Sunday, October 21, 2007

SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 07 October 21, 2007

Hannah Seeks God and is Blessed
Theme: The Holy Spirit
Theme Verse: "'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit', says the LORD of Hosts." Zechariah 4:6
Readings: 1 Samuel 1
Optional: 1 Samuel 2:11 and 21 for rest of story
Memory Verse: "So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit' says the LORD Almighty." Zechariah 4:6 (Pre-K to grade 3)
      How do you see the work of the Holy Spirit of God in this lesson?
      Hannah had no children after many years and her co-wife, Penin'nah, used to taunt her about this, especially when the family went up to the tabernacle of God at Shiloh.(vs. 6-8) (Childlessness was considered a disgrace for a wife.) (Polygamy was never a happy situation for the wives. In recent years we hear that the Anglican church in Africa has forbidden it to the clergy, even thought it still is common in their societies.) Word received: "And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb."(1 Samuel 1:6) I want the children and the adults to ask my Holy Spirit to show them where they make other's lives miserable. I want them to repent of this. Bullying is pretty common in many schools.
      The text doesn't say but perhaps this was the first time in all the years she had gone to Shiloh that Hannah went and prayed to God at the door of the tabernacle of the LORD where the priest, Eli was sitting. Hannah is pouring out her grief, pain and bitterness to God silently but her lips moved. (It was the custom to pray out loud rather than silently.) "And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish." (1 Samuel 1:10) A word received: I will not turn you away if you come to me in bitterness and anguish. I love you and want to send my Comforter to you. Pray for my comfort, my Holy Spirit, to come into you. God already knows the hurt and pain that people endure and He wants you, or one you pray for, to come to Him so that He can comfort you/them. Bitterness is corrosive and God longs to deal with it. Word received: Hannah was grieved and she sought Me. I want you to seek Me in every circumstance. I will always hear and respond.
      The priest, Eli, jumps to conclusions and rebukes Hannah for being drunk.
"So Eli said to her, 'How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!'" (1Samuel 1:14) A word received: Do not rush to judgment as Eli did. Take time and ask the Lord to show you if you have rushed to judgment about anyone.
      After Hannah explains, Eli responds to her true situation with a blessing and prayer for her. "Then Eli answered and said, 'Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of him.'" (1 Samuel 1:17) A word received: This is what I want from you: that you would bless others as Eli did Hannah. I hear your blessings that are guided by my Holy Spirit.
      Then Hannah was able to release her burden to the LORD. (See vs 17-18) Word received: Lay it down. Lay down your burdens of grief, anger, hurt or whatever it may be before Me. I AM the only one who can help.
      When she was praying, Hannah offered and made a vow to the LORD, that if He gave her a son, she would give him back to the LORD all his life ( and he would be a Nazarite, i.e. not cutting his hair or shaving.) After Eli blessed her and prayed for her, she trusted in God with her whole heart and was comforted. Two New Testament verses point us the same way. Philippians 4:6-7 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." See also 1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you." God knows our needs before we ask abut He wants us to come to Him and ask.
      The LORD heard Hannah and saw her heart. He blessed her with a son (vs.20). The name Samuel has two parts: "el" means God and the rest of the name sounds like "heard by God" in Hebrew. God takes vows made to him very seriously (see Ecclesiastes 5:4). Hannah kept her vows to the LORD. Word received: Hannah remained faithful. She gave Me her most precious gift. I gave My most precious gift in Jesus. I gave My Son to you because I love you and want a relationship with you.
      Hannah's obedience in her gift of her first born son to the LORD goes beyond the understanding of most mothers/parents! Hannah continued to care for Samuel and pray for him after she gave him back to the LORD. She waited until she felt he was ready -- after he was weaned, probably 3-4 years old. After that she saw him once a year! Hannah's sacrificial love reminds us of God the Father's great love and gift of us in Jesus.
       PRAYER: LORD, thank you for those people who put you first in all circumatances. May they be an example to all.
      The LORD's anointing was on the child, Samuel, and God raised him up as a great prophet and ruler (Judge) in Israel. The nation was blessed by Samuel. God also blessed Hannah with more children, (see 2 Samuel 2:21) with three more sons and two daughters. As a friend of ours told us, "You can't out give God."
      Other barren women whom God blessed with miracle sons were: Elizabeth (Luke 1:13), Sarah (Genesis 12: 16-19), Samson's mother (Judges 13:2-3), Rebecca (Genesis 25:21-26), and Rachel (Genesis 29), and of course the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:31& 37). " "For with God nothing will be impossible."
      Hannah returned God's gift to Him. God has blessed us with new life in Him. Jesus commented about the Roman coin that was stamped with Caesar's image and said, "Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and unto Go what belongs to God." We are stamped with God's image. Genesis 1: 27 says "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Are we surrendering back to God our lives? We have the choice. We were created to worship and follow the LORD but God leaves the choice up to us.

Word received for teachers: I long for My people to cry out to Me.

Teaching Ideas for Lesson 07
Please read the Study Guide first. Go over Memory Verse to make sure the children understand it and then if they have memorized it.
      Remind them their parents need to sign a report slip monthly if they have read the lessons, so they will get credit at the end of the year.
      Make sure they know what happened in the story. Get them to tell you.

Basic points of the lesson for little ones:
      1. Jesus wants us to stop if we are being mean to someone.
      2. Jesus wants us to treat others the way we want to be treated.
      3. Jesus wants to comfort us when we are having a hard time.
      4. Jesus wants us to seek him when we are feeling hurt, sad or in difficulty and ask for his comfort.
      5. God wants us to bless and pray for others as Eli did.
      6. Our Father God gave us his dear Son, Jesus, because he loved us.

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