 6-10

CLOSING SONG