What significance is there in the name you give a child? Last Mother's Day I preached on the subject, "Why Did a Mother Name Her Child Ichabod:" Today I want us to consider "Why A Mother Named Her Son Samuel." There is some disagreement of Biblical scholars as to what the name Samule means. The Zondervan Encyclopedia, page 252, and Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon, page 1028, say that Samuel should be translated, "the name of El, or, his name is El," and the name El in Hdbrew, is God. So they are saying Samuel is "heard of God." Whatever the meaning, Samuel has reference to God's answer to prayer. Therefore, the child is a gift from God. Let us notice some thoughts as to Why a Mother Named Her Son Samuel.
Hannah was a godly woman. She wanted to bear s child, and yet God had not seen fit to give her the privilege of being a mother. She took her burden to the Lord and requested of the Lord that He would give her a child. The scriptures that we read in our text say words such as, she was greatly distressed, she prayed and wept bitterly, she made a vow unto the Lord. All of those words are indicating the seriousness in which she prayed to God asking for a child.
Hannah's prayer was of such unusual concentration and intensity, that the priest, Eli, when he heard and saw her, thought that she must be drunk, because she was agonizing in such deep prayer. She named her son Samuel, meaning `the gift of God` or `heard of God` or `the name of God` because she believed that her child was an answer to her prayer. She believed God had given her this child.
A few days after a hurricane, a Miami pastor had a visitor whom he had never seen before. She came to ask him this question, "I prayed as hard as anybody in this town that God would protect my home and my family, but the hurricane literally destroyed my house. Tell me why," "Are you a Christian?" the pastor asked. "No, I am not, but I prayed, and God ought to hear the prayer of anyone." His answer is a classic: "Lady, I don't know why, unless God was busy taking care of his regular customers."
Every mother ought to be a mother of prayer. Every mother ought to believe
that the child she bears is a gift from God. Each married woman who presently
has in mind bearing a child some day, ought to take that desire to the
Lord and continuously pray that God would give them a child that is an
answer to prayer. Notice the second reason.
In verse 11, Hannah made a commitment to the Lord concerning a child that God would give her. She said, "If you would give me a child, I will give that child back unto you." And she named her son Samuel, because she believed he was a child given to her by God, and that he was a child that she would give back to Him. Really, he would be God's child. He would have the name of God, or he would be named Samuel because she had heard from God and she was one to keep her commitment, and notice in verse 22, that Hannah, did not go up for she said to her husband, "I will not go up until the child is weaned, then I will bring him that he may appear before the Lord and stay there forever." The lady Hannah was a woman of commitment. There is a need all over our land for people to be people of commitment; to say what they are going to do for God, and then to follow through and do it.
Is it any wonder that Samuel became the man that he was? Is it any wonder that there are books of the Bible named after him, and that when you list the very best of all the men that ever lived, that are named or recorded in the Bible that Samuel's name would be at the very top? No doubt the commitment that he saw in his mother taught him in such a way, that even though he grew up in his later years in the temple which was corrupted by Eli's sons, who had neither respect for their fater or God, he was not influenced - he was a boy who had been taught by his mother to be a person of commitment.
Joyce Miller was member of the church I pastored in Huntington Beach, California. We had a series of sermons on faith. Joyce was childless. She went home, and in their 4-bedroom home, where only she and her husband lived, she took one of the rooms and made in a nursery. She got a baby bed and decorated it all for the baby that she was believing God would give her. She continued to pray without being unduly discouraged. By and by, she and her husband were able to adopt a child. Around Christmas time, we got a letter from the Millers, who are now stationed in Sicily, stating to us that they had a child by natural childbirth, and now have a family of four.
Today we need mothers who are persons of commitment. The children of
this generation need to see in their mothers a commitment to the Lord.
Commitment of young people, commitment of children who will be tomorrow's
adults, will be in direct proportion to the commitment that they have seen
and have observed in their parents. Mother, are you committed? Now notice
the third reason that I suggest that Hannah named her son Samuel.
III. BECAUSE OF HER BELIEF ABOUT THE CHILD. v 17-22
Every mother takes a look at her baby and thinks it is a beautiful child, and no doubt thinks that the child will grow up to be somebody very, very significant. And yet, there is an added dimension to the belief that Hannah had about Samuel. Because she had prayed for the child, because she had committed the child, even before its birth to the Lord, she understood that when this child was born, it was a special gift from God. God had delayed answering her prayer only so that he could answer it better. Hannah did not give birth to just another Hebrew boy. She gave birth to the boy, Samuel.
This child was gift from God; he was to be the child who would bridge between the patriarchs, the priest and the prophets. He was to be a significant person in all of history. He was to be the one that God had appointed to anoint Saul as king, and David as king. She called him Samuel because of her belief about him.
I heard a preacher on one occasion telling that he had a child born on the day that President John F. Kennedy was shot. He was thinking what a sad day, what a terrible day, to bring a child into this world. What kind of a nation, what kind of a world situation, am I bringing a child into? While he was standing at the window observing his child, a rabbi came by and said to him, "What a great day to have boy child born to you. He may be the very child that God uses to change our world."
Mothers, you need to believe good things about your children. You need
to pray for them as a gift, and when you receive the gift, make a commitment
of that child unto the Lord, and then believe that when that child is born,
and while that child is growing, that it is a child who God can uniquely
bless and use. Not to the extent that you never think your child can do
any wrong. Your child will be a human being, but believe that through your
prayers, and through the example of your commitment, and the rearing that
you give the child in and through the teachings of the scripture, and in
the house of God, that that child can and will be someone and some thing