On New Year’s Day, my former young adult pastor (who’s now moved into a different role) preached a powerful message on prayer. And then at the very end of the sermon, he touched on the topic of Scripture reading and made a suggestion aimed toward people (like me) who tend to read the Bible in large chunks at a time, perhaps reading the entire Bible through every year. He basically suggested that we slow down a little. Maybe we should read only one chapter – or only a paragraph – each day. Better to read a little at a time and meditate on it and learn from it, he said, than to read several chapters at once and get nothing out of them.
So, since then, I’ve been trying to slow down. Just a chapter or two a day. And it’s true – when you take it in small doses, after years of large doses, you get more out of it.
Ironically I came to the book of 1 Samuel right before our regular pastor started a sermon series on the book. And with each chapter I am coming away with such great takeaways, that I’ve decided to do my own series here on my blog.
For today, I’ll share my findings from 1 Samuel, chapter 1:
As a refresher, the first chapter of Samuel tells about Hannah, one of Elkanah’s two wives. She was his favorite wife, and he loved her strongly in spite of the fact that she had provided him with no children. But her rival, Peninnah, who had several children, made Hannah’s life miserable. Finally, Hannah poured out her heart to the LORD in such earnest anguish that the priest Eli thought she was drunk. Of course, she wasn’t. She begged God to give her a son, and promised that if He did, she would give the child back to the LORD. Sure enough, God granted her request, and once Samuel was weaned, Hannah brought him to the tabernacle, where he served the LORD from his early childhood.
After reading this chapter, I meditated on it. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredible Hannah’s request was. Think about it! After years of barrenness, she pleaded with God, begging Him to grant her the joy of a child. But as she made the request, she promised to give any such child back to the LORD.
Imagine if you or I were in Hannah’s shoes. Our request would have been for a child that we could keep!
But no. Hannah made a heartfelt petition for the one thing that her soul desired, and with that petition made a promise to give that one thing away back to the Giver!
Would I make such an unselfish request?
But perhaps it was because of the unselfishness that God heard her and granted her request. And not only that, but after Hannah gave up the firstfruits of her womb, He granted her the blessing of more children. That was a future that Hannah could not foresee; she asked for one child, and was willing to give up that one child.
What an amazing example!