- Sermon Notes
1 Samuel 1:1-28
As we open the book of 1 Samuel, we turn back to a time period in biblical history that is known as the beginning of the end of the period of judges in the nation of Israel. Before Israel had and earthly king, there were a series of judges that God used to rescue His people from their enemies and lead them back to Him.
The period of judges was around 350 years, and as we turn to 1 Samuel we are introduced to the family of the one regarding as the last judge in the period of judged, and his name was Samuel. He was the final judge in the period of judged, but also the first prophet and one who operated in the role of priest (1 Samuel 7:6, 15-17; 3:20; 2:18). Samuel was chosen by God to usher in the period of kingship. The people had gone from a theocracy (led by God), to anarchy, and by the end of the book, they will be a monarchy with a king. We will see Samuel appoint Israel’s first earthly king, Saul. Then we will see Saul’s downfall and Samuel will anoint the next king, a man after God’s own heart named David.
Samuel is an important figure because the offices that God was going to use him in were at a low point.
The priesthood was corrupt, many judges were compromised…
After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, Joshua led them into the promised land. From Judges 2:10 we read that after Joshua died and the generation of people who were a part of his generation, another generation rose up that did not know the Lord, or the work the Lord had done for the people.
The people began to do evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord raised up judges. Due to sin and idolatry, the people would end up in trouble, the Lord would provide a judge to save them. Conditions would improve, the judge would pass away, they would return to sin and idolatry. It was a constant cycle of sin and deliverance. The people rebelled, they found themselves in trouble, then the people would repent, and the Lord would deliver them.
The people were placing conditions on their commitment to the Lord. When conditions were good, they often went astray, and when they were bad, they turned toward the Lord and asked him to save. These were conditions of the nation in that day, and their commitment to the Lord was based on their conditions…In the book of Judges 21:25, we read these words about the conditions of the nation… “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Though this depicts the picture of the nation…The Lord had some whose lives tell us a different story, and as we open to 1 Samuel 1 this morning, we will read a very uncommon story in that day. We will study the story of Hannah, who rather than doing what was right in her own eyes, was devoted to the Lord with unconditional commitment.
Illus. What will it take?
From Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1, we will look at three ways Hannah displayed unconditional commitment to the Lord in her life. And from her life, from her commitments, I want to look at our own responses to our conditions and encourage you beyond your conditions when it comes to the Lord in your life and your commitment to Him.
Read: 1 Samuel 1:1-8
As we begin this chapter, we see Hannah’s conditions. Right out from the start, we notice an issue. She is one of her husband’s two wives. That right there depicts conditions that would present problems. Elkanah loves Hannah more than Peninnah; yet Peninnah has was Hannah desires.
Hannah is depicted as hurting while Peninnah, noted here as her rival, is blessed. This brought great turmoil to Hannah as she was taunted and provoked by the one who had been given an abundance of what she deeply desired, a child. Her husband would try to fill the void by giving more of what he could to Hannah, but whatever he gave simply would not do.
Hannah was being given a double portion, but it wouldn’t do, it wasn’t what her heart desires and so she turned to her proper portion, the Lord and it was in Him she would confide. This is a powerful picture for you and I. When our conditions are not ideal, where do we go and what is revealed in our response? Let’s consider our first encouragement from Hannah’s response…
- Persist Toward the Proper Portion
- After being introduced to Elkanah, and given some details about his family, our attention is drawn to some circumstances that were happening yearly.
- Every year, his family would go to the place of worship and offer a sacrifice to the Lord.
- The offering, or sacrifice referenced, seems likely to be a peace offering, it was a sacrifice of thanksgiving. It was a voluntary sacrifice where those participating would be given portions of the offering to eat (Lev. 7:11-18).
- The scene, however, was anything but peaceful.
- As Elkanah gave out portions of the sacrifice to his family, he would give portions to Penninah and her children, but to Hannah, he would give a double portion.
- The double portion would be given to Hannah, “because he loved her,” and this would be done right in front of Penninah.
- This portion control set up seems to have bothered Peninnah as she would then provoke Hannah to irritate her, because she was unable to have children.
1 Samuel 1:7, And it happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, that she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat.
- Hannah was provoked and reminded of what was lacking in her life.
- This would happen, year after year. Verse 7 tells us, and it happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, Peninnah would provoke her.
- This was not the only yearly occurrence…
1 Samuel 1:8, Then Elkanah her husband would say to her, “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?”
- Notice the language, it doesn’t depict a one-time statement from Elkanah, it seems that this would be his general response when Hannah would week and not eat after being provoked…
- “Why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than 10 sons? vs. 8″ …Hannah did not respond.
- While marriage is an incredible union, established by God, there was a destiny in store for Hannah, her coming son was a part of purpose for which she had been created, she could not let it go.
- Had Hannah looked for the affirmation of people in her affliction, she would have missed out on making the Lord her only portion. Her husband tried, gave her a double portion of food, but it wasn’t enough.
- So easy it is to assume when others are struggling that we can make it all better for them…Or when our heart is hurting, or our life is lacking that the weight of the burden can be lifted by a person, a program, a position, or pursuing a double portion of what will satisfy temporarily.
- There are places where the Scriptures use metaphors to describe God and our relationship to Him. God is described as our rock (Psalm 18:2), refuge (Ps. 46:1), stronghold (Ps. 18:2), shield (Ps. 18:2), shepherd (Ps. 23), light (1 John 1:5), fortress (ps. 18:2), to name few…But one metaphor for God that I want to make special mention of is that He is our portion.
- The Hebrew word for portion is “Cheleq” (hay-leck) which is inclusive of portion, share, award, territory, inheritance. This term is found 68 times in the Old Testament.
Psalm 73:26, My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 142:3-5, When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see; for there is no one who regards me; there is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul. I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, “You are my refuge, My portion…”
Lamentations 3:24, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks Him.
- Hannah was not in the greatest of conditions. Still she kept the Lord as her portion. She did not walk away from him, but we actually see her go toward Him in the next section.
- Seek Before You Speak
- After Hannah gives no spoken response to Elkanah, she sought the Lord in the place of prayer.
- There is much Hannah could have said.
- Well, since you asked…No, you aren’t more to me than 10 sons. Hannah could easily have spoken out against Penninah and torn her down because Elkanah seems to have loved her more. But she said no words, rather, she sought the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:9-10, Then Hannah got up after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.
- Instead of retaliating or finding ways to get back at Penninah, Hannah went to the place of prayer. She decided to seek the Lord before speaking to another.
- There is a great lesson here. Many people find themselves in a difficult dispute or in an unjust situation. Some respond by trying to hurt others with their bitter words, but Hannah did not allow herself to go there.
- There is a great deal Hannah could have said.
Illus. Hannah vs. Peninnah.
1 Peter 3:9(a), Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. (NIV)
Proverbs 20:22, Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and He will save you.
Romans 12:17-21, Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- In the Bible we are told to draw near to the Lord, and when we draw near, He responds to us by drawing near to us (James 4:8).
- The way the Lord has for us to go when other speak evil…
Matthew 5:43-44, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Luke 6:27, I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
- So often we can read those verses and say, “Jesus, you lost me at “love your enemies…” It is not often we ever see that modeled in our world presently.
- But it was something Jesus modelled for you and me.
- It was Jesus who is seen in Luke 23 being hated, insulted, mistreated, beaten, ridiculed, reviled, and hung on a cross to die, but at the time he spoke these words, “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
- Jesus went to the Father, so too, when our conditions leave us conflicted, we must follow His model.
- Hannah models that for us as well.
1 Samuel 1:10-11, She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she made a vow and said, “Lord of armies, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your bond-servant and remember me, and not forget Your bond-servant, but will give Your bond-servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”
- “Lord, if you give me a son, he will be yours.”
- Year after year that Hannah was provoked, to the point of weeping and a loss of appetite.
- Though her appetite was gone for the things of this world, her hunger for the child God would increase all the more. No doubt she had prayed many times, but it was at this time, that her prayer would be answered.
- The Lord heard her prayers each time she called upon Him (Psalm 34:17, 69:33; Proverbs 15:29), yet this time her heart was in line with His divine timeline and plan that her son would be given to the Lord all the days of his life.
- It seems that the circumstances she was in, were driving her to a place she otherwise would have never been. A willingness to dedicate what God would give, back to Him.
1 Samuel 1:12-18
- As Hannah is praying to the Lord, her posture was misunderstood by the priest.
- She seems to be misunderstood by her husband, misunderstood by the priest, mistreated by Peninnah.
- But that does not stop her from pouring out her soul before for the Lord. She did not stop seeking the Lord.
- Eli misjudged the appearance of things, but the Lord was watching, and after casting her cares, and her anxieties upon the Lord, she received surpassing peace.
- She understands the Lord heard, and from the priest she hears, “Go in peace, and may God grant the request you have asked of Him.”
- Hannah was given the gift of peace, and joy. Her conditions had not yet changed, but it was going to. Things were looking up for her, and as we close out the chapter, we will see her unconditional dedication, even when she was given the child she prayed for.
III. Decide on Dedication in Every Situation
1 Samuel 1:19-23
- The Lord answered Hannah’s prayer.
- She had a son, and she named him Samuel, which means “asked of God.”
- She remembered her prayer, she remembered that it was God who she prayed to. That is was God who she poured out her soul to, that it was God who this blessing was by and through, and she also remembered her vow, that it was to God she would offer this blessing to.
- When her husband would go up for the yearly sacrifice, Hannah would stay back. Her plan was to ween the child and at the time, she would dedicate him to the Lord, “all the days of his life.”
- When she told her husband, his response was, “do what seems best to you.”
- What was best to her, would have come with it challenges. The time Hannah would have raising her son would be uncommonly precious, she would have around 3 to 5 years with him. Knowing each day that she would give him over to be raised in the house of God very soon.
- Still, Hannah kept her vow.
1 Samuel 1:24-28
- Hannah’s commitment to the Lord was unconditional. When she did not have what her heart deeply desired, she was devoted to the Lord. When she was living in want, mistreated, misunderstood, and lacking in what she was desiring, she stayed committed. Then when she had been given a great blessing from God, she remained committed, and determined in her devotion.
- When Hannah said to Eli, “I have dedicated him,” you could translate that, I have given him, or returned him to the Lord. The Lord gave him to me. I’m returning the child to him.
- And this child given would become a mighty prophet, a righteous judge, and a powerful priest. He would be given to the Lord at a time of great need. He was called to a time and a day such at that.
- Hannah’s thoughts on it all are revealed in the beginning of 1 Samuel 2.
- Hannah’s prayer there is filled with thanksgiving to the Lord, her heart rejoices, she knows that the Lord is her rock and there is none like Him, and all things are by through, and to Him.
Illus. As long as you live.
Psalm 62:8, Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us.
Habakkuk 3:17-19, Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.
1 Samuel 1:1-28