Blessed to share my Mother’s Day sermon
(Sermon brief: Hannah cried out to God – and Samuel was a gift from God whom Hannah gave back over TO God – and continued to visit him – love him… And other mothers and all of us can also know that reaching to God and praying to God and dedicating our desires to God is best – He is a loving God – Jesus also a loving God to Him Mom and to all of us.)
I had such a busy week and this sermon was flying around my head and even though I couldn’t write it down in entirety until recently, I felt God had me covered. Covered in topic and direction. Covered in peace and love. Covered in His scriptures for sharing – because His Word is Him. So Lord – please help me make these Your Words and not mine – open our ears and help us all see the love You have for us – and help us in our praise to love You for Your direction in our lives.
I praise God for my Mom – and my Dad of course – and I have to remember how my Mom always did (and still does) “cover me” – first in her womb – and she has covered me with love and dedication – covered for me when I needed extra cash – covered for me when I needed childcare – even driving 5 hours with my dad to see their new grandson for just an hour and later routinely for a couple nights of staying with her grandkids – and she always has Christmas “covered” by pre-wrapping gifts and sending them with me at thanksgiving time so that Christmas morning is “covered” in extra wow and extra love… covered…
My dad always and especially before He passed would say: “Take care of your mother.” And I am sure that the Lord has always said that to us too. And I want to give compassion today to those who have lost their mothers from the earth but not from their hearts – as their moms will always be with them with us – hugs also to those who have had static or non-existent relationships with their moms – and those moms separated from their children in any way – I pray them all and you all some peace this mother’s day. I pray God has double portioned up extra love for you with grandma’s and aunt’s, grandpa’s and uncles, and family friends and others who love on you (and for you to love).
We in God are covered under double portion (and more) of LOVE. Double portion was a term used in the story of Hannah – the mother of very crucially important Samuel, who grew up in the temple to go out to the world as a prophet and man of God. God covered Hannah with love even as she had to wait to experience motherhood. See, God knew how it would work out, He initially had “closed Hannah’s womb”, she was so sad and yet so beloved, that her husband would give her double portion of food. She was actually taunted for being childless, like when people pick on you for your one most lacking thing because they know it hurts you… not taunted by her husband, but by her husband’s other wife (yes, that was just how that family was) – taunted by this woman who had many children – and this made Hannah so sad that she refused to eat – she cried out to the Lord “in bitterness of soul”, (isn’t that a real feeling – of real pain that God allows us to feel and hopes that we turn to Him and not retaliation or worse) – and [Hannah] prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life,”
We too can ask the Lord for what we are lacking – and we too can find solace in our Lord’s love and peace, His faithfulness and forgiveness, His plan and purpose. Hannah’s motherhood WAS being saved for special timing and purpose in mothering a baby boy that she then promised and did give up – more like give over to God. So we learn in the scripture readings that Hannah prayed to God, went to the high temple, prayed in front of Eli the priest (who thought she was crazy drunk seeing her lips moving without sound), but we know she pledged to dedicate her son to God if she was able to bear him. Eli essentially said “I hope you get what honors God” – she did.
Hannah did get to be a mother and she did get to keep Samuel until he was weaned, which was probably until he was 5 years old or so. She dedicated him, brought him up to the temple where the priest Eli then was charged by God to raise young Samuel in the house of the Lord. Samuel was so very much chosen by God – to be the prophet child of God that told Eli of his family’s future – to tell of the Kingdom’s future – to later pick and unpick leaders in King Saul and King David – and to reconcile Saul, who had gone wrong, reconcile him to God after God “unpicked him” as the lineage for the Kingdom which was given over to King David – a lineage that led to Jesus as forever King. (I encourage you to look at the Old Testament scriptures that tell a great story of Abraham to Jacob to Moses to David to Jesus. Which were told to Samuel)
Let us listen to some of Hannah’s song prayer: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.”
Hannah was a mother and she had a mothering spirit – giving up of her own desires and walking with the Lord – keeping her promise. Acknowledging her mission, she didn’t walk away from the hardship of leaving her son – and NO, she did not abandon her son, no, she loved him so very much and she visited him each year when their family made the annual pilgrimage for sacrifice. Hannah made and brought Samuel a new robe to cover him. Oh, how I often wonder did Samuel remember his mom, her smell, her love, by touching the robe that his mom made – and how often did Samuel remember that he was a gift to the Lord. – His Mother had him covered both materially – and maternally – and majestically – and Samuel surely learned the love of God from his mother – that God was blessing them – that God Almighty covered them in purpose.
God Almighty also heard Priest Eli’s prayers about Hannah’s devotional act, on one of those many trips up to worship and to bring Samuel a new robe. Eli asked God to bless Hannah and her husband – and God provided more than a double portion with more children, actually 5 more! Eli said to Hannah’s husband: “The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the Lord.” ,,, The Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.
This statement struck me: The loan that was given to the Lord – but in truth aren’t all our children a loan FROM the Lord? Our blessing and privilege to raise them – or help raise – like my aunts and uncles did – our teachers – our neighbors – our friends – and we can do these loving acts for others – be mothering and fathering figures…. That is truly when you bless but do not expect something in return – you have to let that child be themselves and live their lives not yours. And don’t we also need to remember to turn our worries about our children over to the Lord? If there is something that I can cover my children with – better than warm jacket for my college kid or a safe Subaru for my new driver – better even than my hugs (or my money) – better than anything else: I can cover them with prayers – and ask for them to be covered with God’s grace and mercy and love.
This is a side story – but relevant – I remember one day I went to traffic court – to appeal a traffic ticket – (don’t judge me – and really the light was green to yellow as I went around that corner – NOT red but barely starting yellow) – well – even the police officer seemed to encourage me going to court to fight the ticket – to not get points and only pay money – (its only money right?) Well so at court the police officer weirdly bargained that bargain for me – and while I was waiting I was humbled to complain less, humbled for my placement because God had a plan for me that day – a small one but I totally saw God’s hand in it – totally – I was waiting for my turn with the judge and there was a whole family there – grandpa, mom and dad and other siblings – and there was a 4 year old and he and I struck up a conversation about all the superhero toys he had – old and new – like for 10 minutes or more – I was the substitute babysitter mom of the moment and I saw (and can still see) this family circling their wagons – pulling themselves into a deep conversation about their teenager driver who may have had an alcohol-related driving incident – I couldn’t really know – totally not my place to know – but I knew God for these few minutes had a plan for me as “a mom educated in superheroes “ – to be in the moment to simply play with these action figures and distract and interact with this little boy in a crowded stress-filled waiting room where no one wanted to be – me neither until that very moment. I wouldn’t have traded that ticket for freedom as I thought of Batman as my example of God’s tools given to us to work on a situation – Batman was not a super hero with powers but with tools and a mission – and that is how we should be – so I paid my fine and I had to be fine with that – it is not my intent to speak of “my good deed of the day” but of God’s provisions of my time – Yes, for Him to put me where He needed me. Really God is our superhero with no need for a cape but He covered that situation in supreme fashion. Really, our blessings of opportunities to interact and pray for God’s collective children. We are to carry a mothering or fathering spirit wherever and whenever God needs us – because each and every person (young and old) is God’s child.
Back to finishing the story of Hannah – for her dedication to God – this dedication must have been on the minds of 2 particular women whom we have often learned about – especially at Christmas – more examples for this Mother’s Day from scripture of dedicated moms – we have Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist and her cousin Mary – the teenager mother of our Lord Jesus. I love to hear of their dedication – knowing that God did not chose an easy path for them as moms but a certain one for all of us – and they knew their sons’ lives had to be dedicated to The Lord. Revealed especially because the Lord God had already chosen them to be in His Plan. Listen to this statement by Mary, a good life-verse to aspire to: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Mary sang – recorded later by Luke – and isn’t this so very similar to Hannah’s song:
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things,..”
How we appreciate mothers – Jesus did too – Jesus was first known to any human – revealed inside His Mom…. Mary felt Him grow in her as a baby and as her Lord – Mary learned about the Holy Spirit thru her carrying our Lord – she was greeted by her cousin Elizabeth and the second and third people to know Jesus in the flesh were Elizabeth and John as a babe inside her whom leaped in excitement. These mothers had to both rejoice and take the pre-told opportunity to devote themselves and their sons to the Lord.
Elizabeth spoke: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
We know Elizabeth and Mary as mothers who also had to endure hardship and loss – and so sad for mothers around us whom also do – we pray them God’s peace. We remember Mary and Jesus’s brothers also thought they lost Jesus to some crazy movement – thought Jesus was going rouge speaking about Himself and the kingdom and asking Him to leave a volatile environment. We remember Mary was there when Jesus was taken away – and when he was crucified – such unfathomable pain pre-told to Mary by Simeon in the temple when Jesus was only days old. Mary held that in her heart until it really happened.
Jesus as God – understood and understands – Jesus said of Jerusalem: how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings… yes Jesus came to earth for such a short time and had to leave all of His whole set of disciples, His brothers and sisters and His mother to the immediate future on earth without Him right there in the flesh – but He had them “covered” and instructed them to wait for the Holy Spirit…. They were covered as we could be and are covered with the Spirit.
and Jesus knew His biggest cloaking and covering forever was bigger than anything anyone could imagine – in that in His blood, His righteousness did and would cloak over our sins. Samuel grew and needed and received a new robe each year – made by His mother. Jesus by His love covers us anew and FOREVER – not just for each year but each day – each moment. Covered in Forgiveness and LOVE.
On the cross When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He said unto His mother, “Woman, behold thy son!” Then said He to the disciple, John, “Behold thy mother!” And from that hour, John took her unto his own home. Yes – Jesus gave His mother over to John and John to His mother – reassigned (temporarily reassigned since earth is temporary anyway) the physicalness of the earthly mothering and being a son to her mothering. Jesus made sure they were both covered – able to be physically reassuring each other. Jesus is the cover of LOVE that God intended for us too – and did God have to give up something too? – Well, yes – imagine that He could console Hannah giving over Samuel because God understood and MADE the plan – a plan to give OVER His own Son for all our sins – to allow Him and us to spend eternity together – God and all the rest of His children.
Let us pray: Lord – we are so aware that Mothers are so important in our own lives and in our scriptural history – God Almighty you chose to give Your children a survival mechanism by making us within our mothers and into a family’s love –
You God Almighty created our inmost beings – knit us together in our mother’s wombs – we praise you as we are fearfully and wonderfully made; as Psalm 139 reminds us – Your works are wonderful, all the days ordained for us were written in your book before one of them came to be
God You Are Love and You chose to surround all Your children in love – we praise Mothers and always we THANK YOU and praise Your Precious Love.
1 Samuel 1 – New King James Version
The Family of Elkanah
Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.
Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
Samuel Is Born and Dedicated
Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”
Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.” So Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him. Only let the Lord establish His word.” Then the woman stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bulls, one ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh. And the child was young. Then they slaughtered a bull, and brought the child to Eli. And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.
1 Samuel 2 excerpts New King James Version
And Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. “No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. “Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed.
“The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, And the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, And she who has many children has become feeble.
“The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory.
“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He has set the world upon them. He will guard the feet of His saints, But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. “For by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to His king, And exalt the horn of His anointed.” Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.
Samuel’s Childhood Ministry
But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “The Lord give you descendants from this woman for the loan that was given to the Lord.” Then they would go to their own home. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the child Samuel grew before the Lord.