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1 Samuel 1:1-28
HANNAH: A WISE INVESTOR
Intro: There has been a lot of focus recently on the stock market. If you watch the news, it doesn’t take the commentators long to tell you either how well or how poor the market is doing. In fact, there are trillions of dollars, much more than we can comprehend, invested in the stock market. The people who place their money there do so with the hope and intention that the stocks in their portfolios will do well and that will make a profit. But, of course, it doesn’t always turn out that way! Sometimes the stocks don’t do well and the investor loses some or all of his money.
Now, I don’t have much money invested, just a little retirement money, and that is handled for me. However, while I may not make monetary investments in stocks, I am still an active investor in many areas of my life. Every action, every attitude, every activity is an investment in something and it will reap dividends either to the glory of God or to the glory of the flesh. Now, in the stock market, a wise investor will study stocks before he invests in them so that he can maximize the return potential on the money he invests. Those who would make a wise investment of their lives do the same. People who are wise investors of life examine all the various areas of their lives so they be sure they will receive the greatest dividend from their investment.
This passage presents to us a woman by the name of Hannah. She is presented as a woman who was a shrewd investor of her life. She made some very wise investments that continue to reap dividends down to this very day. I would like for us to take a glimpse at Hannah’s portfolio this morning. I want to point the areas where she made wise investments and I want to encourage you to make the very same investments in life that Hannah made. Let’s examine the wise investments of this great woman of faith while I preach on the thought: Hannah: A Wise Investor.
I. SHE MADE A WISE INVESTMENT IN THE FAMILY
(Ill. Hannah invested her life in her family in spite of the fact that circumstances weren’t as pleasant as they should have been in her home. Yet, she persevered to make her investment in the family she loved.)
A. She Invested In Spite Of Difficulty - v. 1-2 - Right off the bat we learn that Hannah was married to a man with two wives. This is a recipe for disaster! Yet, Hannah was not looking for the exit! She stayed in the family and she worked to make the best of a bad situation!
(Note: God never said the family would be an easy place to live! Families are great and they are wonderful, but every one of them is filled with people and therein lies the potential for trouble. There will be disagreements and there will be trouble, but the secret lies in not running away! Learn to make an investment in your family regardless of the difficulties you face in life! It’s gotten too easy to walk away in our society! God’s people need to learn the truth that marriage and family is a lifetime investment!)
B. She Invested In Spite Of Discouragement - v. 5-6 - Her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, had children, but Hannah was barren. Peninnah used Hannah’s barrenness as a means of ridicule. She mocked Hannah and made her life miserable! It seems to me that I detect a hint of jealousy in this home. Verse 5 tells us that Elkanah loved Hannah. Apparently she was his favorite and it showed. Peninnah, however, could give Elkanah something that Hannah could not, namely children, and she used this as leverage in the household to mock Hannah. All of this criticism and belittling made life practically impossible for Hannah, yet she continued to invest in the family! What a testimony!
(Note: Family is like that sometimes! Of course, I hope you are not involved in a polygamous relationship, but I am referring to the discouragement that crops up from time to time in the home. Husbands, wives and children all feel that they are unappreciated, taken for granted and the target of constant criticism. Sometimes people get discouraged at their fellow family members and what they say and do, but discouragement is no reason to close the door on the family! No, you continue to invest your life in the people you love, knowing that in due course, you will reap a harvest for the glory of God!)
(Ill. Friend, you may be defeated and discouraged with the way things are going in your family, but let me encourage you: Keep investing! You may never see the results you want, but there is a biblical principle that speaks to your need today: Gal. 6:7 and 9. When we sow the right things, we will reap the right harvest. Keep investing in people’s lives and leave the harvest to the hand of God. He will never fail!)
C. She Invested In Spite Of Desperation - v. 5-6 - Both of these verses tell us that Hannah was barren because God had chosen this lot for her! She was in a situation that was of the Lord’s doing and nothing she could do would ever change it! What Hannah did not know was that God ‘s plans for her life were good plans. His plan wasn’t to hurt her, his plan was to amaze her in His time!
(Ill. The plans of God for us are good plans - Jer. 29:11; Rom. 8:28.)
(Note: It may appear that the investments you make in your family are not paying off at the present time. It may look like your spouse and your children are not all you planned, prayed and hoped they would be, if that is the case, let me encourage you to keep investing! The closing bell hasn’t rung yet! Your family is too important for you to stop investing yourself in them now. It may seem like you do all the giving and receive none of the getting, but for those who make wise investments in their families, their dividends come at unexpected times and in marvelous ways. I am just trying to encourage you to keep investing!)
II. SHE MADE A WISE INVESTMENT IN THE FAITH
(Ill. It appears that family was important to Hannah, but it also appears that faith was very important to her as well. She made a wise investment in the faith.)
A. Her Faith Was Personal - v. 10-11; 2:1-10 - In these verses, I see a woman who knows the Lord on a personal level. Ill Her prayer and her praise. She had a personal relationship with the God of Israel. She was a believer and she was openly active in the practice of her faith.
(Note: Do you know the greatest gift you can give your family? The knowledge that your are saved! The greatest single investment you can make in life is that of investing in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ! Not just a casual brushing up against the things of God, but a real and vital relationship with Him that controls the way you live your life every single day! In other words, you need to be sure you are saved by grace and headed to Heaven! Nothing in time or eternity is as important as your personal relationship with Jesus Christ! Be sure you make that investment!)
B. Her Faith Was Practical - v. 10-18 - Ill. Her prayer and her dialogue with Eli. Hannah was a woman who possessed a practical faith in God! She didn’t just know about Him, she knew Him and she trusted Him for all her needs. She leaned upon Him and trusted Him for the impossible in her life. She didn’t just talk about faith in God, she fleshed it out by the way she lived.
(Note: Again, Hannah sets the standard that we should resolve to meet. Not only should we possess a testimony concerning our faith, but we must live out that testimony day by day as we go through life. Nothing makes an investment in the lives of others around us like a genuine life lived for the glory of God. A practical faith is a proclaiming faith and it always points others to Jesus Christ! Make an investment in a faith that you can live out day by day!)
C. Her Faith Was Profound - v. 11, 20-23 - More than anything in the world Hannah wanted a child. She wanted to give that gift to her husband and she wanted to experience the fulfillment of motherhood. She knew this was impossible apart from the work of the Lord so she believed God for the impossible and promised God the incredible in return! She asked God for son and she promised to give that son back to the Lord for His glory!
(Note: Hannah’s was no superficial faith! She had a depth of faith that is rare in this world. What a blessing it is when we come to the place as investors in the faith where we can believe God for the impossible situations in our lives and willingly give everything to Him for His glory. That is the kind of faith God is looking to develop in you and me and that is the kind of faith God can use for His glory! Do you have it?)
(Note: This kind of faith is always honored by the Lord - v. 19-20)
III. SHE MADE A WISE INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE
A. Through The Length Of Her Commitment - v. 11, 22; 2:18-21 - Hannah made the ultimate commitment a mother can make. She totally gave her child to the Lord! She held nothing back! She committed him to the Lord before he was even conceived, she dedicated him to the Lord when he was born and she gave him to the Lord when he was weaned. Her’s was not a momentary commitment, but it was a once for all commitment from which she never looked back! She sowed seed that would be reaped for generations! She made an investment in the future!
(Ill. Imagine how hard it must have been to leave Samuel at the Tabernacle! Imagine how much she must have anticipated those yearly trips to see him. Imagine her heart break as she left each year. But, imagine her pride as she watched him develop into a man of God, 2:26! She was seeing her investment pay off! It had been worth the sacrifice!)
(Note: This is the kind of commitment God is seeking in His people! He wants us to invest the totality of our lives on His altar, Rom. 12:1-2. He wants us to give all we have and are to Him, without holding anything back from Him! He wants a once for all commitment for His glory!)
(Note: Some of you have children that need to be placed on the altar this morning! How long has it been since you, with a broken heart, came before the Lord and agonized before Him for the souls of your wayward children? Maybe they are out there today partly because of the inconsistencies they witnessed in your life. Maybe there are out there because they rejected the faith you exhibited. Regardless of why they are there, they need someone praying for them! We need some moms and dads who will get broken over their children and bring them to God’s altar and trust Him to touch them!)
B. Through The Life Of Her Child - v. 21-28, 2:26 - Hannah presented her son Samuel to the Lord and he, by the grace of God, became a mighty man of God. He set a standard of righteousness for the nation of Israel. He was a man greatly used of the Lord. He was the man who anointed David as king. He was the man who served as the spiritual leader of Israel for many years. He was the man he was because of the investment his mother made in his life before he was born and during all those early years. Because she made the kind of investments she did, an entire nation was blessed for many years. In fact, Hannah’s investment in Samuel continues to reap dividends to this day anytime anyone is helped, fed, challenged or blessed through the story of his life! Hannah’s investment in Samuel continued to live on long after she was dead! Those are the kind of dividends we should all want to reap!
(Note: Some of you are making that same investment in the future today! You bring your children to the house of God Sunday and Wednesday. You bring them when it isn’t easy or convenient. You are instilling in them the idea that God’s house is an important place to be. You are teaching them that right and wrong do matter. You are teaching them about Jesus Christ. You are teaching them the important lessons of life. They are learning lessons from watching your faith. You may think they aren’t seeing much from you, you may think they aren’t getting the message, but one day, you will see that investment pay off in glorious dividends in the lives of your children! Keep investing and remain faithful and the Lord will bless your efforts for the glory of God!)
Conc: Let’s get honest for a few minutes. I know that Hannah made the right investments in her family in her faith and in the future. She exhibited a life of faith that is a cut above the ordinary! However, what she did is a challenge to you and me today! What kind of investments are you making in the lives of those around you? Whether you know it or not, you are investing every day you live! What kind of dividends will those investments pay out in return?
The good thing about spiritual investments is this: if you have been investing in the wrong stocks, God will allow you to change the way your investments are distributes today. If you see areas that need attention, the place to make the changes is right here in this altar!
Some of you have children you need to bring to this altar. Some have parents and other family members that need the Lord, why not come an make an investment in them? Others have literally been foolish with your lives. You have squandered the resources the Lord has given you and your portfolio is looking pretty bad right about not. Why not come and liquidate those junk bonds and bad stocks you’ve been investing in and put your resources in something that will reap a great harvest for the Lord? Still others have no relationship with the Lord. I invite you to come before Him so that you can begin with God today. If He has spoken to your heart, don’t pull the usual Sunday morning “stand and take it - grin and bear it”. This morning do something different. Get in the altar and have an encounter with God! Hannah was a wise investor, are you?