Dedicating to God

Key Verse: “For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.”
—I Samuel 1:27,28

Selected Scriptures:
I Samuel 1:20, 26-28; 2:1-8

OUR LESSON BEGINS WITH Elkanah, a faithful Israelite. He was the husband of two wives. One wife, Hannah, had no children; the other Peninnah, had many sons and daughters. (I Sam. 1:2,4) Every year, as the family gathered for sacrifice and worship at the house of the Lord, Peninnah taunted Hannah’s barrenness, further discouraging her. Finally, at one of these annual feasts, Hannah went to pray privately, pouring out her heart to God. In her prayer (vs. 11), she vowed that if the Lord would grant her a son, she would dedicate him to the Lord all the days of his life. In doing so, she promised to raise such a son to know God and to be dedicated to his service.

Eli the priest noticed Hannah alone, her lips moving, but no audible words coming out of her mouth. Concluding she was drunk and making a spectacle of herself, he rebuked her. Hannah, however, defended herself, saying that she was presently in sorrow, stating “I … have poured out my soul before the Lord.” (vss. 13-15) Evidently, the power of her speech convinced the priest. Without knowing the content of her prayer, Eli exercised his religious authority, assuring Hannah that God would hear her prayer and grant her request. Her countenance changed from sorrow to joy; she returned to her rightful place in the family, and in due time conceived and bare a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the Lord.” (vs. 20) As indicated by this verse, the name Samuel means “asked of God.”

After Samuel was weaned, Hannah, remembering her promise to God, brought the young child to the house of the Lord. The words of our Key Verse show she now intended to fulfill her vow by devoting her son to God, not for a limited period of time, but for his whole life. The phrase I have ‘lent him to the Lord’ as rendered in the King James Version would be better translated “I have returned him to the Lord.” This is in keeping with the promise she had made prior to conceiving this long-desired son. In I Samuel 2:1-10, we have the beautiful prayer of Hannah in response to all that the Lord had done for her. She was indeed an example of faith. In faith she prayed and in faith she delivered a son. Through faith she raised Samuel in preparation for a life of dedicated service. Finally, also by faith, she returned this young boy back to God for the rest of his life.

Among the lessons we can glean from Hannah’s experience, two in particular stand out. First, the power of prayer, even in what may seem to be the most dire of circumstances, should never be underestimated. God, the Creator of the universe, always has his ear attuned to those of his people who in faith, sincerity, and humility, approach him with their petitions. As stated in James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Second, the blessings received by those who dedicate themselves and their stewardship to God far outweigh the trials and sufferings that may come as a result of such dedication. “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”—Prov. 10:22

Dawn Bible Students Association
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