New Baby. New Beginning (1 Samuel 1-3)
The birth of Samuel is a very good story. It’s an interesting story. It’s the beginning of the story of one very important man, but it’s also a story of a mother’s great faith. During the time of Judges, the nation of Israel was in bad shape; they lacked godly leadership and the people weren’t following God (does this sound familiar to you?). The High Priest and his family were a laughing stock. In chapter three, verse one, the author notes that, by this point, God really wasn’t interacting with His people much anymore.
So they were in this terrible situation, and God did something that He’s done in other times of great need. He sent a baby. A new baby is a new beginning, and in sending one, God shows us that He is aware of the need and He cares, and Genesis 30:1-2 kind of tells us why. That passage states, “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I’ll die!’ Jacob became angry with her and said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?’” We see from this story that a new life is a miracle – and it’s one that only God can perform. And to draw even more attention to it: sometimes, God chooses a barren woman to be the mother who will bring this child into the world. Sarah gave birth to Isaac, Rebekah gave birth to Jacob and Essau, Rachel gave birth to Joseph, and Hannah gave birth to Samuel.
We also see here in 1 Samuel 1 that Hannah wasn’t just your average woman. She was a woman of tremendous faith, and she’s a great example. Think about this barrenness that she struggled with. The spiritual maturity model in Romans 5:2-5 states, “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Although Paul hadn’t yet penned these words, Hannah worked through them as a perfect example. She suffered greatly in her barrenness, but through this, she persevered, and she persevered. And through her perseverance, she developed character. And she suffered and persevered and developed more and more character until she developed a hope that was anchored in the rock-solid promises from God. Hannah didn’t lash out at Penninah; she climbed the Romans 5 maturity model instead. What a woman of faith! What a woman of prayer!
Her prayer recorded in Scripture is powerful. We don’t see all the words, but the Bible captures her emotions, and we can feel her pain as she cries out to God in anguish, asking for His help. Warren Wiersbe said, “It’s an awesome fact that, humanly speaking, the future of the nation rested with this godly woman’s prayers, and yet, how much in history has depended on the prayers of suffering and sacrificing people, especially mothers.”
Mothers, you are so important. Your PRAYERS are so important. Your COMMITMENTS to God are so important. The Bible doesn’t record anything at all about the birth of Saul or David, and they’re important to God’s story too, just like Samuel is. But we do get to read about the birth of Samuel because you don’t get Samuel’s story without Hannah’s. You don’t have a boy grow up to be a man like Samuel without a Mother who cries out to God and honors her commitments to Him, even when it costs her everything she has.
Mothers are important. Mothers are a key part of God’s plans. You see, the nation of Israel already had a high priest – they had Eli. But while Eli and his family were religious, they were actually godless. But Hannah stepped in and honored the Lord, gave birth to a son, and the entire future of Israel rested on the shoulders of this young man who was the result of the anguished prayers and faithfulness of this Godly woman.