I am going though a Bible study on the book of I Samuel using Desiring God's Own Heart by Kay Arthur and David Arthur, part of the New Inductive Study series.
After studying the first three chapters of the book, I was reminded of my own responsibility as a parent. Hannah longed for a child -- but it seemed her desire was not a selfish one. Her desire was for a child who would make a difference. When God answered her prayer, she gave her child to God -- not figuratively like many of us have done, but literally. She sent her to be raised at the tabernacle. Again, it's not like sending my kids to a Christian school. She sent her son to live in the tabernacle even though she had to know that the leadership was corrupt. She made a commitment to God and she followed through, even when it was not an easy and probably not a popular thing to do. I'm thinking her husband must have thought she was crazy!
Then there's Eli. He is an old man, a priest over Israel, and he has two grown sons. His sons are corrupt, selfish, greedy, womanizing men. At one point Eli reprimands his sons, but they ignore him and continue in their sinful way. From all indications, it's not like Eli didn't know what was going on. In fact it's strongly implied that he gained from his sons practices. Vs 29 of chapter 2 says "Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves . . ."
Hannah honored God more than she honored her son and more than she honored herself. The result was that she received more blessings than she could have imagined. Yes, she had more children, but I believe her greatest blessing was having a child who was used by God.
Eli on the other hand, the priest who really should have known better, honored himself and his sons. He wanted his sons to be happy and allowed them to break God's commandments. The result was a curse on his entire line: His sons both died, the Ark of the Lord was captured, and God's glory departed from Israel, a pretty hefty price to pay.
I want my kids to be happy, and I want my students to be happy. But more than that I want them to honor God. My greatest blessing is when I see my kids (my own flesh and blood AND my students) being used by God.
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