Love that Sacrifices

Her life was really no different than her friends her age. A fine young man had taken her hand in marriage and they began to make a home.

Like all Hebrew women she could hardly wait for her first child. Oh how she hoped it would be a boy, a son.

A son to carry on the family heritage to continue in the steps of his father.

She just knew it would be a boy. Their first child. She would love and care for him. He would be their pride and joy.

But as they celebrated their first anniversary she was more apprehensive for there was no son, no baby. Each month they had hoped that there would be a sign of new life within her.

It was not only a point of stress and even distress to not have a child it was considered a curse. All the relatives had begun to talk about them and she knew it. And even as some encouraged her to just be patient, that a child would come in time she had begun to loose heart.

After they were into the marriage five years all hope was now lost. The man and wife had begun to realize they would grow old alone together. No children and grandchildren would grace their table. There would be no great stories to tell or long walks with children in their old age. And worst of all there would be no one to carry on the heritage of her husband, to possess all they had gained and to possess the land, God's sacred inheritance. It would now go to the children of one of his brother's sons.

They both knew there was a way around this problem. It was not uncommon but it was also not without its own drawbacks.

Many men who had taken a wife who was barren for one reason or another might take a second wife. The purpose was not so the man might have two wives but so they might have children to carry on the family. And although this was common it did have its complications. They law of Moses sat down some very stern rules concerning the first wife was to be treated and how the wife most loved could not be favored over the other.

We do not know the details but some how they made the tough decision that her husband would take a second wife.

It was difficult for both of them. Their love was still fresh and strong and to bring another into that simple relationship could cause all kinds of problems. But it seemed to them to be the only way out.

Their hearts had been broken over their childless home, and the guilt they each experienced only added to their sorrow. But now their hears would allow another person into their home. They could only pray this was a good choice.

But now we come to the present. Things have not all worked out as everyone had hoped. There were not children but there was an ongoing conflict. And for her, the first wife the situation has reached an almost unbearable state. Let us read about it.

1 Sam 1:1-8

Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3 This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there. 4 And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the LORD had closed her womb. 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat. 8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, "Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?" NKJV

  1. She brings here burden to the Lord
    1. Her loving family has become a place of torment.
      1. She is in bitterness v-10
      2. She understands the hardness of life and how unfair life is at times.
    2. Although her husband still loves her most, her rival is unrelenting.
    3. Hannah could have very well blamed God.
    4. She could have made demands on her husband that would have only made matters worse.
      1. She saw he loved the children.
      2. She knew how the children had filled out his life.
    5. She pleads for God's mercy, His help.
  2. Hannah's Vow
    1. She promises God that she will lend her son to the Lord all the days of his life if the Lord would bless her with a son.
      1. "Hannah's emotional plea included a vow to give the son she yearned for to God, to serve Him as a Nazarite (cf. Num. 6). Was this offering God a "pay-off"? While it might be so understood, the biblical vow is better seen as an expression of thanksgiving, offered to God in the expectation that He intends to bless the worshiper. At the same time, a vital spiritual principle infuses Hannah's promise. Before we are ready to receive many of God's blessings, we must commit them to Him. Surrender purifies and prepares us so we are not harmed by God's good gifts."
      2. Far from blaming God she confirms her trust in the Lord by such a commitment.
    2. Hannah loves God and has always worshiped Him as is seen in her song of praise.
      1. 1 Sam 2:1-10

"My heart rejoices in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

2 "No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.

3 "Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the LORD is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed.

4 "The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength. 5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, And the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, And she who has many children has become feeble.

6 "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. 7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. 8 He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory.

"For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, And He has set the world upon them. 9 He will guard the feet of His saints, But the wicked shall be silent in darkness.

"For by strength no man shall prevail. 10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

"He will give strength to His king, And exalt the horn of His anointed." NKJV

  1. Her commitment to the Lord seems to us to be too much.
    1. How can she give her son to God.
    2. How can she give her greatest desire most up to God.
    3. How can she sacrifice to the Lord what she has the greatest desire to have.
  2. But she is faithful to all she vows.
    1. The child is born in the next year
    2. She keeps him at home until about three to five.
    3. Then she takes him to the tabernacle to be trained in the Lord's service.
    4. She has now given back the child that the Lord gave her.
    5. And that son becomes the last of the judges of Israel and its first teaching prophet.
    6. He will anoint kings over the nation.
    7. He will become the means by which God will once again communicate to His wayward people Israel.
  1. Let me ask you a question. "Did Hannah love the Lord?"
    1. How do you know?
    2. Our text never says so in so many words.
    3. You know by what she willing to sacrifice.
  2. Sacrifice and service.
    1. God has called many women and mothers to sacrifice and service.
    2. Hannah stepped up to the challenge
    3. And the Lord blessed her.
      1. 1 Sam 2:21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the LORD. NKJV
      2. Hannah's reproach was taken away.
    4. Hannah means grace and she certainly had God's grace on her.

Let me speak to everyone, not just the mothers.

What are you willing to give up for God?

What are you willing to risk for God?

In his book Written in Blood, Robert Coleman tells the story of a little boy whose sister needed a blood transfusion. The doctor had explained that she had the same disease the boy had recovered from two years earlier. Her only chance for recovery was a transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the disease. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor.

"Would you give your blood to Mary?" the doctor asked.

Johnny hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled and said, "Sure, for my sister."

Soon the two children were wheeled into the hospital room--Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and healthy. Neither spoke, but when their met, Johnny grinned. As the nurse inserted the needle into his arm, Johnny's smile faded. He watched the blood flow through the tube.

With the ordeal almost over, his voice slightly shaky, broke the silence. "Doctor, when do I die?" Only then did the doctor realize why Johnny had hesitated, why his lip had trembled when he'd agreed to donate his blood. He'd thought giving his blood to his sister meant giving up his life. In that brief moment, he'd made his great decision.

Johnny, fortunately, didn't have to die to save his sister. Each of us however, has a condition more serious than Mary's, and it required Jesus to give not just his blood, but his life.

-- Thomas Lindberg, Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 1.

Have you noticed anything missing from today's "love"?

Lottie Moon was converted to the claims of Christ on December 22, 1858. She then renounced her aristocratic background and served as a missionary in China for nearly five decades.

Her sacrificial love can be summed up in this one quote: "If I had a thousand lives, I would give them all for the women of China."

Today, the ingredient of sacrifice have almost disappeared from the recipe for love. In half of modern day bonds, those involved are looking for what they can get rather than what they should give up.

Meanwhile, the other 50% has become slightly acquainted with self-denial. Yet, so often when they become sacrificial and it isn't fully appreciated or even recognized, they spoil the gift with their negative reaction.

Christmas is a time to reacquaint ourselves with perfect love--faithful love that expects nothing in return.

Speaking of the birth of Christ, the Bible says: "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10 NIV).

--Timeless Reflections P.O. Box 700, FB, GA 30542


I. Hannah--A Godly Mother (1:1-2:11) taken from Wiersbe Outlines

A. Her sorrow (1:1-10)

While God's perfect pattern for the family from the very beginning had been one husband and one wife, "because of the hardness of men's hearts" (Matt. 19:8), God permitted polygamy. See Deut. 21:15-17. Elkanah was a godly man but he had a divided home, and his favorite wife, Hannah ("grace"), carried a constant burden of sorrow because of her barrenness and because of the persecution of the other wife.

B. Her supplication (1:11-19)

Hannah was a woman of prayer, so it is no surprise to find her son Samuel a great man of prayer. So burdened was her heart that Hannah left the feast without eating and went to the tabernacle to pray. (The world "temple" in 1:9 simply means "a large public building" and does not refer to Solomon's temple which had not yet been built.) Hannah did not "bargain" with the Lord; rather, she proved her spirituality by willingly offering God her best--her firstborn son. Verse 21 suggests that her husband agreed with the vow; see also Num. 30:6-16. The Nazarite regulations are found in Num. 6. Eli, the High Priest, certainly judged Hannah severely (Matt. 7:1-5), especially considering that his own sons were "sons of Belial [Satan]" (see 2:12).

C. Her surrender (1:20-28)

God answered Hannah's prayers and sent a son, so she named him Samuel, "asked of the Lord." Jewish women weaned their children at about the age of three; at that time Hannah took Samuel to Eli and fulfilled her vow to the Lord. The three bullocks were probably for the sin offering, burnt offering, and special offering for the Nazarite vow; see Num. 15:8. "For this child I prayed." What a testimony from a godly mother! See 2 Tim. 1:5. If we had more parents like Elkanah and Hannah, we would have more godly people like Samuel. "Lent" means "given"; Samuel belonged to the Lord for the rest of his life.

D. Her son (2:1-11)

While Elkanah was worshiping (1:28), his wife was praying and praising God. Compare this passage with Mary's song in Luke 1:46-55. In both cases, the women praise God for His victory and for honoring the prayers of the humble. Note the two names of Christ in 2:10--"His King" and "His Anointed" (Messiah, Christ)--for Hannah's burden was for the glory of the Lord among His people. Hannah certainly exemplifies a godly mother, for she put God first, she believed in prayer, she kept her vows, and she gave God all the glory. Wiersbe