Jim Voisey, Cardiff, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
A Mother's Influence
'HER CHILDREN ARISE UP, AND CALL HER BLESSED', Prov. 31. 28.
Helen Young writes, ‘There will come a time when there'll be no more slamming of doors, no more toys to pick up on the stairs, no more childhood quarrels and no more fingerprints on the wallpaper. Then may I look back with joy and not regret.
May I have the wisdom to see that today is my day with my children; that there are no unimportant moments in their lives; that no career is more precious, no work more rewarding and no task more urgent.
May I not defer it, nor neglect it, but accept it gladly -and understand that my time is short and my time is now, for my children won't wait’.
There would be no Samuel without a Hannah; no John Mark without a Mary; and no Timothy without a Eunice. These great men were what they were because of the mothers they had!
What was the secret of that winning combination? Mother with child - just that simple. So please, mother, stay with it! Don't ever forget the permanence of your imprint. At times, your children may seem ungrateful and act irresponsibly; they may ignore your reminders and forget your advice, but believe this, they cannot erase your Influence!
From The Word for Today, a daily thoughts booklet available from UCB, PO Box 255, Stoke on Trent, ST4 8YY. England. It is free of charge.
‘FOR THIS CHILD I PRAYED’,
1 Sam. 1. 27
Hannah shines in the Bible’s galaxy of saints because she had prayed. She had prayed a mother’s prayer. No human ear heard that prayer. ‘She spoke in her heart, only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard’, but the Lord heard. We may be sure that as he grew older, little Samuel would know he was the answer to his mother’s prayer. Even his name testified that he was ‘Asked of God’.
Samuel was brought up in a godly and wellordered home. His father Elkanah and his family were accustomed to go every year to Shiloh ‘to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts’, and when he was weaned, Samuel was taken to Shiloh and presented to the Lord, for so had his mother vowed when she prayed. At Shiloh, Samuel ‘ministered before the Lord, being a child girded with a linen ephod’.
What a contrast there is between the child Samuel and the two sons of Eli, ‘whose sin was very great before the Lord’, and, ‘who knew not the Lord’. Such sad words spoken of those in the public offices of religion. The tabernacle had been set up at Shiloh in the days of Joshua, Josh. 18. 1; 19. 51; 21. 2. Later on, and because of the wickedness of the people, the Lord would exercise an awful exemplary judgement upon the place, but that judgement lay still in the future in Samuel’s time, Jer. 7. 12.
Even in those days, however, this religious centre of the nation was corrupt. ‘Men abhorred the offering of the Lord’. There was flagrant immorality even within the sacred precincts and at the door of the tabernacle. Eli was old and his sons were unrestrained and profane. No wonder the spiritual life of the entire nation was impoverished and Israel’s fortunes were at low ebb. ‘Like people, like priest’, for the priests had rejected knowledge and forgotten the law of their God, Hos. 4. 6, 9.
Yet; Shiloh was still honoured by the Lord, the tabernacle there is called ‘the house of the Lord’, and the ‘temple of the Lord’, because the ark of the covenant was there, 1 Sam. 1. 9, 24; 3. 3. The Lord still would have His people honour His Name there. There were also devout souls like Hannah, the spiritual remnant in the nation, but sadly Eli did not have the spiritual discernment to recognize her true devotion to the Lord. He assumed she was drunk with the wine of excess. Women like Hannah shine for God in dark days, and are still examples to us today. Her great song of thanksgiving shows us her high conception of the Lord and her appreciation of what He had done, 1 Sam. 2. 1-10.
Light was coming to the nation. Samuel grew and the Lord was with him. In time, the Lord spoke to him and revealed Himself unto him, and all Israel knew that ‘Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord’. The word of the Lord was precious (or rare) in those days, and there was no open vision. Yet, now, the Lord was speaking again through Samuel, because Hannah had prayed.
The church has need of such praying mothers, and the Lord will bless them as He blessed Hannah. Indeed, He will bless them abundantly for, denied of her first son, it is recorded that, ‘she bore three sons and two daughters’, 1 Sam. 2. 21.
Samuel became a man of prayer and was distinctive among the people. His prayer ministry is referred to in 1 Samuel 12. 23. Did Samuel become a man of prayer because of his mother’s example? Did not his mantle remind him constantly of his mother’s love and her desires for him to be ‘lent to the Lord’, 1 Sam. 1. 28. What fragrant memories Hannah has left to us, exemplified in her prayed-for and prayed-over son, Samuel.
Hannah’s prayer is also a reminder to us that the Lord wants us to lay hold of Him when we are going through times of personal difficulty and strain. Here is the answer to those who may be wondering why Hannah was barren, while her rival Peninnah had children. So it is that sometimes the righteous have to struggle against adversity, and fret over failures in their own lives, when those who have no obvious thought of God seem to prosper. This was the experience of the psalmist, Ps. 73. The Lord wanted her to pray ‘out of the abundance of her complaint and grief”. Afterwards, she was able to say, ‘for this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him’.