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May 2010
Daily Devotions Reference List:
(Click here to view the daily devotions)

(5/1) Proverbs 6:16-19
(5/2) Psalm 17:1-5
(5/3) Genesis 13:10-13
(5/4) 1 Samuel 16:6-7
(5/5) Zechariah 9:9-10
(5/6) John 3:3-6
(5/7) Galatians 6:1
(5/8) Proverbs 6:20-22
(5/9) Psalm 18:1-6
(5/10) Genesis 14:18
(5/11) 1 Samuel 16:6-7
(5/12) Zechariah 12:10-11, 13:7
(5/13) John 3:11
(5/14) Galatians 6:2, 5
(5/15) Proverbs 6:23-28
(5/16) Psalm 18:13-19
(5/17) Genesis 14:20b
(5/18) 1 Samuel 16:6-7
(5/19) Malachi 1:11
(5/20) John 3:16-17
(5/21) Galatians 6:2, 5
(5/22) Proverbs 6:32-33
(5/23) Psalm 18:20-27
(5/24) Genesis 14:21-23
(5/25) 1 Samuel 16:11-12
(5/26) Malachi 3:1
(5/27) John 3:19-21
(5/28) Galatians 6:9
(5/29) Proverbs 7:6-9, 18-23
(5/30) Psalm 18:46-50
(5/31) Genesis 15:13-14

Note: This is subject to change.

Daily Devotion Topic Schedule:
Sun - Psalms
Mon - Early History
Tue - Later History
Wed - Prophecy
Thu - Gospels
Fri - Paul's Letters
Sat - Proverbs
Life Lessons from Hannah
"A Mother's Prayers"

Since May is the month during which we honor our mothers, I wanted to take a look at a mother from the Bible. Mary may be the obvious first choice, but I wanted to go in a less common direction. We find the story of Hannah, Samuel's mother, in the first couple of chapters of the first book of Samuel.

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. - 1 Samuel 1:1-7

This sort of rivalry may be a part of the reason why we don't see much of this practice today; however, in these times, it was more common for a man to have more than one wife. In Peninnah we see a woman who was self-centered and cruel. She only seemed to be worried about making herself look better to her husband, no matter how she made Hannah feel. She teased Hannah, who was unable to bear children, and apparently it never occurred to her that God may have a special purpose for Hannah in the future. All Peninnah was concerned with was herself and the present-just like many people in our society today. So many people are caught up in getting what they want and getting pleasures in the present without giving much thought to other people or the future.

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." - 1 Samuel 1:11

Hannah prayed to God and decided to make a vow that, if He blessed her with a son, that she would make sure that son was dedicated to serving God for all of his life. The idea of not shaving his head relates to the law of the Nazirite, which was a way for a person to more fully devote himself to God, usually for a period of a few weeks or months. (See Numbers 6 for further details on the law of the Nazirite.) In short, Hannah wanted to dedicate her son to God if He were to bless her with one. Perhaps she was prompted by God to make this prayer or perhaps it came from her own desire to have a child; nevertheless, we will see that God honored her prayer. It was a fervent, serious prayer, and gives us comfort that, if we pray in accordance with the Holy Spirit, God will honor our requests.

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 1:24-28

A little while after Samuel was born, Hannah took him to Eli, the priest, to dedicate him to the Lord. Often when people make promises to the Lord in times of distress, they later seem to forget those promises once God does his part. But Hannah didn't forget her promise and dedicated Samuel to the Lord, just as she had said she would in her prayer. God doesn't ask us to make promises to Him, but if we do decide to make Him a promise, we need to make sure we follow through and keep our word.

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."
- 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Aside from a brief mention in 1 Samuel 2:21 that lets us know Hannah eventually conceived three sons and two daughters, this prayer is the last we hear from her. Hannah doesn't tease Peninnah the way Peninnah teased her, nor does she try to get revenge for the poor way she was treated. She simply prays and gives thanks and glory to God. In closing, I encourage you to carefully read through this prayer a time or two. Get to know the heart of Hannah, and see what you can learn from it to apply to your own life or your way of thinking. Hannah was clearly a woman who loved and honored God very much. She knew God would come through for her in the end, and He did not let her down.