Dedicating our Children to God – Hannah’s Example

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When we open our Bible’s to First Samuel and begin to read, we find that things were at a low ebb spiritually at that time in the history of Israel. Deep spiritual darkness hung over the temple of God, the center of worship and the place of God’s manifest presence for the children of Israel. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were abusing their sacred position in the temple for the sake of their own lusts, thus bringing disgrace upon the Name of God (2:13-17; 22). There was a famine of the Word of God in the land – “…the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.” (3:1). In chapter 4, the Philistines overcome the Israelites in battle and captured the ark of God. When Phineas’ wife heard the news, the shock put her into labor. The name given to her child really sums up the desperate state of affairs – “And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken…” (4:21). If ever Israel needed a fiery prophet of God, it was now. As God’s eyes searched the nation, looking for one to whom He could shew Himself strong (See II. Chro. 16:9), He found a humble woman, sobbing deeply in prayer in the temple. Her name is Hannah. She carries the burden of barrenness and longs for a child. From Hannah’s prayer, we can see that she was a spiritual woman. Her prayer went beyond a mere desire for the fulfillment of the natural drive to enjoy motherhood. Verse 11 of chapter one says, “And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life…” Little did Hannah know, as she felt the first movements of a little baby in her womb, that she was going to give birth to a prophet whose prayers and preaching, would shake the strongholds of spiritual darkness in the nation. A prophet whose name would go down in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. Please observe that the key was in Hannah’s total surrender of her child to God’s will. She placed little Samuel entirely upon the altar and didn’t selfishly hinder the will of God for His life. This is where the challenge comes home to us as parents. Will we place our children unreservedly and wholeheartedly at God’s disposal? God forbid that we should ever be found guilty of preventing the outworking of God’s eternal purposes in the lives of our children. Let us always remember that the children entrusted to our care really belong to God. If we have this attitude it will change our perspective on the future destiny of our children. May we know God’s enabling grace in this matter.

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