(Some thoughts on my study of 1 Samuel yesterday.)
And she vowed a vow, and said,
O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed
look on the affliction of thine handmaid,
and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid,
but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child,
then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life,
and there shall no razor come upon his head.
1 Samuel 1:11 KJV
Hannah made a vow to God. She swore an oath to Him. And, as is proven, she intended to follow through.
How many times have I thought, “If only…? Then I would…?” But it is only a thought. It is not a vow. I had no intention of carrying it out. And, God who knew that, did not give me what I thought I wanted.
As I examine the rest of Scripture, I can see that this was not some whim that Hannah participated in. Believing in, honoring, and serving God, and relying on Him, were a part of her life. She didn’t throw down the gauntlet as, sadly, I have often done, and said, “OK, God, Prove Yourself.”
Hannah knew God *could* do this thing, and she told God what she would give Him in return.
Now, I’d love to say that God is not asking us to offer up our children to Him, but I couldn’t say it comfortably. God is, indeed, asking us for them, and He wants us as well. He wants every part of our life, and He wants us to promise Him our children.
I’ve watched two sides throughout my life within the church…
On the first side are the people who refuse. Oh, they put on a good face, they come into the church building with their painted on smiles and dripping platitudes, but, always, eventually we see them and their children drift farther and farther from the God of Truth. These days, with church not holding such a high place in our society, the children of these folks often leave the church and never return.
On the other side are the people who give all. They bow the knee and they say, “Lord, here am I, send me.” They give their children to Him, as well, and you see generation after generation serving and loving the Lord.
I know that’s an over-simplification. I am from the family in the first group, yet somehow I have now chosen to give my life fully to God, and there are righteous families who have had a wayward child. However, we two are a rare breed, so don’t bank on your kids following Christ if You are not willing to give Him your all.
This verse has served as a reminder today of the task that God has laid before me.
He says, “I have delivered you from the hand of bondage. What will you do now?”
I have a choice. He is not a cruel God who will force me into this, He is a loving God who will have me if I want. I have never known this kind of love before. I have only known forced love; forced affection; forced terms of endearment. All with no meaning behind it. It has been like eating one of those meals in the restaurant window. It looks really good, only it’s actually wax.
I am thirsty for love, and God is love.
What will I do?