The Gift and the Giver
All of us have desires that we yearn for God to bring to pass. We pray earnestly over them, fast over them and we love the joy and excitement when He brings them to pass. We talk about it with our friends, we share about it with our close ones and our attention gets saturated with this blessing in our lives. While I have never doubted God’s ability and desire to give His children good gifts, I must admit that more often than not, we get carried away with these gifts and fail to respond to God in a manner worthy of Him.
Like many of us, Hannah had a deep desire. The Bible tells us that she desired for a child so badly that “year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord… she wept and did not eat.” (1 Samuel 1:7) The intensity of her desire resulted in a deep persistence and sincerity before the Lord. If anyone had wanted a child ever so badly, it has to be Hannah.
However, when God finally answered her prayer, Hannah’s response is one that may put many of us to shame and there are a couple of things that we ought to learn from her dedication prayer to the Lord.
Despite the intensity of her desire and the persistence in her pursuit of it with the Lord, Hannah rejoiced not so much in the gift but in the Giver when she had a son. The first line of her first prayer onto God says, “My heart rejoices in the LORD…because I rejoice in Your salvation.” (1 Samuel 2:1) If we were in Hannah’s shoes, many of us would have thanked God for answering our prayer, thanking Him for the child and how cute he or she is. Hannah did not. There was nothing in her prayer that alluded to that. She knew very clearly that every stream led to a fountain. The answered prayer only made her more impressed with the Giver and caused her to exalt Him in a manner she had never done before. She praised the Giver Himself more than merely thanking Him for the gift.
Not only did Hannah honor God with her heart and words, she did it with her actions as well:
1 Samuel 2:11, 19
11 Then Elkanah went to his house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest…
19 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.
Hannah dedicated her child to the Lord and offered him up for the ministry of the Lord. Despite all the years of praying and waiting, Hannah offered up her one and only child, even if it meant having to part with him and seeing him only on a yearly basis. This might be easier if Hannah had many children but no, she had only one and she freely presented him to the Lord as a living sacrifice. The gift gave her more reason to give to the Giver.
Let’s also be encouraged that nothing is lost when we lose what we have to God:
1 Samuel 2:21
And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters…
What we obediently give to the Lord will always be repaid with good interests. After Hannah gave Samuel up to the Lord, God blessed her with another five children! God did not just double her blessing but multiplied her blessing by five folds! For what she gave to Lord, she now had more and what was left with the Lord had also became more:
1 Samuel 2:26
And the child Samuel grew in stature, and in favor both with the Lord and men.
Let us pray.
Dear Lord, forgive me because I know that the gifts that You have blessed me with have sometimes taken over the affection I have for You. I thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness in my life and I want every gift to bring me to a deeper level of love for You and joy in You. Teach me how to embrace these gifts tightly in thanksgiving but yet hold them loosely to be given back to You for Your Kingdom purpose. I make a decision today to not let any of your good gifts become an idol in my life. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.