I Samuel 1:28
"Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD."
I recently read in my devotions the account of Hannah in I Samuel. The brief glimpse into her life has always fascinated me, but this most recent read through particularly held my attention. It may be because I'm in a different stage of life. I'm a mother now, with only a few more weeks left before I can meet my little girl. I can understand and relate to Hannnah's desire for a child like I never could before. Or, it may be the new desire I have to grow in a different area of my Christian walk - Godly motherhood. To me, Hannah is a beautiful example of a woman, wife, and mother who loved God fully and completely.
I have been meditating on the first two chapters of I Samuel quite a bit over the past week. Disclaimer: I am no theological scholar and am just beginning to study this out for myself, but here are some thoughts that have rebuked and encouraged me in my desire to be a Godly mother to my little girl.
1. Hannah's earnest prayers to God for a son reflect a deep devotion to God and not selfish motivation. Any person looking in on Hannah's family life would consider Hannah completely justified to be angry about being barren. After all, her husband had taken another wife who had borne many children. Apparently that was a major source of contention in the household. Hannah could have easily prayed for a child so that Peninnah would stop taunting her. In essence she would be saying, "God, give me what I want so that my life will be easier." We have no evidence of that kind of heart attitude in Scripture though. What we see in v. 11 is a prayer for a son with a promise to "give him unto the Lord all the days of His life." From what I understand so far, this promise Hannah makes seems to be saying, "God, I give him over to you, I entrust and designate his life to you." Without knowing if God would ever answer her request, she made her devotion to the Lord evident by dedicating her son to His plan, His work, and His service.
2. Hannah's life demonstrates her continued faithfulness to God. By giving her son the name Samuel, Hannah is proclaiming God's work in answering her prayers. (I Samuel 1:20) Hannah also fulfilled the promise she made to the Lord before Samuel was ever born. When he was weaned, she returned with Samuel to the house of the Lord to offer him up to the Lord's service for the rest of his life. (vv. 24-26) To me, this is an example of how Hannah's faithfulness to God overshadowed any selfish desires she had to be a mother to this little boy. It seems that she recognized the gift that had been given her and only knew of one way to respond in thankfulness to God for that gift, by giving it back to Him. In verses 27-28 Hannah states, "For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD."
3. Hannah's heart radiates her unwavering love for God. Immediately after giving up her son to the Lord's service, essentially relinquishing any control she had over his life as his mother, Hannah prays a prayer of praise to God. (I Samuel 2) In this praise song, she extols many of the Lord's attributes while recognizing the smallness and sinfulness of men in comparison to the greatness of God. It seems to me that such an outpouring of praise could only come from someone who had an intimate relationship with God, someone who knew and deeply loved Him.
Application for my life: This is pure conjecture on my part, but I am sure that Hannah shared this story with Samuel many times in the few short years she had with him. She may have even reiterated it on every trip they made to the house of the Lord after that. From what little we see of Hannah's life in Scripture, I do not doubt that Samuel knew his mother loved God with her whole heart. I'm sure he also knew that it was her earnest desire for him to cultivate that same love and desire to serve God with his life.
What about me? Do I demonstrate these same spiritual characteristics in my life now? A deep devotion, a steadfast faithfulness, and an unwavering love for God. Are these qualities evident to my husband now? Will my daughter see them daily lived out? Will I faithfully teach them to her? Will she understand that my earnest prayer for her is that she know the Lord as her Savior and desire to serve and love Him wholeheartedly all the days of her life?
The Lord has blessed me with a precious gift. I choose now, in thankfulness, to give her back - to dedicate her life to His plan, His work, and His service. I choose now to actively pursue a close, personal relationship with God that is consistently demonstrated by my deep devotion, steadfast faithfulness, and unwavering love for God.