Mother's Helper

Bible Book: 1 Samuel  1
Subject: Mother; Mother's Day; Faith; Prayer; Hope
Introduction

Our world is filled with troubled people. A teenager stands before his parents with a traffic ticket in hand and thinks his world has come to an end. A young wife and mother leaves Monday morning late for work with two crying children, a husband who pays her little attention and a sink full of dirty dishes at home, and wonders how she can keep going. A middle aged couple have a daughter who has gone astray and they sit silently in despair wondering where they went wrong and what they can do now. An older woman walks out of the doctor's office with the report that she has only months to live and deals with the fear of what she has to face in the future.

Our world is full of problems. Some small ones, some large ones and a lot in between. Some problems are financial, some are physical, some are psychological, some are spiritual, and others range from family difficulties to business hardships.

What do we do when trouble comes our way? How do we respond? There is a right way and a wrong way to respond to life’s problems. Today we are going to read about a would-be mother who found help in her time of trouble. She wanted a child but seemed unable to have one. Her husband had made a terrible mistake. He had married two women! It was legal for him to do that in his country and in his generation, but it was foolish.

Someone well said that it is not God's will to marry more than one woman and he proved  it with the Bible. He said, "The Bible clearly says that no man can serve two masters!"

I will tell you something we had better learn in this country, just because something is legal does not make it wise, prudent or positive. In fact, it may be legal and yet lethal. Ask the families who have lost loved ones due to drunk-driving accidents. We are going to learn, one way or another that legalized abortion is a hateful law against unborn children. Believe me, one day the judges will have to stand before the Judge. One day the authorities will have to stand before the Supreme Authority. One day the potentates, prime ministers and presidents will stand before the King of kings and Lord of lords. Something may be legal and yet it may be stupid!

Well, if you could have asked Elkanah, he would have been glad to tell you that polygamy was legal but not wise! He had two wives. Peninnah had children and his other wife, Hannah, had none. Peninnah took every opportunity to demean Hannah and make her feel like she was less than a real woman and true wife to Elkanah. There were a lot of tears in that household. Elkanah probably shed a few tears himself. When I read the Scripture in a moment I want you to notice how he, like any good husband, tried to console Hannah in her tears. Like most attempts by husbands, his effort was not very effective. When a woman's tear ducts open up her ear drums close up! Elkanah had to learn the hard way about a woman's physical anatomy, and about her heart.

What did poor Hannah do? Well, let me tell you! What she did was absolutely wonderful. She put into practice three principles for overcoming hardships. If you don't have a problem today, write down these three principles, for you will need them sooner than you think. Over and over again in the Bible, people found victory by using these three principles. Let’s look at the Scripture and the principles which brought victory to Hannah and can bring victory to you and me!

I. THE "COME TO THE LORD" PRINCIPLE

I know what some of you are thinking. You are saying to yourself, "O preacher, surely you know that we have enough sense to take our problems to the Lord." Well, actually I am not sure if you do or not, but that is not the question. You see, I'm not talking about taking YOUR PROBLEM to the Lord; I'm talking about taking YOURSELF to the Lord. We must not be guilty of seeking the gift that God gives and not seeking the Giver of the gift! We must not merely want a prize from God, but we must desire the person of God! Note with me three things about coming to the Lord in a proper manner.

A. Note the OVERTURE ABOVE HANNAH

Hannah could come to the Lord only because the Lord had given a WORD and the Lord had made a WAY. Please do not miss this; if you do, you will miss the most important element in the process of overcoming a hardship. We don't just come to the Lord because we want to; we come because He loves us and has made it possible.

You will note that Hannah went to the Tabernacle (called the Temple in this passage). The Tabernacle was located at Shiloh. What was the Tabernacle? It was two things. It was the result of a WORD from God and it was the Way to God. You see, God had given the Word for the Tabernacle to Moses about 300 years earlier. God called it a place where He would meet with His people. It was a place where sacrifice was made for the sins of the people. It was a place pointing to the coming of the Lord Jesus and the provision He would make at Calvary through His blood! I know Hannah did not understand all of that, but she had God's invitation to come and she had God's declared way to come. That is the way she came.

O, precious friend, do you understand the glory in the fact that God has declared a way for us to meet with Him and that He has made a way for us to do so. All through the Bible he has given us a Word of invitation.

After Adam sinned God came calling for him - calling Him to come out from his hiding place and meet with God.

God called Noah into the Ark for the saving of his family.

God called Lot out of Sodom before destruction came.

In Isaiah 1:18 He said, "Come now let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool".

In Isaiah 55:1 God speaks, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!"

In verse three He states, "Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live."

Jesus said, "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give your rest."

In Revelation we read, "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life". (Revelation 22:17 )

The overture of love is calling from above us. God is telling us to come to Himself! He says, "Those that seek me early will find me". Dear friend, God has given us a WORD of invitation. That is the only one reason you can come. But that is not all!

God has given us a WAY to come. At the Tabernacle Hannah was confronted with the blood sacrifices which were offered every morning and every night. Without the blood that was shed by our Lord for our sins, we cannot come. We know now that all of the blood of bulls and goats was a mere foreshadowing of the sacrifice which Jesus would make at Calvary for us! We can come to God only if we come by way of the blood. In fact, the person in this room today with the greatest problem of all is the person without Jesus Christ. You can come to Him, but you can only come to Him in the way He provides. You must turn from your sin and by faith accept His blood sacrifice poured out at Calvary.

Hannah came because God had given a Word of invitation and a Way of acceptation.

B. Note also the OPTIONS BEFORE HANNAH

When we are facing hardship, you can be sure that Satan will open up other options for us than the one way that God calls for. Hannah had some other choices from which to chose.

1. Revenge was a choice
2. Running away was a choice
3. Rebellion was a choice

Hannah rejected these lesser choices and accepted God's Word and Way! Success or failure hung in the balance as she made her decision. Any other choice would have led to destruction!

C. Note furthermore the OPPORTUNITY WITHIN HANNAH

Every problem is the seed of a miracle. Every need is an opportunity to prove your obedience and faith in God. Hannah had an opportunity because she had a problem. She would never had realized the miracle without the misery. So you have a problem today! Well, glory to God, you have the seed of a miracle at your fingertips. Just make sure you listen to the overture above you from God and not the options the world, the flesh and the devil place before you.

Hannah came to the Lord! Today is a special day. I believe today that God is going to call people to come to Him. He is calling you to come through His Word of Invitation and His Way of Invitation so that you can find victory!

Now let's go on to the second principle. You see, just knowing we can come to God is not enough. Even coming and standing there before Him is not enough either. There is something more.

II.  THE "CALL TO THE LORD" PRINCIPLE

One day Jesus was passing by a certain place. There was a blind man there by the side of the road. He called out to Jesus and Jesus stopped. Others tried to stop the man, but he would not cease His calling out to Jesus. When the man came to Jesus, the Lord asked, "What would you have me do for you?" He asked for His sight, and it was granted. It was not enough that He was close to the Lord as He passed. It was not even enough that Jesus stopped before Him. He had to tell the Lord what He needed!

Hannah prayed in our passage. Her prayer was an act of calling out to the Lord. If you and I would overcome our troubles, we must learn to come to the Lord and we must learn to call to the Lord. The songwriter penned,

"O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer" (Lyrics by Joseph Scriven, 1855)

One of the Psalms which the children of God used to sing as they marched up Mount Moriah to the Temple was 121. It begins, "I will lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 46 states, "...the Lord is an ever-present help in time of trouble". Let us call to the Lord!

A. Hannah's prayer was Fervent

Hannah prayed an ardent, passionate prayer to the Lord. It was felt, not just spoken. Remember what James said, "The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much!" Yes, indeed, the fervent prayer of a righteous woman availeth much as well!

B. Hannah's prayer was Focused

She did not pray some generic prayer! She spoke directly to the Lord about a specific problem. This is the kind of praying that produces results.

Moses prayed and the Red Sea opened up

Elijah prayed and fire fell from heaven

Daniel prayed and lions lost their appetite

The church prayed and Peter was delivered from prison

All of these were fervent, focused prayers!

C. Hannah's prayer was Firm (see vs. 12)

She kept on praying! That is what Paul did! He prayed through three seasons of prayer regarding his thorn in the flesh. At last he got an answer. It was not what he asked for, but it was what God wanted and what Paul needed! God told Paul that His grace was sufficient in his time of need. Paul said that he would rather glory in his infirmities that the power of God would rest upon him. God gave him sufficient grace to deal with his problem.

I do not want to lead you to believe that Coming to God and Calling upon God will always get you what you want, but it will get you what you need. But you must be firm till God gives you an answer! There are some women here today who have desperately prayed for a child, but you have not received what you asked for in your earnest plea to God. Perhaps God is telling you that He has other things for you to do. Maybe He is asking you to trust Him and to be faithful to Him even though you do not receive what you desire. Let God's grace be sufficient for you. His power may rest upon you more in this way than any other way. Your lack of a child may seem like a stabbing thorn in your side, but God can wrap you in His grace and grant you something many others do not experience - the power of God available through trusting Him in a time of denial of your prayer. I know it is easy for me to say, since I don't have to go through that experience, but that is what the Bible teaches us.

Remember this, "The Lord is night all them that call upon Him". ( Psalm 145:18)

III. THE "COMMIT TO THE LORD" PRINCIPLE

What you see here is genuine faith! This woman truly believed that God would take care of her. She did not have absolute assurance that she would have a child, but she did have a sudden, unexplained peace. Look at verse 11. She does not say ‘when’ but ‘if’ when speaking of God's favor in granting her a child. This was no name it and claim it faith! This was a ‘Take it and leave it faith!’ That is, she took it to the Lord and left it with Him. She knew that He knew best! She committed the entire situation to the Lord. It was not her battle, it was the Lord’s battle, and the Lord would do the right thing. Note the victory she gained!

A. She won a Victory Physically

See verse 18. She began to eat. Have you ever been so upset you could not eat? I guess all of us have, at least most of us have!! Some of us just eat more when we get upset. Hannah had not been eating. Look at verse 8. Her husband had been trying to get her to eat, but she needed something more than her husband's encouragement. She needed God's love and grace.

Note the steps:

She Comes to the Lord
She Calls upon the Lord, and then
She Commits to the Lord

Now she can eat and her body is back to normal!

B. She won a victory Emotionally

Her emotions had been playing havoc with her life! She cried all the time. She was nervous and anxious. She was terribly sad. But now see her condition. Verse 18 says she was no longer sad. Remember, this is before she knew she would have a child! This is before she was pregnant. All she had was the peace of God! That was enough!

C. She won a victory Spiritually

A great battle had been raging in her heart. Could she trust the Lord? Could she believe that God knew best? See the beginning of verse 19. Early the next day she arose and worshiped the Lord!!! Glory to God. Her problem is still present but her heart is filled with a new love for God! She worships! She rejoices! She has won a victory.

Praise and worship puts the devil on the run. Don't let your troubles keep you from spiritual victory - in fact, allow them lead you to spiritual victory! Romans 8:28ff. reveals the nature of this kind of victory. All things will work out for good to those who love God and are called according to HIS PURPOSE. Whether God's purpose for her was a child or not, she was going to honor Him. If He is for us, who can be against us? That is good stuff! But, these promises and truths do little to help us unless we truly trust the Lord with our situation. When we act as Hannah acted, and believe as Paul penned in Romans 8, nothing can take the victory away from us.

D. She won a victory Domestically

Her home life was changed. It did not matter what Peninnah did after Hannah’s commit to the Lord. Hannah had peace in her home. She brought peace to her husband. There is peace in a home where God is loved, worshiped and trusted with every problem that arises.

Conclusion

God remembered her!

God remembered Noah in Genesis 8:1.

God remembered Abraham in Genesis 19:29.

God remembered the Israelites in Egypt in Exodus 2:24.

Jesus remembered the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43.

Why? In each case there was a person or a group of people who came to God, who called on God, and who committed themselves (not just their problem) to God!

Not every barren woman who prays for a child gets one. But every one who Comes the right way, Calls the right way and Commits the right way can trust God to do what is best and what is right. That leads to peace. Paul did not get rid of his thorn, but he got God's best in his life!

Is there someone here today who needs God’s help? Hannah is a mother who found her helper, it was the Lord God Almighty! He is still nigh unto all those who need help!

A father came to Jesus with his sick son. He called out to the Lord for help. Jesus told him to Commit, that is to believe! The man went so far as to ask Jesus to help his unbelief! He got an answer. Even in your timid belief, you can ask God to encourage that small mustard-like faith and He will do so.

A centurion whose servant was sick came to Jesus, called upon Jesus and committed to Him regarding the sick servant. Without Jesus ever coming to the centurion’s house, his servant was made well.

Hannah was a woman of Sadness.
Hannah became of woman Supplication.
Hannah ended up a woman of Song!

To change our sadness to song, we must COME TO THE LORD, CALL TO THE LORD, COMMIT TO THE LORD! You can do that right now as we close this service.