1 Samuel 1:27-28 “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
Here we have the proof of Hannah’s faith. She remembered the terms of the vow she made, recorded in verse 11, and recognizing that God had fulfilled His end of it, she fulfilled hers. The record is simply that Samuel was weaned at this point (verse 24), so I’m thinking he was probably about the same age as the bull that was sacrificed for the occasion, that is, three. Today, Hannah would likely be arrested for “child endangerment/abandonment,” but those were different days back then! No child had it easy, and infant mortality was what we would consider shockingly high. That he had survived long enough to be weaned and was healthy at that point meant that he was likely to live to full adulthood at least. Hannah wasn’t short-changing God! That she entrusted her son to Eli and company proves a level of commitment equal to martyrdom, I think. The flip side of that is of course Samuel himself. I don’t doubt that Hannah had prepared him for this all along, talking to him about how she had prayed for him and that he belonged to God, but this was the first time he had ever met Eli and the people around him. It had to be a major shock to him. However, the evidence is clear that he got through it pretty well, accepting Eli as a father-figure. However, he didn’t do any better with his sons than Eli had done with his, (1 Samuel 8:3) probably because he didn’t grow up with the example of good parenting. What are called “generational curses” are often the natural results of the examples we see and follow. In spite of that, Samuel grew to be undeniably a great servant of the Lord, just as Hannah had promised him to be.
As the youngest of four, my circumstances are hardly like those of Samuel. Also, my parents presented an example of good parenting for me to follow (though my own results are my own responsibility). That said, I think my parents gave me to the Lord as fully as Hannah did. I never felt pressure to be anything specific, but my parents consistently prayed for me to do God’s will for my life, serving Him. I can’t claim that my focus was very clear on that for many years, but since November, 1972, that has been my goal. Parenting is indeed a huge task and many people run from it, either refusing to have children or essentially abandoning them after they are born. (And no, I don’t think Hannah was abandoning Samuel.) However, parenting brings rich rewards that can be had no other way. I have two physical children, but quite a few spiritual children in addition. My prayer for them all is that they would indeed serve the Lord all their lives, just as Hannah dedicated Samuel, because that is without question the best road all the way around.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for my physical children and my spiritual children. I do pray that they and I would love You and serve You as You alone deserve, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!