Lesson 1: God Answers Hannah's Prayer
(Scripture to Read: Samuel 1:1 - 2:36)
The birth of Samuel was a blessed event in Israel. This great leader came on the scene at the end of the judges, a dark period in the nation’s history. Samuel served as Israel's last judge, and he also functioned as a priest. But his greatest role was that of a prophet, a spokesman for God who called Israel back to faithfulness. Samuel also anointed Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David.
But all of this was far in the future the day that Hannah, the wife of an Israelite named Elkanah, cried out to God to give her a child as she worshiped in the Tabernacle at Shiloh. Hannah was a devout woman, and God heard her prayer. She had promised to give her child back to the Lord, so when Samuel was still a small boy he was brought to the Tabernacle. There he served under Eli, the high priest who presided over a corrupt nation. In the midst of this unfaithfulness, Samuel grew and served the Lord. An unnamed prophet pronounced judgment on Eli and his family, opening the way for Samuel to assume the leadership for which he was so well qualified.
- Why were Elkanah and Hannah at the Tabernacle in Shiloh?
- Why was Hannah so heartbroken over her inability to have children?
- Why was the promise Hannah made to God (1 Samuel 1:11) so significant for the life of both Samuel and the nation of Israel?
- Who were the main perpetrators of the corruption occurring in Israel at this time (1 Samuel 1:3; 2:1217, 22)?
- Why was God’s judgment on Eli and his family so harsh, as described by the unnamed prophet (1 Samuel 2:2736; see also 3:1214)?
It is easy to make promises to God when we are asking Him to do something we want very much, and we often do so with good intentions. But sometimes those good intentions fade after we have received what we requested. Hannah’s faithfulness to God in fulfilling her vow reminds us not only to be careful in the promises we make, but to be ready to keep them whatever the cost.