FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED – 1 Samuel 1:1-20

May 10, 2022

FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED – 1 Samuel 1:1-20


Listen to last week’s sermon: For This Child I Prayed found in 1 Samuel 1:1-20

Pastor Eric opened his sermon on May 8, 2022 (Mother’s Day) with an enthusiastic greeting to all mothers, expressing his appreciation for who they are and what they accomplish every day. Then, he encouraged us all to contact our mothers or visit them in order to express our gratitude.

Thanks to Anna Jarvis, the very first Mother’s Day celebration was held in a church during a worship service in the early nineteenth century.

Read Hebrews 4:16 NKJV

He also pointed out that Hebrews 4:16 states that we can approach God’s Throne of Grace with boldness!

Pastor Eric spoke today about a woman in the Bible who longed to become a mother but could not because she was barren. In her words, her inability to have children was an affliction. Her response to this affliction sheds valuable light on who she was, her relationship with God, and her character. The example she sets for us today is inspiring.

Read 1 Samuel 1:1-2

The book of First Samuel depicts the stories of Saul, the king of Israel, David, the man after God’s own heart, and Samuel, the prophet and judge who appointed both Saul and David to rule over Israel. However, the book begins with the story of Hannah, a godly woman who was incapable of bearing children due to her infertility.

Children were an essential part of a Jewish marriage. Through them, they would leave a legacy to future generations. In the case of a barren person, the family was no longer viable as they were unable to reproduce. In many cases, this issue was so serious that it was cause for divorce. The problem was always attributed to the wife. Therefore, it was permissible for the husband to divorce his wife and marry another woman. Divorce for this reason was well accepted in the community. That was Hannah’s predicament. Her husband loved her very much, but as she could not leave him a legacy, he decided to marry someone else.

Read 1 Samuel 1:3 and 2:28-29 

As described in chapter 2, Eli’s sons were greedy and immoral priests. They would pressure people to give them a portion of the sacrifice they were to offer God. By taking more meat than they should have, they took from the person offering the sacrifice what rightfully belonged to God. The offering of the Lord was treated with contempt.

Read Malachi 3:10-11

Pastor Eric adheres to the tithing principle. He has been committed to this principle for more than 22 years. Scripture declares that those who sow generously will reap abundantly. Human generosity can never surpass that of God. We can all tithe regardless of our income. As Christians, it is our duty to honour the Lord, not only with the words we speak but also with our finances.

Although Pastor Eric is a strong proponent of tithing, he believes that people should never be pressured to give.

The two corrupt priests forced people to give them a portion of the offering that did not rightly belong to them for their own personal use. If you hear someone on television or behind a pulpit assert that giving to their ministry will lead to physical health and prosperity, beware, because these statements are not only wrong, but they are also unbiblical.

Read 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

According to Paul, we are to be cheerful givers. By refusing to tithe and withholding donations, we are not only robbing God but also depriving ourselves of the Lord’s blessings. In order to see the fullness of God’s blessing, we must be prepared to put Him to the test. Pastor Eric does not claim that we will grow rich, but rather that by giving, God will watch over us and pour out His blessing on our lives.

Read 1 Samuel 3:1

In the days when the sons of Eli were forcing people to give them a portion of the offering that did not rightly belong to them, the Lord seldom spoke directly to people. Why? Because there was no prophet and immorality had infiltrated the church. Samuel, however, brought about change. One can therefore conclude that the lack of prophets and visions was due to the dark spiritual climate in the church. The leaders were at odds with the Lord.

Read 1 Samuel 1:4-8

In this passage, Hannah was not only barren but also provoked by her husband’s second wife. Although the festival was filled with joyous celebrations, year after year, when she went up to the House of the Lord, she wept and refused to eat. Many scholars believe that this festival was the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkot, a week-long Jewish holiday that commemorates God’s protection of the Israelites in the wilderness. Even though Hannah is repeatedly reminded of her inability to conceive, she deals with her grief admirably.

Read 1 Samuel 1:9-11

In this passage, Hannah negotiates with God. She tells the Lord that if He gives her a son, she will dedicate her child to Him. She made a promise to the Almighty that the child’s head will not be shaved. This promise was similar to the Nazarite vow, where a person would abstain from consuming grapes in any form and would refrain from shaving his or her head for the duration of the vow. This passage does not mention that it was a Nazarite vow, but historical records indicate that the person avoided touching dead bodies or ingesting anything containing grapes.

Read 1 Samuel 1:12-14

As Hannah continued to speak to the Lord from the depth of her heart, only her lips moved; she did not utter a sound.

Eli’s spiritual discernment is the subject of many theories, but no one can fault him for misinterpreting what was happening to Hannah. At the festival, Eli observed a childless woman weeping while everyone else was rejoicing. She appeared distressed and afflicted. In light of this, it would be reasonable to assume that Hannah was drinking to numb her pain.

Read 1 Samuel 1:15-16

There is no question that Hannah was angry, hurt, and frustrated and did not want to have her worth diminished. However, she was revealing her heart to the Lord. The important point here is not that Hannah wept, but rather that she wept before the Lord.

Read 1 Samuel 1:17-18 and Philippians 4:6-7

Hannah arrived at the festival distraught and left the festival at peace. She arrived mourning and left feasting. In Philippians 4, we are instructed not to worry about anything. In fact, we should ask God for everything we need, since the peace of God, which is infinitely greater than our capacity to comprehend, keeps our hearts and minds focused on our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Pastor Eric reminded us of the power of our words. Following this, he invited us to find someone in need of encouragement and to speak blessing over that individual’s life. Doing so will improve that person’s mood. Hannah left the festival feasting. Rather than turning to the bottle to ease her pain, she chose to weep before the Lord.

Pastor Eric shared with all moms today that one of the most powerful things on earth is the fervent prayer of a mother. He said,

You may be suffering silently within and, every so often, it might seem as if the enemy is whispering in your ear, reminding you of all your limitations and shortcomings, and mocking your efforts. The devil may be reminding you, year after year, of what you cannot accomplish. You may feel barren in an area of your life, but do not be discouraged, as what you know is not as important as Who you know.

Read 1 Samuel 1:19-20

In this passage, God satisfied two needs: not only did he give Hannah a child, but He also provided a prophet for the nation. Through Hannah, God blessed Israel. Prophetic visions from the Lord were relatively rare prior to Samuel.

One never knows what can be wrought through prayer. Though we may not have physically given birth to anyone, we may have fostered spiritual growth.

There is something intriguing about the fact that many great men of the Bible were born to barren mothers: Rebecca gave birth to Jacob; Jacob’s wife, Rachel, bore Joseph; Isaac was the child of Sarah; and Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist.

Pastor Eric invited his congregation to bring to the Lord any issue which keeps us awake at night and we will see His work in due time. The Almighty, who remembers each and every one of us individually, also remembers our prayers. All throughout the Bible, God is depicted as having a deep love for His people. Therefore, let us not hesitate to turn to Him in our affliction.

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Additional resources:

Small groups discussion notes.(Connection Groups)