A Focus on Mothers
Yesterday’s post was a bit of a downer as far as how there are some silly rules restricting people who are differently-abled 🙂 (what a weird word). It also focused a bit too much on me so I wanted to write something today to celebrate mothers because my wife is one – a good one.
This past Sunday was Mother’s day so I changed up my lesson to have more of a theme in-line with the day. I taught from 1 Samuel chapters 1 & 2 which is the story about Hannah and the birth of Samuel. Here is the quick gist of what happened. Hannah had married Elkanah who was of the Levite lineage and she was unable to bear him children. At some point this became an issue and Elkanah married another wife by which he was able to have many children. This second wife took great pains to make life hard for Hannah because of her barrenness. Hannah finally reaches a point where she goes to the temple and just cries out to God. She is so troubled in her heart that her mouth moves but no words leave it and the priest, Eli, accuses her of being drunk. By the way, Eli had raised two sons that were wicked just to give you an idea of his character.
The name Hannah means woman of grace. She was amazing! Think about what she was bearing:
- Woman had been made to bear life. Adam called his wife Eve, the mother of all living, and chapter 4 of Genesis we can see where God helps Eve to deliver her first child which comes after the curse of the pain with childbearing. I bet Hannah was feeling just a bit denied by God because of her being barren.
- Her husband who should have had a deep understanding of the one woman to one man ratio and the stories of Abram/Sarai, Isaac/Rebekkah, Jacob/Rachel goes out and marries another woman and had children with her. I wonder how often Hannah felt overlooked by her husband.
- The new wife comes in and makes it a point to belittle Hannah. The bible says that this happened year after year. Ever felt ridiculed and put down like that?
- And finally when she turns to the church for solace, she is accused of being drunk. There she is pouring her heart out to God and the next thing she knows is that the preacher is giving her a sermon on what she is doing wrong – completely missing the mark.
We don’t read that she ever responded in a negative manner to all that had happened to her. Even when confronted by Eli who is part of the problem in the Jewish society of that day, she simply explains what she is doing instead of striking back. That IS a woman of grace.
When she had been praying to God she almost appears to be making a bargain with God because she says that if He will give her a child she will dedicate that child to His service. The difference is that she isn’t seeking benefit, she is seeking favor in order to honor God.
God does honor her with a child and she names him Samuel which means ‘asked of God’ or ‘heard of God’. Now I want you to picture this. In today’s society we have heard several stories where a surrogate mother, after carrying the child and finally birthing it, cannot bear to turn the child over to parents that want to protect and care for the child. Looking into the eyes of that child for the first time, touching, hearing, and smelling it is just too much for them to honor the commitment.
Hannah had to wait until the child was weaned before honoring her commitment to God. She attached to her child for three years before making that trip to see Eli to turn her little boy over to him. You or I will cry when our child goes off to a half day of kindergarten. She was letting go of her child forever. You need to go read the second chapter of 1 Samuel and listen to the words that Hannah sings after she has done this. Please don’t miss the fact that she was turning her child over to a man that had already raised two wicked sons.
Hannah was an amazing mother and an amazing woman of grace.