MOMENTS WITH THE MINISTER: Lend your children to the Lord
This week we begin a new study in the ancient scriptures of the Prophet Samuel. I Samuel is an Old Testament book that contains the history of the first king of Israel - Saul, and its second- David. It is filled with stories that will help us see how the Lord wants us to live with a heart set on him. The world and all that it has to offer competes for our affection and time when it comes to the Lord. We see that in the stories of Saul and David, and we certainly see it in the story of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel.
Elkanah was Hannah’s husband. She was living in a polygamous marriage, and the other wife’s name was Peninnah. There was strife and lots of it. Peninnah was often mean to Hannah, and often brought up the issue of her barrenness. They did have the good habit of worshipping together at Shiloh where the temple of the Lord was located in those days. Hannah was worn out from her constant turmoil with Peninnah, and her heart was broken before the Lord. One evening she arose after supper, and went by herself into the temple. There she threw herself on the altar of God, and pleaded with Him to give her a son. She even made a vow that she would lend her son to the Lord for all the days of his life, if the Lord would only give her a son. Eli, the priest, saw her, and thought that she was drunk. He didn’t recognize a passionate and desperate praying person. I guess he was used to dealing with drunk people at the altar instead of godly women who were desperate for a miracle from the Lord. He apologized and blessed Hannah, and she went home happy. She had gotten all of her tears out as she poured her heart out completely before the Lord.
Soon after she returned home she became pregnant, and bore a son. She named him Samuel, which means- “I asked the Lord”. If we were to translate into our own vernacular, we might say Samuel’s name meant “answered prayer”. She did not go back up to Shiloh the following year to worship the Lord, but when he was old enough, (probably 3 years of age) she took him up to the temple and gave him to Eli the priest. He was to belong to the Lord, and to live in that temple from childhood, learning what it meant to serve God and to know God. She kept her vow, and she gave back the treasure that God had given to her.
Mothers and fathers, no matter how you might try to slice it, your children are treasures and gifts given to you by the Lord. Hannah knew that. It was a great sacrifice for her to keep her promise. Samuel grew up to be a mighty prophet in word and deed in his time, but that would have never happened if his mother was unwilling to lend him to the Lord. Dear parents, lend your children to the Lord. There are so many things in this world that you can lend your children to. You can lend them to sports, to family fun days, to hobbies, and to school activities, but if you don’t lend them to Jesus, then what will their souls' destination be? What a tragedy that many parents make sure their children are happy in this life, but yet hell bound into the next. The scripture says that Satan prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. Often it is the little ones who are preyed upon by the strong predators. Our society is feeding its children to the wolves when it teaches them only material things are important. By neglecting family worship, and putting work, play, and rest above the worship of Christ - we are teaching our children that the Lord Jesus is of little importance. And so they walk out of their homes into schools that are often godless, jobs that are godless, and a world that is anti-god. The lion is on the prowl. What are we giving them and teaching them that will protect them from the lies and the danger of the enemy. Lend them to the Lord. He will protect them. He loves them, but if you won’t bring them to church, if you won’t teach them the Bible, if you won’t show them the truth, then they are sheep without a shepherd. Lend them to the Lord. He will keep them, save them, and bring them back to you filled with joy unspeakable.
Brian Taylor began his ministry as a young man on the foreign mission field of Togo, West Africa serving with the International Mission Board of the SBC. He spent almost a decade serving as a music and youth minister in the Panhandle of Texas. He loves preaching and pastoring on the southside of Sherman. He has been married to his wife Sarah for 17 years, and they have five children. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.