Sermonic Title: “The Strength, Endurance, and Power of a Good and Godly Mother”
Biblical Text:1 Samuel 1:1-20
Date:Sunday, May 12, 2019
Speaker: Dr. Joseph
A. What does God say about mothers and motherhood?
- The mother is the giver of life: You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb ~ Psalm 139:13
- She is the architect of her home: The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. ~Proverbs 14:1
- Motherhood is a gift from the Lord and the presence of a mother at home and society contributes to stability, order, organization, equity, love, equilibrium, relationality, and reciprocity, and human flourishing: Proverbs 31:10-12 and 25-31
B. Some Truths about some biblical mothers
- Eve, the wife of Adam, was the first mother: Genesis 3:20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
- Sarah, the wife of Abraham, became the mother because of a divine miracle: Genesis 21:1-3 The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. 2 And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.
- Rachel, the mother of Joseph was the first mother on record to lose her life in childbirth: Genesis 35:16-18 Then they journeyed from Bethel. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor, and she had hard labor. 17 And when her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for you have another son.” 18 And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
- Mary (Salome), the mother of James and John, was interested in her children’s eternal security and position of kingly power next to the Messiah: Matthew 20:20-21 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”
- Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, was righteous and fervent prayer-warrior was righteous: Luke 1:5-6 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.
C. Some Characteristics and Roles of a Christian Mother
a) The biblical mother is a teacher, in fact one of the first teachers recorded in human history:
- Deuteronomy 4:9-10 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’
- Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
- Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.
b) The biblical mother is a disciplinarian (her role): She disciplines her children toward godliness and to cultivate moral virtues and theocentric values:
- Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
- Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.
- Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
- Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother
D. The Background to the Text
- Many commentators such as John MacArthur called 1 Samuel 1:1-20, “classic profile of a godly mother.” The name Hannah means “grace.”
- “Hannah’s life often mirrored that of the original matriarch, Sarah. Most of all, she mirrored Sarah’s amazing faith and perseverance.
- Hannah, an obscure wife, and her husband Elkanah lived in a little village called Ramah from the hill country of Ephraim (v. 1:1)
- Her story is told in a tragic period of Israel’s history.
- The priests Hopni and Phinehas, both are sons of the high priest of Eli, were known as some of the worst priests in the history of Israel. They were greedy priests who exploited the people of God who brought sacrifices to the Lord. They did what then considered unholy and defamed to God. Some of their sins include their stealing the best portions’ people’s offerings that were reserved for God (2:13-16). Through this act, they dishonor God and defame his glory among his people.
- They used their religious power and influence as priests (or pastors) to seduce the young women of the town (v. 22). They laid with women (2:22-24) and their life of corruption and manner of greed are publicly exposed (2:12-17). As a result, they did not set a good example for godly living and faithfulness to the Lord.
- Their bad reputation was widely known in the city, and their father, the high priest Eli, did not consistently discipline them (v.24).
- The Bible tells us that God judges Eli for dishonoring his name (2:28-29; 3:14, the latter is through God’s prophetic warning through Samuel) and predicts that the sons will die (2:25, 34).
- It was during this time of transition, the reign of godlessness and effective leadership in Israel that the ark of the covenant, a tangible symbol of God’s presence and glory in Israel, was lost to the Philistines and was not to be recovered (1 Sam. 4:10-11). The Philistines was taken from the place of worship known as Shiloh after the Philistines conquered the Israelites through battle.
- This time of spiritual darkness is described in this short sentence “the glory has departed” (4:12-14).
- It was during this time, Hannah, the barren mother, would stand out as the beacon of light and a model of godliness in Israel’s history.
E. Four Major Points About This Text
- The endurance of Hannah
- We learn about the endurance of Hannah, the barren wife, through a life of humiliation and dehumanization from the rival wife of Elkanah: Peninah. Penninah had children, but Hannah was barren. Peninnah humiliated Hannah because of her inability to conceive for her husband. She provoked her and caused her to grieve (v.1). The author emphasizes that Peninnah’s insults towards Hannah heightened the moment they went up to Shiloh to worship. She did it continually (v.7) as to contribute to a bad worship experience for Hannah. Yet Hannah is going to her moments of grief and sorrow to develop a life of persistent prayer. Penninnah’s provocation to Hannah will also contribute to Hannah’s godliness, continual pursuit of God for comfort and deliverance, and her ultimate cling to the feet and altar of God. Hannah wept before the Lord, and the Lord heard her cries. In fact, the name of her son Samuel means “I have asked for him from the Lord” (v.20) or Samuel means “name of God” or possibly “offspring of God.” As a bible scholar inferred, “Samuel bore the name of God, who gave him to Hannah” (ESV Bible Study, p.492).
- Hannah’s grievous life is characterized by a life of “anxiety and vexation” (v.16); that contributes to her inability to eat (v.7); she was depressed and “distressed,” according to verse 10. The wept with passion, rage, bitter (v.9).
- One of the reasons Elkanah took a second wife because her first wife Hannah was barren and could not bear him heir. Hannah was Elkannah’s first wife. In the ancient world, children were important to family and a man’s heritage. Elkanah had to raise an heir for himself. In the case that the first wife could not conceive, the other option was for the man to take a second wife to solve the problem (Ge. 16:2)
- Yet the Bible tells us twice in verse 5 and 6, it was the Lord who has closed Hannah’s womb. So, God intervened in Hannah’s life in two ways: by closing her womb, which brought her distress and affliction, and by opening it for the eventual birth of Samuel (v. 20), which turned her distress and tears into a life of joy and celebration.
***Throughout this time of Hannah’s humiliation, dehumanization, and moments of trials and hardships, as a portray of a godly mother, she relied on God for her value and her worth. She trusted God, submitted to his will for her life, and continued a life of persistent prayer.
- The godliness and legacy of Hannah
- There are many pointers in the text that indicate that Hannah lived a life of godliness and steady devotion to God:
- She often accompanied her husband Elkannah to the yearly visit to Shiloh, the place of worship (vv. 3, 7, 9, 12, 20, 21,)
- She was a praying mother and one who prayed continually to God (vv.9, 10). Hannah prayed silently to God (v.13) because the God of knowledge, as she frames God, knew the intentions of our hearts and sees our mourning and secrets. God understands when it hurts and we have no words for prayer or when words are not enough to convey to him our pain, suffering, and our affliction. Through her silent prayers, the Bible says, according to Hannah’s confession to Eli, “For all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation” to God (v.16). Here, she wanted the priest to join her in prayer and to intercede before the Lord in her behalf. The high priest Eli did exactly that by blessing Hannah with these words: “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made of him” (v.17). The words of Eli brought great consolation and comfort to this godly mother, according to verse 18. Two important and historic prayers of Hannah are recorded in prayer, which reveal a life of total devotion to God: 1:11; 2:10).
- She humbly called herself as a servant of God (v.11) and the woman who [usually] stood in the temple in God’s presence (v.26).
- Not only Hannah prayed to God for a child, she also prayed for the child before she conceived him: “For this child I prayed” (v.27).
- She made an important vow to God if he grants her a son, “she will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall tough his head.” This verse clearly indicates Hannah’s desire of a life of godliness for her son Samuel (v.11). The Bible says that God honors her prayer, that is, “He remembered her” (v.19). God’s remembrance of this afflicted woman would turn to a moment of deliverance, a moment of conception, and a historic moment of great joy and delight not only for Hannah and her husband Elkannah, but the people of Israel whom the godly leadership of Samuel will the people to their God. Moreover, Hannah’s desire for godliness for the baby Samuel is affirmed in a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving, as recorded in verses 26-27, “And she said, ‘Oh my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. For this child, I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore, I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he is lent to the LORD” (vv.26-27).
***The Bible states not only God gave Hannah her first son, Samuel, He blessed her with multiple children: three other sons and two daughters (vv.21).
Hannah and Mary: The example of Mary, the mother of Jesus
- Hannah’s hymn of praise, as recorded in 1 Samuel 2:10, was the model prayer for Mary’s significant, as recorded in Luke 1:46-55
- Hannah and Mary formally dedicated their first son to God—a mark of godliness and dedication to the Lord: Hannah dedicated little Samuel (1 Sam. 1:24-28), and Mary dedicated little Jesus (Luke 2:22-24)
- Submissive to God’s will: Luke 1:38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”
- Godliness and humility: Luke 1:46-48, And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
- Obedient: Luke 2:22-24 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
3. The goodness of Hannah
- Despite her endurance and moments of trials, the Bible tells us that she never retaliates toward her rival Peninnah. Instead of her retaliation or fighting back, she takes her trouble and burden to the Lord, as we are instructed to do in Peter. She never fights back when Peninnah humiliates her and makes her feel worthless and that she is not worthy to be a mother.
- She remained faithful and devoted to her husband. Elkannah loved Hannah more than Peninnah, which is also indicative of Hannah’s deep affection, love, and commitment to her husband (v.5).
- Eventhough little Samuel lived in the temple with Eli, Hannah regularly cared and provided for her young son. The author states that “Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy clothed with a linen ephod. And his mother used to make for him a little robe and it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice” (2:18). Not only this godly continued to invest in her son spiritually, she provided for him materially and physically. Spiritual investment is a mark of godliness and biblical discipleship, which we learn from the godly Hannah.
- The power of Hannah or the consequences of a godly mother
- Her impact upon raising a godly man for God: through Hannah, God establishes Samuel and publicly affirms him as a man of God. God’s call to Samuel to ministry is reported in Samuel 3:1-29.
- Her son Samuel became a towering figure in Israel’s history. He was the last of the judges. He was a prophet chosen at birth, and a priest and the one whom God has chosen to formally inaugurate the true royal line of Israel by anointing David as King—from whom the ancestral line of the Messiah Jesus originated.
- Hannah reared her son in godliness and in the ways of the Lord. Samuel would become a godly man who loves God (3:1-2) and will lead Israel in spiritual light during the time of idolatry, godlessness, and the turning away from God’s laws.
- The attention to Samuel’s spiritual growth and development, and his attention God to the divine matters, and his leadership effectiveness and role as a priest, prophet, and judge in Israel, as recorded in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, are deeply connected to Hannah’s godliness, teaching, leadership, and her devotion to God and her young son and her family. These examples underline her power and the consequences of a godly mother. Consider these examples about Samuel’s greatness because of Hannah’s faithfulness to God:
- “And He worshiped the LORD there” (v. 28)
- “Then Elkanah went home to Ramah. And the boy ministered to the LORD in the presence of Eli the priest” (v.11).
- “Indeed, the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the young man Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord” (2:21).
- “Now the young man Samuel continued to grow both in statue and in favor with the LORD and also with man” (2:26).
- “Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was not frequent vision” (3:1). Yet the Lord has revealed himself to Samuel.
- Samuel embraces the title the Lord’s servant (3:10) as his mother called herself the servant of the Lord.
- “And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD” (3:19-21).
*** “The birth of Samuel is God’s answer to the prayer of a childless woman; he is also the answer to Israel’s need for a prophet who will give God’s guidance to his people in their transition from the period of the judges to the period of the Kings” (ESV Bible, p. 491).
Samuel and the sons of Eli: Comparison and Contrast
- While the Bible reports the wickedness of Eli’s sons (2:12-17), Samuel was approved by Eli (2:18-21).
- While Eli reproves his sons for their sins (2:22-25), Samuel was growing in favor of God and the people surrounding him (2:26).
- While God pronounces judgment against Eli’s sons through the prophetic word (2:27-36; 4:11-18), Samuel is called to the ministry and God gave up the prophetic word (3:1-4:1a)
- While the Philistines defeated the Israelites and took the ark and Eli’s sons defiled God’s covenant (4:1b-24), the ark of the covenant was returned, the Israelites had victory, and the covenant was renewed under Samuel (7:2-17)
***Source: The ESV Bible Study, pp. 494.
Hannah’s deep theological hymn of praise: a theological masterpiece (2:1-10):
- In the prayer, Hannah exalts God for his salvation (1) and magnifies him because of his holiness (2);
- She acknowledges God is One who intervenes in human history (v.3) and tells us exactly what happens when God moves in our lives (4)
- According to Hannah, God is sovereignty in the way he controls man’s life and death (6). God cares for the poor and gives them honor and raises them from their shame. God’s sovereignty over his creation is affirmed (9). He sustains everything by his power. He is a light to those who obey him, just like his word is a lamp to the feet of the righteous (Ps. 1)
- Hannah declares God’s victory over those who hate God and the good news of his gospel is that God reigns supreme and forever (10).
- Hannah acknowledges God’s goodness toward her (2:1)
- She uses word “your salvation” as a reference to God’s redemptive intervention in her life resulting in her giving birth to a son. She called this divine action as God lifted her up before her enemies, perhaps Pininehah, her rival (“My mouth derides my enemies”)
- In the prayer, she acknowledges the holiness of God and his transcendence.
- God is a Rock, which means that he is reliable, steady; he is consistent and will keep his promise to those who trust him.
- 3 seems to indicate Hannah’s rebuttal to those who hate God.
- God’s knowledge is affirmed because God knew her pain, sorrow, affliction, and has not overlooked her misery. God assesses the actions of people and the dispositions of people’s hearts, according to Hannah’s hymn of praise.
A. God and the Mighty
- Judgment is pronounced against the mighty
- Their bows are broken (v.4). they’re defeated by God
- Those with excess of food who do not share with the poor, God will take away their food
B.God and the Weak
- God renews the strength of the feeble (v.4)
- God gives food to the hungry (v.5)
- God makes the barren produce children (v.5)
- God lifts up the honor and shame of the poor (v.7)
- He restores the needy and gives them hope, a future, and new destiny (v.8)
In the godly pattern of Hannah, the biblical mother is highly praised and blessed because of her godly leadership in the family, her love for her family and children, and her kindness and generosity:
- Proverbs 31:28, Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her
- May she who gave you birth be happy. ~ Proverbs 23:25
- A kindhearted woman gains respect. Proverbs 11:16
- So be happy with your wife and find joy with the woman you married. Proverbs 5:18
- Find a wife and you find a good thing, it shows the Lord is good to you. ~Proverbs 18:22
- You made all of the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. ~ Psalm 139: 13
- Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
- Titus 2:4-5 … and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
- Proverbs 3:10-12, 25-31