Sunday School Lesson

DEC. 07, 2003

SAMUEL: A CHILD DEDICATED TO GOD

Bible Background—1 SAMUEL 1:1-2:10; LUKE 1:46-55

Focal Verses—1 SAMUEL 1:20, 26-28; 2:1-8

Devotional Reading—1 SAMUEL 1:9-18

 

LESSON AIM

1.        We will know how to approach GOD in prayer

2.        We will understand the importance of unburdening our hearts in HIS presence

3.        We will ask GOD to reveal areas of our lives that are not submitted to HIM.

 

KEEP IN MIND

“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of HIM: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:27-28).

 

Hannah prayed for a son and the LORD graciously answered her prayer. Hannah dedicated her son, Samuel, to work in the temple from the time he was a little boy. When Hannah took him to the temple, she sang a beautiful song of praise to GOD.

 

By way of background, this lesson is centered on Hannah, a servant of GOD who dedicated her son, Samuel, to the LORD. Hannah was married to Elkanah, who was also married to Peninnah. Penninah had children, but Hannah had none. Hannah was grieved by the fact that she could not bear children, and to make matters worse; Peninnah, her rival, ridiculed and irritated her to the point of tears. In spite of Peninnah's cruelty, Hannah faithfully submitted her desire to have a son to GOD.

Hannah recognized the power of GOD and knew HE was able to open her womb. Despite her husband’s open devotion and love for her, Hannah continued to plead with GOD to give her a son (1 Samuel 1:4, 8). She promised the LORD that if HE would grant her a son, she would give him back to GOD to serve HIM all the days of his life. GOD opened her womb, and she gave birth to Samuel.

 

1.       PERSISTING IN PRAYER (1 Samuel 1:20) 

Some blessings come to pass only after relentless and continuous prayer. Prior to Hannah’s conceiving and giving birth to Samuel, she had prayed fervently to GOD for a son. “Fervent” means to show great emotion and passion for something. “Persistent” means to endure, continue, and refuse to give up. Hannah prayed out of a deeply grieved heart, so that when she opened her mouth, her voice was not heard, yet from the depths of her heart she cried out to GOD (1 Samuel 1:13).

Out of sadness, Hannah wept and prayed to GOD. Hannah pursued GOD with undying passion (1 Samuel 1:10). She did not allow her rival’s taunting to distract her prayer life. When we are burdened with grief and seeking GOD to move on our behalf, the most important thing we can do is persevere through continuous prayer. Hannah did not seek relief from anywhere else. She planted her trust firmly in GOD and expected the LORD to answer her prayer.

Hannah’s attitude in prayer epitomizes the prayer life of a believer. First, Hannah prayed from her heart. Because GOD searches the heart and examines our motives, we are in a better position to receive what we ask from GOD when we approach HIM with a sincere heart (James 4:3). Hannah’s sincerity of heart is evident in the way she approached GOD. She was submissive, willing, and possessed a servant’s attitude in prayer. She did not demand that GOD meet her needs, but approached GOD with humility (1 Samuel 1:10-11).

Secondly, Hannah asked of GOD. Recognizing GOD as our source is the beginning of receiving from GOD, and the WORD reminds us, “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). Hannah recognized GOD as giver and provider. She did not let her childless state induce bitterness of heart to the point of not asking GOD for help. So often when we are despondent, resentment and self-pity set in and we stop asking GOD for help. Hannah refused to allow her circumstances to defeat her.

Thirdly, Hannah expected GOD to meet her need. Expecting GOD to move on our behalf is crucial. We cannot receive from GOD unless there exists a sincere desire to receive what we ask of HIM, and we cannot receive from GOD unless our prayers are characterized by great expectations! Hannah could not have prayed with so much intensity unless she was praying to SOMEONE she knew could fulfill her request.

Asking GOD for what we need is essential, but unless we expect HIM to move on our behalf, our prayers won’t reach HIS attentive ears. We should approach GOD with confidence, knowing that HE hears the voice of HIS children and delights in giving us good gifts (Mark 11:24; James 1:17; 1 John 5:14-15).

Last but not least, we should not give up. Hannah’s perseverance is a shining example of how we should approach GOD in prayer. When we struggle with unanswered prayers, we should not give up. Hannah was persistent and sought GOD for an answer. We should not allow circumstances to hinder our seeking the LORD in prayer. The WORD reminds us to “pray with out ceasing” and to give continual thanks to GOD in al situations (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

 

2.       GIVING TESTIMONY (vv.26-27)

It is a good thing to give testimony to GOD’S provisions and blessing. This brings glory to HIS name. Hannah was grateful for GOD’S provision and shared her testimony with Eli. She had waited a long time for a son, and now the LORD had granted her petition (v.26).

Sometimes when we cry out to GOD in the midst of our pain and suffering, others will interpret our behavior as ungodly or unnecessary. When Hannah returned to the house of the LORD, she told Eli that she was the woman who had stood next to him praying for GOD’S FAVOR. Hannah prayed so fervently that words could not be heard coming from her mouth. When Eli saw her praying, he thought she was drunk (1 Samuel 1:12-14).

Knowing Eli was a man of GOD, Hannah eagerly shared her feelings with him, and he quickly encouraged her to go in peace and trust GOD (1 Samuel 1:15-17).

When Hannah left the temple after praying and speaking to Eli, she was a changed woman (v.27). Her attitude and demeanor were different. Eli had encouraged Hannah to trust in GOD. He told her, “Go in peace: and GOD of Israel grant thee…that thou hast asked of HIM” (1 Samuel 1:17). At that point, Hannah made a decision to trust GOD and leave her future in HIS hands. She and her husband returned home, and within a short while, she gave birth to a son, Samuel (1 Samuel 1:18-20).

Hannah shared the circumstances that surrounded the birth of her son with Eli because he had played such a pivotal role in her life. His encouraging words and his request that GOD would grant her divine favor proved to be of substantial significance. Furthermore, it was not by coincidence that she stood next to him in prayer.

Eli remembered Hannah and knew the LORD had honored her request for a son; and now this once barren woman, whose womb the LORD had so graciously opened, was returning her firstborn child back to GOD. What a powerful testimony to the goodness of GOD! Hannah and Eli witnessed the kind of miraculous victory that COMES ONLY FROM PERSISTENT PRAYER. No doubt Hannah’s testimony encouraged Eli’s heart, and he received her son without hesitation.

 

3.       GIVING SACRIFICIALLY (v.28)

 After Hannah conceived and gave birth to Samuel, she weaned him until he was approximately three years old. Hannah did not bring her son to Eli right away. She told her husband she must wean and nurture her son first. No doubt Hannah desired to spend quality time with her child. After all, this was her first offspring. After Samuel was weaned, Hannah prepared an offering, went to Shiloh, and worshipped the LORD (1 Samuel 1:23-25).

Hannah’s behavior demonstrates three aspects of giving that believers should follow. First, it demonstrates the kinds of gifts and sacrifices we should give to GOD. Hannah gave GOD her most precious gift, her long-awaited son. When we give to GOD, we should give our very best to HIM. Our praise, worship, tithes, offering, service, and time should all be sacrificial gifts to GOD.

Our giving to GOD should be done with preparation and in worship. Worship honors GOD. Our gifts should be given as a sign of worship, honoring GOD’S goodness. GOD is worthy of praise and honor (1 Chronicles 16:25; Psalm 145:147).

GOD deserves the very best portion of our time because HE gave us HIS very best, HIS only begotten SON, JESUS CHRIST, who died on the cross for us (John 3:16).

Hannah dedicated her blessing to GOD. She recognized that children are gifts from GOD and belong to HIM. When we acknowledge that we are only stewards and not owners of the blessings that GOD GIVES US, we can freely give the things that already belong to GOD.

 

4.       GIVING GOD PRAISE (2:1)

Hannah praised the LORD for answering her prayer. She made a joyful noise and thanked GOD for everything HE had done. Our praise should also be filled with rejoicing, giving GOD the glory, and delighting in HIS great and wonderful works. GOD inhabits the praises of HIS children when we praise HIM.

Mary, the mother of JESUS, praised the LORD in a similar manner after an angel had told her she would give birth to our SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST (Luke 1:46-55). Praise eliminates the possibility of pride or flesh taking responsibility for GOD’S work. When our hearts rejoice in the LORD, it is an unspeakable joy! It means to feel a deep, sincere appreciation for the things of GOD. It means giving GOD genuine, thankful praise.

 

5.       ACKNOWLEDGING GOD’S JUSTICE (vv.2-8)

 Hannah praised GOD for HIS holiness. Holiness means having divine power. Only GOD is HOLY, which means that only GOD has supreme control over all things in heaven and on earth (v.2).

Hannah referred to GOD as a rock. A rock is sturdy and solid. JESUS is described as a rock in Matthew 7:24, indicating that HE is the solid foundation and that whoever builds their hope on HIM will not perish. GOD’S WORD is the foundation on which all things rest, and when we build our hope on the foundation laid by GOD, we build it on solid, reliable ground that is firm, sturdy, unchanging, and unyielding. HE is a solid source of divine protection.

Hannah spoke boldly against arrogance (v.3). Peninnah operated out of selfishness and pride when she regularly humiliated Hannah. Hannah’s behavior demonstrates the reaction we should have toward those who insult us. She did not get even with Peninnah: instead, she took her request to GOD in prayer. It is GOD who measures the deeds of man and weighs the heart; in other words, HE knows the intentions and motives behind every action, and HE alone distributes judgment at the proper time.

Hannah’s prayer speaks loudly of the providence of GOD and of how HE lifts the weak and weary out of their destitution while the lofty are brought down (vv.4-8). It is GOD who makes one wealthy, exalts one over the other, and sets those HE chooses on the throne of honor. Ultimately, GOD is the “commanding general” over our lives.

Like Hannah, many adults struggle with infertility, and some suffer severe emotional stress because they mistakenly associate their self-worth with their ability to have children. Others who have children may find their self-worth in positions, titles, and possessions and spend little or no time dedicating their services to GOD and HIS kingdom.  This week, spend time in prayer and ask GOD to reveal to you areas of your life that are not surrendered to HIM. Ask HIM to tell you if HE is PLEASED WITH YOUR SERVICE, TIME AND GIVING TO HIM. Submit yourself to GOD, and allow the LORD to minister to you. Then, do whatever the LORD instructs you to do.

THINK ABOUT IT!!!!

Spiritually Yours,

Rev. Chris Lowe, Sr., DD

  Email Dr. Lowe


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