Hug them tightly and hold them loosely

6th May, 2014 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

Hannah, the mother of Samuel, was a godly woman and a godly mother.  I was asked to do a brief devotional for a friend’s baby shower, and the more I thought about what I would say, I kept thinking about Hannah. Then I did some study and realized she is a godly example for young moms today.

Elkannah, Hannah’s wife, was a Levite and a devout worshipper of the LORD, a quality unusual to find in Israel at a time when the religious climate was one of decay and neglect. But Elkannah regularly went to the tabernacle at Shiloh to worship the LORD at the annual feast days. All his family went with him, and his second wife Penniah took advantage of the situation to mock Hannah who was childless.  Hannah endured Penniah’s mean-spiritedness and didn’t retaliate, but her sorrow made it impossible for her to particular fully in the religious feast. The Jews were not permitted to eat of the joyous festival meal if they were in mourning, and Hannah was mourning her barrenness, a fact she couldn’t forget because of Penniah’s jabs.

Another evidence of Hannah’s godliness was that she acted respectfully to the priest Eli when he misinterpreted Hannah’s behavior. She went to the tabernacle, laid her petition before the LORD and left the tabernacle no longer downcast and trusting the LORD.

The LORD answered Hannah’s prayer and gave her a son. She showed her grateful response by naming her son, Samuel, which means “asked of God.”  His name would be a constant reminder to her of God’s tender mercies and His faithfulness in hearing her plea for a son. Tenderly, she nursed Samuel and while she provided physical nourishment, she fed him spiritual truth about the LORD God whom he would serve faithfully his whole life.  She loved him and held him close, but when the time came she was true to her promise to the LORD. She took Samuel to the tabernacle to life with Eli and serve the LORD.

What do we learn from Hannah?  The LORD has given us our children to love deeply and to train in the ways of the LORD, but they are not really not ours. They are the LORD’s, and He has entrusted them to us for a time.  None of us are Hannahs, and our sons will not be a great prophet like Samuel, yet the same applies to us.  We are to hug our children tightly, but hold them loosely for the are God’s gift to us to love and to train for the kingdom of God.

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