Mother’s Day 2013, from 1 Samuel 1:1-28. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, May 12, 2013.
Today is Mother’s Day and our minds are filled with memories and images. Some of those images are in color, many are in black and white. When I think of my mother I think of a faithful and tireless servant. A woman who poured her life into her family. One who had little time for anything else, whose eyes lit up whenever she spoke of her children or grandchildren. I see those same characteristics in my wife and I’m grateful. Because of my experience as a child and a husband it is hard for me to imagine the pain of a woman unable to have children. A woman who desperately wanted a child, longed for a child, prayed for a child and then, having her prayers answered – she gave that child away. I confess, “I don’t understand that.” Her story is found in the book of 1 Samuel. A book filled with political struggle and intrigue. The story of major shifts in the religious and political life of the nation. It contains epoch-making events that will not only shape the nation but impact the world. Yet it begins by calling our attention to a humble woman living in the backwaters of the hill country of Ephraim, weeping over her dead womb. Her name means, “favored one” but her condition betrays her name. How can a “favored one” be barren? Why should we care what happens to this childless nobody? It matters because this is just the kind of place, and just the kind of circumstance that catches the attention of our God.
Text: 1 Samuel 1:1-28
The book opens at the end of the Period of the Judges described in Judges 21:25 as a time when – “…there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” You remember the “cycle of the Judges.” There would be apostasy, followed by a foreign oppressor, the people of God would repent and cry out for a deliverer, God would raise up a deliverer, they would be set free, enjoy a time of peace and then start the whole thing over again. This was basically a 200 year period of anarchy.
This morning I want us to walk carefully through this chapter. We need to be cautious when dealing with Old Testament narrative. We must do more than simply retell the story. In addition, we also must be careful not to just find moral lessons or examples to follow or avoid. It would be easy to read the first chapter and say, “Hannah is a great example of faith for us to follow; and let’s make sure we’re not like Peninnah or Eli!” I would agree Peninnah and Eli are poor examples while there is much to commend in both Elkanah and Hannah but they are not the point! The story is not primarily about Hannah – but about Hannah’s God.
Here is what I want us to see in this opening chapter…
Thesis: In the midst of heartache and bitter disappointment the righteous confidently turn to God in humble, honest prayer and respond with steadfast obedience.
If you really believe there is a God and you believe He has revealed himself to us through the Scriptures, that belief will impact everything in your life. It will impact the way you think and direct the way you act. It will shape your view of the world around you and how you interpret world events. Genuine belief in God is not relegated to discussions on Sunday morning in Sunday School. He dominates your thinking daily. You see His hand everywhere.
There are three things I want us to see in this text.
- In times of trouble and great distress the righteous have nowhere to turn but to the Sovereign Ruler of all things. (1:1-10)
- Our God’s sovereign and gracious rule inspires honest, transparent and confident prayer. (1:11-17)
- The Righteous respond to God’s good grace in quiet confidence and steadfast obedience. (1:18-28)