The Keeping of a Promise

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 Samuel 1:24-28 (NIV)
After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

1 Samuel 1:24-28 (MSG)
Then she took him up to Shiloh, bringing also the makings of a generous sacrificial meal – a prize bull, flour, and wine. The child was so young to be sent off! They first butchered the bull, then brought the child to Eli. Hannah said, “Excuse me, sir. Would you believe that I’m the very woman who was standing before you at this very spot, praying to God? I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.” Then and there, they worshiped God.
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“Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a leather bottle of wine [to pour over the burnt offering for a sweet fragrance], and she brought Samuel to the Lord’s house in Shiloh, although the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the child to Eli. Hannah said, “Oh, my lord! As [surely as] your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood beside you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my request which I asked of Him. Therefore I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” And they worshiped the Lord there.” -AMPLIFIED

Hannah’s son, which she had prayed for so desperately, has been born. His name was Samuel meaning, “Requested of God” or “God hears”.

Not long after the child had been born it was time for Elkanah to take the family up to offer their annual sacrifice to the Lord. At that point in time Hannah decides to stay behind. Her focus at this point in time was to be her son; whom she will only have a few short years with before she gives him back to the Lord. We know exactly what her intentions were to be from her words to Elkanah, ““After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.” -1 Samuel 1:22 (NIV)

Hannah had waited so long for this child. She loved Samuel so much, but there was never any doubt in her mind on what she would do when the time was right. She always remembered that she had made a vow to God. Hannah was an trustworthy woman and she meant to keep that promise.

When Samuel was old enough Hannah took him to the place to the Tabernacle; where she had prayed for this very child. There she said to Eli the priest, “Do you remember me? I am that crazy desperate woman that you thought was drunk a few years ago, praying at the altar. I was crying, begging Jehovah for a child and He answered my prayers. I made a promise to God then, if He gave me a child that I would give him back to Him. So, here he is. I give this child to you; for he has been dedicated to God for the rest of his life. I leave Samuel with you to learn from you and to work for God.”

Hannah followed through on her vow to God. She never even thought of reneging on her promise. When the time was right she handed her young son, Samuel, over to Eli to be trained as a priest. We will find in the coming days that God will honor and bless Hannah for that obedience in keeping her vow to Him.

The Israelite’s were taught from childhood of their spiritual responsibilities to God. One of which was that if they had made a vow to God they needed to carry through with it no matter what. Even in this period of the judges, where most of the people had turned their backs on God, there would have been the urge to follow through with their vows. The people would have been worried that the God who they no longer served would call them to retribution for failure to keep their promise.

The Law of Moses was very stern on the carry through with vows, especially to the Lord. “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for He will most certainly require it of you, and a delay would cause you to sin. But if you refrain from making a vow, that would not be [counted as] sin in you. You shall be careful to perform that [vow] which passes your lips, just as you have made a voluntary vow to the Lord your God, just as you have promised with your own words (mouth).” -Deuteronomy 23:21-23 (AMP)

The abuse of vows was a practice that Jesus vigorously rebuked; notably to the Pharisees. “Again, you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not make false vows, but you shall fulfill your vows to the Lord [as a religious duty].’ But I say to you, do not make an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God; or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you are not able to make a single hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one.” -Matthew 5:33-37 (AMP)

Be careful with those promises and vows. Be sure that you keep any that you make; especially to God.

My Prayer:
Father, help me to carry through with any promises or vows that I have made. I want my yes to be yes and my no to be no. I want to be a promise keeper; someone who can be trusted to carry through on what I have said I will do. Help me, Lord, to let my light shine brightly for you.

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