Full text of Zac Poonen’s teaching on the Book of 1 Samuel which is part of the popular series called Through The Bible.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Zac Poonen – Bible Teacher
Let’s turn to 1 Samuel. I mentioned that Samuel was the last judge of Israel, and after that we have the first king. And the story begins with his mother who was barren, not having children. And it’s interesting to see how in Scripture there were many women like this in the Old Testament: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and now Hannah, from all of whom after a period of barrenness they sought God in prayer and they had a son. Each of them gave birth to a son that had a unique place in God’s purpose. They did not accept their barrenness and let it go like that. They began to seek God earnestly about it, and that’s how God’s purpose was fulfilled.
And there’s something in this. You know, when a woman is barren, in those days it was considered very disgraceful not to have a child. That drove them to God. So we can say that all these children born to these women were born in prayer — intense prayer. Most pregnant wives will pray for their children, but for these people it was very intense. And it’s very wonderful when a child is born into the world in an atmosphere of intense prayer that the mother has gone through over a long period of time.
And that’s the beginning of Samuel’s life. He was born with perhaps years of prayer. And we find Hannah going up and praying to the Lord for this child, and finally she says in verse 11 of chapter 1, she made a vow and said, ‘Lord, if You will indeed look upon the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give her a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life.’
See, there’s a shift in her focus there. First of all, she was thinking of her need, I need a son. And then she thought, well, if I have one, I’ll give it to the Lord. The Lord has need as well.
You know, when the focus of our prayer shifts from our need to God’s need, that’s when we can get an answer to our prayer. Just like we were considering in an earlier study, the Lord taught us to pray, ‘hallowed be Thy name.’ There was a great need at that time in Israel, and if Hannah was a person who was alert to her surroundings, you know how it was in the time of the judges, it was chaos. God’s people were backslidden so badly. There was a great need for someone who could be raised up as a prophet.
And Hannah began to think of that, and said, ‘Lord, not just I will dedicate my son to You, but a razor will never come on his head. He will be a Nazirite dedicated to You, and if You can use him to restore this nation back to You, he’s Yours.’ Her whole prayer shifted from her own need to God’s.
Very often our prayers are not answered, because it’s focused so much on ourselves. And it’s wonderful that Samuel was born into such an atmosphere.
And we read that when she did conceive in verse 20, she was very faithful to her promise and brought her son to the temple there to Eli the high priest and said in verse 27 of chapter 1, “For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition, and so I have dedicated him to the Lord as long as he lives.’ He is dedicated to the Lord. I’m never going to take him back. She taught that little three-year-old boy or a four-year-old, whatever he was, to kneel down and worship the Lord there.