Sermon Manuscript . . .
Hannah–A Model for Mothers
Hannah–amazing people you can learn from in 1 Samuel
Name the moms–Sarah, Rachel, Jochabed, Deborah, Ruth, Elizabeth, Mary and the amazing Hannah. First a childless wife in 1 Samuel 1, but she becomes the mother of Samuel and a model for all mothers, all women, and all families. I have my Bible open to 1 Samuel chapter 1–it’s the end of the time of the judges with the time of the kings, Saul, David and Solomon about to begin. It’s a time of turmoil–the one great hero was Samson, but he’s gone and the country is now divided and leaderless. The Philistines were encroaching, so as 1 Samuel opens, Israel is a weak nation.
It’s a sad hour in their history. It was time for God to bring along a man who could lead the people back to Himself and that was Samuel. And in order to bear Samuel, God chose a very special lady–the model mother. Look at verse 1. “Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim [the name of the town] from the hill country of Ephriam, and his name was Elkanah, an Ephraimite.”
Introducing Elkanah, a Levite, a country priest, living in the sticks near Mt. Ephraim. Verse 2 tells us he had two wives–Hannah and Peninnah. Hannah means grace, and she was. Peninnah means pearl, and she was an irritant. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. This is an interesting family–one husband and two wives. In those days, polygamy was a part of the culture. And although it’s never promoted nor approved of in the Scripture, God was patient and gracious, even when people strayed from His design. Yet every time polygamy appears in Scripture, it resulted in divine consequences and people’s heartache. In this case, it caused Hannah no end of hurt.
Did your mom and dad argue at home? Can you imagine what it would be like to have two moms, and one who was loved more than the other? If you have it tough at home, or had it tough, whether through divorce, fighting, lack of love, too serious, always watching TV, no sharing, constant criticism or your parents don’t walk with God—remember, nothing hurts more than family problems, and nothing’s harder to talk about than family problems.
You need to do what Hannah is about to do. She is about to pray to her perfect heavenly Father and show us what a model mom is really like. Here in chapter 1, Hannah shows us by her example the three keys to becoming or honoring a godly mother. Keep your Bible open to 1 Samuel and follow along in your outline and let’s look at all three keys–three H’s, as we celebrate God’s model for motherhood. She is an amazing person to learn from. To be a great mother,
#1 Hannah had a right HUSBAND relationship
Hannah maintained a proper relationship with her husband, even though he had another wife. If you want to be a godly mother, then no matter what it’s like at home, maintain a right husband relationship. Yeah, but how–how did she do it? Two ways . . .
First They shared WORSHIP
Look at verse 3, “and this man, Elkanah, went out of his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh, the place where God was worshipped. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord were there.” The ark was at Shiloh, God’s physical presence was there, the high priest Eli was there, and God said for all true Israel to go to Shiloh three times yearly to worship at the Tabernacle. That was required and that’s what Elkanah did.
Hannah was married to a man who worshipped God. He truly believed in God, but he wasn’t perfect. It’s almost important that he was a polygamist, not for the blessing of God, but to remind us that a godly mother can flourish with an imperfect husband, if the imperfect husband is at least committed to worshipping the true God despite his imperfection.
If you are looking for the perfect husband, you should give up now–Robert, Rod and Shawn are already taken. Tracy, Beth and Tracy feel sorry for the rest of you ladies, though I know they secretly look with envy at Jean. You say, “You don’t know what kind of faults and problems my husband has.” And my response is, “What else did you expect? No man is perfect.” Elkanah was less than perfect, but made his commitment to God a priority.
The first aspect of right husband relationship is to be married to a man who’s a true worshipper of God, not merely an attender of church, but with a heart for God. That’s why the Bible is very clear in commanding Christians to only marry another believer–not a professor, but truly a possessor. That is why Deuteronomy 7:1 to 3 says, “When the Lord your God shall bring you into the land …you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.”
God’s plan is for believing people to marry believing people. God never violates that throughout Scripture–rather He continually reiterates it. The same principle is found in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 7:39–it says a believer is to marry “only in the Lord.”
Hannah had a believing husband. “But,” you ask, “what if I was converted after marriage–what do I do now with an unbelieving husband?” Pray for him. Don’t leave him and look for a believing one–that would violate God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 7:13. Pray that God would bring him to Christ so that you could enjoy one heart in worship. There is to be a sharing of worship.
Husband, that speaks to you–lead in worship. Lead your family to worship. Young man, if you’re looking for a young woman and you want her to be a godly mother, you better pursue becoming a godly man, because that’s the soil in which godly mothers grow best. Their marriage shared in worship–and secondly . . .
Second They shared LOVE
Look at verses 4 and 5, “And when the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, [when they went to Shiloh, they were giving their offerings at the Tabernacle and Elkanah gave his offering] he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters, but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed her womb.”
Whenever a Jew went to make a sacrifice, he would offer a certain portion to God, and a certain portion he’d take back and eat it at a feast. But it says Elkanah gave a double portion to–why? She was just so thin—”I’ve got to fatten you up, Hannah.” No. In Old Testament times, you always gave a double portion to the honored guest–and in Elkanah’s mind, Hannah was the most honored at his table. He especially loved her. He loved her in spite of the absence of children–in spite of the fact she felt terribly inferior to Peninnah, who had a whole quiver of kids. Verse 5 says, “He loved Hannah.”
Biblical love is not merely an emotion, bu talways demonstrated as an act of kindness and sacrifice, so Elkanah shows his love by giving her a double portion. This is to be true in every Christian home, as Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives”–24/7 sacrifice. Prove to her that she is always in your heart, husbands. Hannah had a right husband relationship, even though it was an unbearable situation. Yet have you considered–maybe the imperfection of Elkanah, the fear of a closed womb, the insecurity it brought, and the frustration in her heart was part of what made Hannah a great mother.
Like our Lord Jesus who suffered as a man, experiencing every temptation we will ever face without sin makes Him the perfect sympathetic High Priest–a mother who goes through unfair difficulties becomes better for it and can better understand the anxiousness of the child’s heart. In spite of the polygamy, Elkanah loved her and had become a security for her even in a very insecure situation. For verse 6 shows how it intensified—”her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly and irritate her because the Lord had closed her womb.”
She and Peninnah were competitors and Peninnah rubbed it in. She made her fret because the Lord had shut her womb. Verse 7 adds, “year by year when she went up to the house of the Lord, yet she provoked her.” Peninnah kept attacking Hannah. And Hannah wept and did not eat. When she went to Shiloh and she poured out her heart, she fasted. And Elkanah reassured her in verse 8 saying, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
Elkanah was sympathetic–he understood her hurt, so he sought to reassure her of his love. “Am I not good to you; do I not love you?” Hannah had a right husband relationship, which is the soil necessary in developing a godly mother. Godly moms are not those who love their kids but dis their husbands. Men, if our wives are not fulfilling the pattern of the model mom, then maybe the problem is we haven’t provided a loving environment for it to happen.
Ladies, rather than dis Elkanah out of jealousy because he had another wife–rather than neglect him and become bitter, she followed his worship, obeyed him, shared his love in a beautiful submission. Hannah responded to his sympathy and there is absolutely no hint of conflict between them. Yet even with all this love, the Lord had shut her womb and she had no children. Which brings us to the second element of the model mother. First, a right husband relationship, and second . . .
#2 Hannah had a right HEAVENLY relationship
Hannah knew where to go with her problem. In verses 9 to 20, she commits herself to God. You say, “That never works!”–until it’s God’s will and your heart is completely His. So Hannah pours out her heart to the Lord. She was honest and didn’t hide anything. Do you talk to the Lord about everything, even the uncomfortable things or embarrassing truths? Or when you pray, is it only the safe dinner prayers? God knows, but He wants you to be honest with yourself. You can’t fake Him out–don’t try! Talk to Him in all honesty. Commit yourself to Him. As you study verses 9 to 20, you’ll find the virtues that made Hannah a godly woman and a model mom—and all start with the letter P.
First Hannah had a PASSION for God’s best
In her mind, God’s best for a woman was to have children. And generally; she is right, that is God’s best, no matter what you’re being sold today. I’m not minimizing or lacking compassion for those who want children, but can’t. But this addresses those who can have children, but don’t, for secular reasons. First Timothy 2:15, “Women shall be preserved through the bearing of children,” meaning women undo the stigma of the fall and impact society by bearing and raising godly offspring. Psalm 127:3 to 5 says, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. 4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. 5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Children are a heritage of God–a blessing, a source of happiness. (Maybe not every day in lockdown, but still a gift.) So as Hannah prays, she asks, “God, what have I done wrong that I should have no children? I seek Your will, Your glory, and I seek Your response.” She’s not selfish, but desires a child as a sign of God’s love and as a fulfillment of God’s highest calling for a woman. This heart is basic to any godly mother–she is never a reluctant mother, but one with a passion for children, who sees them as a gift from God, a blessing of His love, a divine fulfillment of the creation of woman.
You ask, “How can I have that heart?” Stop letting the media program your thinking and start letting God’s design speak to your heart. Hannah seeks to have children, not on a whim or to hold some man–not to indulge herself or to prove her womanhood. But because she knows this is God’s best for a woman and this is the way women impact the godliness of the next generation. So Hannah’s heavenly relationship was seen in a passion for God’s best, and . . .
Second Hannah’s godliness can be seen in PRAYER
Verses 9 to 10 of 1 Samuel 1, “Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. 10 And she, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.” The first response of Hannah was to go to God in prayer. She understood God alone was the one who could alter her sterility, that children are a gift from God–not some whim or accident, but they’re God’s heritage. Hannah’s distinctive virtue was she said, “God, you’re the one who gives children; You’re the only one who can change my situation.” Look at verse 12, “She continued praying before the Lord, that Eli was watching her mouth.”
She surrendered her heart to God, affirming that childbearing is something only God can do. This is no different from Sarah and Abraham, or Zacharias and Elizabeth, who pled for children. Children are a gift from God–Hannah knew that. So Hannah sought God in prayer, but prayer with a focus.
Third Hannah had a heavenly PURPOSE
Verse 11, “And she made a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if Thou will indeed look on the affliction of Thy maidservant [she saw her inability to have a child as an affliction] and remember me, and not forget Thy maidservant, but wilt give Thy maidservant a son, [notice the directness of her prayer] then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life and a razor shall never come on his head.” (Some mother might say, “That’s exactly what I don’t want.”) She pledged her child to the Nazirite vow.
In Numbers 6, the Nazirite vow meant to be consecrated. (It has nothing to do with Nazareth.) When a Jew wanted to give himself totally to God, he vowed to drink no strong drink, not to cut his hair or spend time on his looks, but was totally devoted to God–staying away from feasts, fun, parties. He was totally set apart to God. Only two other people in the Bible were Nazirites for life–Samson and John the Baptist. Samuel is the third. Hannah tells the Lord, “I’ll give him to You and he will have no concerns for the things of this world, no concerns for the pleasures of this society. He will belong to You, Lord.”
She is expressing the honest devotion of her heart. She didn’t want a child just to compete with Peninnah, or just to show off to everybody–but to give to God, because she recognized a child was a token of His blessing. She just wanted God’s best. She vowed a vow, and Deuteronomy 30 teaches a wife could never vow a vow unless her husband agreed with her. So Elkanah is behind the scenes in wonderful agreement with his wife, Hannah.
A godly mother has a purpose for her children–to belong to God and to live for God all their lives. When you bear a child, that child belongs to God and is to live for God as much as Hannah’s child did. Those children are not your own, but a treasure for you to manage for God’s glory and God’s opportunity for you to influence society from the bottom up through them. The greatest thing a woman can do is raise godly children, for they will impact society in a way she never could in any other way. That’s what Hannah said–“I’ll give him to You.”
Now Hannah is praying, vowing, and committing herself and her child to God. And when you commit yourself to God like Hannah, everything gets better, right? Wrong. Hannah gets dumped on by the main man, the holy priest, Eli. In verses 12 to 14, Eli watched Hannah zealously pray and he presumed that Hannah was drunk. Eli is a rotten judge of character, but just when you make a stand for God, you will get tested. So what does Hannah do when Eli criticizes her? She screams at the fat jerk–no! She answers graciously and shows another godly trait of her right heavenly relationship.
Fourth Hannah had a passion for PURITY
Read verses 15 to 16, “But Hannah answered and said, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman; for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.” Eli mistook her for being a worthless, good-for-nothing drunk. So she says, “No, Eli, I am not a wicked woman.”
Listen, a godly mother is not only passionate, prayerful, purposeful with her children, but a godly woman is pure. The model mother pursues purity in thought, in action, in what she watches, talks about and focuses on. Like the quality of Titus 2:5, Hannah was pure, virtuous. She doesn’t get drunk, but she keeps her senses as she pours her heart out to God.
Fifth Hannah had a PATIENT faith
Verse 18, “So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” She changed–why? Did she get pregnant? No. It changed because she believed God and was a woman of patient faith. And God saw all these virtues and said, “This is a godly woman and this is the woman I’ve chosen to bring forth a child who shall be one of the greatest people who ever lived—Samuel.” That’s what happened.
Look at verse 19. “Then they arose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord, [Elkanah and Hannah did] and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.” The day after her prayer, she became pregnant. Look at verse 20, “And it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, [do you know what the name Samuel means? Heard of God, because Samuel was God’s answer to prayer] saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the Lord.’ ” Then in chapter 2:1,
Sixth Hannah desired to give PRAISE to God
Read verses 1ff, “Then Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation. 2There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides Thee, nor is there any rock like our God.’ “ All through verse 10, Hannah praises God. Her broken heart is gone and everything is joy, not unlike Mary’s wonderful praise in Luke 1. So here in 1 Samuel, you see a godly woman who had a right husband relationship, a right heavenly relationship and . . .
#3 Hannah had a right HOME relationship
Now we get to see how she dealt with the child Samuel in the home in verse 21. “Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow.” He just kept worshipping the Lord. Then verse 22, “But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, ‘I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord and stay there forever.’ “ She said, “Look, I would like to go up, but I can’t, because I wouldn’t leave little Samuel right now.” Hannah had a right home relationship. How did she show it?
First Hannah was DEDICATED to her child
The greatest act of worship she could offer God at this specific time was to care for the life He gave her. Going to worship God is not an excuse for leaving your child to be ill-raised. As she was nursing that child, she wouldn’t leave him. Hannah was totally committed to staying at home, training, loving, instructing–so when 90% of that life was formed by age 5, that life was committed to God. She was seeking to fulfill Deuteronomy 6, teach your children. And . . .
Proverbs 19:18, “Discipline your son while there is hope,” and Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” and 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.” Even though Samuel was small, there was correction, love and instruction. For when a mother does that, Proverbs 29:15 is not going to happen–it says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”
Leave a child to himself and he will bring you to shame. Invest prayer, the Word, godly discipline into a child and he will bring God glory–that’s the commitment. But Hannah not only was dedicated to her child, but . . .
Second Hannah DEDICATED the child to the Lord
You know, Hannah could have rationalized and said, “I need him, God wants me to have him. It’s wrong to separate a mom from her son. I don’t want Hophni and Phinehas to influence him. Just a little longer, until he grows up–30 something.” But her heart was pure and she kept her promise to God.
Look at 1 Samuel 1:24 to 26, “Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh, although the child was young. 25Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli. 26And she said, ‘Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord.’ “ I’m the woman who was here three years ago you, that you thought was drunk. Verses 27 and 28, “ ‘For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.’ And he worshipped the Lord there.”
She gave him to God and kept her promise. Now even though she gave him to the Lord, she was still a mom. Look at 1 Samuel 2:19, “And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.” She said, “I give you to the Lord,” but as a great mom, every year as he grew a little she made him a coat the next size up and brought it to him. She dedicated the child to the Lord, and she was dedicated to taking care of the child.
And Samuel grew from a godly child to a godly man. Chapter 2:11, “the boy ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.” Then verse 26, “Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the Lord and with men.” And chapter 3:19 to 21, “Thus Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fail. 20And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 21And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, because the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.”
What a child–what a man. From the time he was three, he ministered to the Lord throughout his entire life. And what humanly made the difference in his life? A godly mother. What difference should God’s Word concerning Hannah mean to you?
A Godly motherhood is the greatest contribution a woman can make in God’s eyes. If mothering is in the future for you, don’t buy into the lie that significance for women only comes through a career. Nor should young men ever put down a woman who wants to be a godly wife and mother and says so. If mothering seems to be a task of the past, God calls you to pray. You can still affect your offspring by being the woman who has a right heavenly relationship, who seeks God on her knees. Do not give up. From the heart of one ex-rebellious, unsaved child who was prayed for so diligently–my parents prayed me into the ministry. Do not stop praying.
If you are hindered by an unbelieving husband, maintain a right relationship with Heaven, your husband, and your home–and expect God to work. For you heroic single mothers, as you seek to maintain that right heavenly, home and as much as it depends upon you, right husband relationship–we pledge ourselves as a body to do all we can to help you and your children.
For those of you who won’t be physical mothers, God calls you to invest in the next generation. Don’t miss the joy of being a spiritual parent in God’s family. And for those of you with godly husbands, thank God for them this day–for your efforts in mothering are greatly intensified by their support of you.
But–Who invented men and women? Who designed male and female? Who created fathers and mothers? Never forget–you can’t be a godly mom without God. And you can’t know God without turning from your sin in repentance and relying on Christ by faith. Cry out to Christ to open your heart so you can know salvation and forgiveness. And you will never grow to be a godly man or woman, unless you depend upon the Holy Spirit alone in obedience to the Word of God.
B The consequences for IGNORING God’s plan for mothering are devastating
The Holy Spirit does a dramatic thing in this passage. God constantly talks about Samuel, and splattered through this are two other children–the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas. They were raised in a believing environment, but they never submitted their hearts to the Lord. The result is found in chapter 2:12, which says, “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord.” We will learn about them next week–the good the bad and the ugly. The contrast between Samuel and Eli’s boys shows you the importance of parenting God’s way–for the consequences for ignoring God’s plan for mothering are devastating.
C God is pleased by the HONORING of mothers
It is right to honor all those in authority–police, teachers, government employers, elders, mentors. And God commands us in Ephesians 6:2, “Honor your father and mother.” It is a good thing to honor moms. Share a tribute, write a poem, make an acrostic, share a memory and make a memory today about mom. Thank you, Jean and FBC ladies, for being such an amazing example to me. So allow me to share with you this week’s 1 Samuel LOCKDOWN CHALLENGES for FBC families.
FOCUS on MOM day–one day this week
One day this week, everything is done for mom–all the meals, all the cleaning, all the chores, all the set-up. Divide it all up and get it done. If your mom is not here, you call her and thank her again. The after Mother’s Day thank you call. If your mom is gone, then call a different mom and thank her for her influence on your life.
QUEST for QUALITY–each day this week
Each day this week, pursue one quality, one characteristic which Hannah put on display which is like Christ, that you are going to remind each other and seek to live out. God’s best–patience, prayer, purity, praise. Something which will help you become more like Hannah–for everyone at home. Hey, let’s have more patience.
DITCH the IDOL–all week
Hannah gave up what she loved. It’s healthy for believers to give up some of the things they love in order to give more heart, more focus, more time and more affection to the Lord they love. Pick any one thing you love a lot, you do a lot–and tell each member of your family or your friends, “I am giving this up this week in order to focus more time in prayer with Christ.” Let’s pray.